Self-love and what relationships should be about.

Hang in there, I am still in finals. I wanted to write something relating to this blog post on relationships that I saw a while back. I appreciated it a lot, largely because it came before my eyes right when I needed it. Back then I still thought my entire worth and sense of self was about someone else, when the way I looked at the mirror depended on someone else. I want to talk about how we are taught a very unhealthy version of romance and relationships.

First, read this: The Whole Point of Every Relationship (is probably not what you think it is), from the blog Elephant Journal.

It is a pretty nice piece with a few thoughts on what relationships should be like. It is by no means exhaustive or a rulebook, but I found it to be very neat.

I want to address a couple of these thoughts because although I tend to talk mostly about sexual politics and feminism here, a great deal of what feminism is (at least to me) is about accepting oneself in all of our worth, refusing to accept others’ definitions of what we ought to be, questioning what we are taught, and realising our own potential as human beings. It is true that relationships can help us in that direction, but only healthy ones. And it is up to us – this is important to remember and SO easy to forget – and not up to them to make relationships healthy for ourselves.

 

Holding each other accountable.

We forget we are not their journey, or their goal, or their gift. They have their own journey and goals and gifts to give to the world, and we are there to support each other in making the most of them. Understanding that their life does not revolve around us: we are part of it, and we are there to try our best to make it better and more enjoyable, in whatever their journey is about. Blaming is not what it is about, but understanding where both come from and where they want to go, and cheering them in that direction.

 

Let go.

Again, their life is not about you. When journeys go separate ways, it is important to let that happen. They should not change their journey because of you. Understand that loving is also about wanting them to reach their potential, in whatever way they need to. Do not change your journey either: a person who loves you will understand that you should not have to.

 

Remember that your job is not to make him happy (but to allow him/her the space to find their own happiness).

Cheesus, how I wish someone had told me this (not because it is rocket science, but I could have used a reminder) a couple of months ago. What this means is that you are not responsible for her, and she is not responsible for you. Supporting each other and being able to count on each other is one thing, but the relationship should be about two people who can walk on their own two feet, but decide to walk alongside each other, not two people limping and holding the other’s arms because if not they’ll fall.

We are taught that it is romantic to say or think “I depend on you” or “my heart is in your hands” or “you hold the keys to my happiness” (I have been studying a lot, so my grasp on what people actually say is a bit off right now, but you get my point I think). There is a difference between being able to depend on someone and actually depending on someone, between trusting someone with your heart and actually making it their responsibility, between being happier thanks to her and being happier because of her. It should not be romantic to engage in codependent relationship in which the world absolutely shatters when the other is not there. Relationships (any kind, not just romantic) should be about encouraging the best in the other, allowing the space for them to be their own happy person, being happy for the other’s journey being realized. Again, a cheer-leader, not a coach. The hand that is there in case you need it, not an arm into which you always lean.

With this, another lesson I have learned comes to mind as well. We must work on ourselves before going into a relationship, we must be whole on our own. The notion of “your other half” bothers me because to me it sounds like such an unhealthy thing. You are literally making up for your insecurities by leaning on someone else, by filling up that space with someone else. As I have talked about before, we are taught to search for that special person to complete our journey, and I feel like that logic is all wrong. Our journey should include many people, not just the couple (insert my video on coupledom here). Moreover, our journey should be first about ourselves and our own sense of self being where it belongs and then comes whoever else, and we should not be shamed for thinking we come first. We should come first, it is our own life. And we should take care of ourselves, because if we cannot do that, how can we help someone else take care of themselves too?

 

Be honest.

I was completely dishonest once. Not to someone else, but to myself. Even today, I keep catching myself starting to be dishonest, and I have to correct it. And this has to do with thinking that the 100% of who we are could never find a partner or a friend or a lover or a whatever, which is a very flawed way to think. If we are all being dishonest, of course we are never going to find it, because we are looking in the wrong places. The only way is to throw ourselves out there with all of who we are, and trusting that we are worth it, that our personal journey is worth it, because we fucking are.

 

Fight well.

Oh how everyone I know needs to remember this. We need to think of problems and obstacles and misunderstandings and bad feelings as something external to us, because they are. They are the space between us and our partners. I like to think of them as a fire that is standing between the two (or three, or however many partners there are), a fire that everyone involved is responsible for grabbing an extinguisher and fight it. The fire, not each other over who started it, who fueled it, who was the last person to do something to it. Once the problem, the fire, is gone, you can talk about it to make sure it does not light up again.

 

Embrace attraction to others.

Why do people not understand that it is a fact of life? We have eyes, we have body parts that tingle when we see something good looking, and we have hormones that run rampant when we find something attractive (hormones that actually make us happy, a micro-teeny-tiny orgasm kind of happy). This has everything to do with jealousy, which has everything to do with insecurity, within ourselves (but we’ll get to that in the following point). I find people attractive all the time – I live in Montreal, so literally all the time – which does not mean I jump on people all the time, and this is true whether I am with someone or not. Jeez, I find every dessert incredibly attractive and I do not eat them all, now, do I? Attraction is a natural thing to have for humans, which does not obey the social construct and laws of monogamy which are not natural (not saying they are necessarily wrong or any less real, but they are not natural). The more you embrace it and communicate clearly and honestly about it, the more trust you’ll have.

Personally, I love it when the person I am with tells me about someone they see that is attractive. It means they are comfortable saying that, it means they know I trust them. The same way, when I say I find someone attractive, it means I am comfortable doing so, it means I feel like they trust me. We can communicate about it freely because it means nothing more than “hey, my serotonin levels just had a bit of a boost with that passing stranger over there”. Serotonin is good, and we should feel good about what makes our partner feel good, whether it is for a split second or for a day or for three years. Bitching about jealousy issues increases stress, attraction decreases stress. So really, what is healthier?

 

Do your work.

This has a lot to do with the previous one sometimes. If you are jealous, it is first and foremost about you, not him. If you are stressed out, it is first and foremost about you, not her. What I mean by this is that what YOU are feeling, YOU should work on. Communicating about jealousy is good, blaming because of jealousy is not good.

We are often taught, informally, that jealousy means they love you. To me, jealousy means they do not trust me, which itself means they don’t love me enough to trust me and to not try to control me. We are also taught that we are responsible of making sure the other is not feeling hurt, or jealous, or unheard, or whatever. It isn’t. Can we help them in not feeling that way? Sure. But through communication, not through not doing certain things or not acting certain ways. This has a lot to do with being honest about who we are and what we want and recognizing when our journey does not fit another’s. It isn’t true that love is about becoming one, but about becoming two stronger separate ones. Not about belonging to one another (I hate all those songs that allude to partners as property like “I’m Your Man”, “Sweet Child O’Mine”, “Are you gonna be my girl?”, “Be Mine”, “The boy is mine”), but about wanting to be with each other, and in case of monogamous relationships, wanting to be with each other – as opposed to only being with each other because you’re “taken” (insert imagery of a butt imprinted on a seat, signifying that it is taken).

There are healthy ways to communicate feelings of jealousy. “Hey, I felt a bit weird with the way you talked to that person. I just wanted to let you know so you can help me figure the root of this feeling of insecurity.” Not “Hey, I feel jealous about the way you talk to this person so YOU figure out how to make me feel better about it”.

 

Remember that you’re a mirror too.

I find it is so much better and more effective to actively seek to compliment the other and let them know what you see in them. I find asking “do you think I am smart/good looking/sexy/good in bed” so problematic and inherently unhealthy. It is much nicer to go up and say “I think you are gorgeous/super smart/sexy as heck/such a turn-on” first. They obviously find you smart and interesting and attractive, hence the being with you, silly. But reassuring that as opposed to asking for it makes everything more enjoyable.

 

Enjoy the ride, man!

Yes, yes, ABSOLUTELY YES. Just like a road trip, when the ride is no longer enjoyable, one must be willing to admit it and stop. Maybe it is just a pause to talk about  why we feel dizzy and wrong, maybe it is a stop to get some fresh air, walk around a bit and perhaps come back if it feels right, perhaps the destination is just not the same anymore for the both of you, and you should get into separate cars. Either way, it is better to stop when we feel queasy than to get into a car crash later on.

 

 

Anyway, like the writer of the original post, I am no expert, not even close. But I am constantly learning, and that blog entry definitely helped. So I thought I’d share.

 

Our self-worth, body image, sense of self and identity, should not depend on someone else. If someone else (anyone: friend, partner, family member, mentor) has a positive impact on our journey, on our happiness, then great, keep them in your life. If they stop making you grow and start making you shrink, if they stop making you shine and start making your light dim, know you have every right to want something better for yourself.

 

Something cheesy, but indubitably true :)

Something cheesy, but indubitably true 🙂

 

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Periodically aware bodies

Lately I have been having all sorts of interesting conversations about periods. And before guys say “Better skip this one”, know this: this blog entry is for YOU most of all. You’ll be breaking my precious blogger heart if you skip it.

We all – people with periods and without – have crazy, uninformed, fairly ridiculous ideas about menstruation. Many we inherit from our parents, from text book subtleties, from our own experiences, from the media, from common hear-say even.

From my beautiful (and usually decently liberal) mother I learned that one must hide every evidence that we are going through it. One must shower more than regularly because periods mean you’re dirty. One must not move much to prevent an accident – if anyone sees blood it is the end of our femininity. From my dad I learned that men do not like when we talk about our periods in front of them or to them – and I wonder, do they stop speaking about something when we tell them we don’t like it? HA! I am hilarious, am I not? I learned that if they ever hear us talking about periods they will pretend they didn’t, you know, to help us (what ever would we do without them, ladies?) preserve our dignity, our femininity.. oh I am seeing that word a lot in regards to menstruation! But I must ask myself and others, what is more feminine than a cycle that connects us with the moon and with all of nature, with our entire body and homeostasis, that renews our bodies to the possibility of creating life?

From my text books I learnt that menstruation is a waste, the process of a body disencouraged because you did not fertilize it – ¡and all to pursue ridiculous nonsense like a career, independence, travel, a social life, all those guys’ stuff!

And babies, of course.

And babies, of course.

Do note that, by those same standards and same discourse of “waste of potential babies”, both masturbation, oral sex and anal sex are the most CATASTROPHIC WASTE in men – billions of potential babies lost to a night of porn! But no no no, that is certainly not the same, ladies. Why? Because baby Jesus is male, not female. Now shush and make me some babiez.

From the media I learned that menstrual blood is dirty (why else would they use blue water instead of red water in ads for pads?), that you must hide it very well, that we are weaker for it, that it is better to stay in if you’re in your period – granting patriarchy a week of easy policing of our sexuality, yay! That we must be aware of all the products (except the Diva Cup, that shit’s socialist and feminist and evil) you must buy to control the smell, the amount, the hormones, the invisibility, and to make your period more bearable. Capitalism comes to save the day with a million artifices for stuff YOUR BODY ALREADY NATURALLY DOES AND IT HAS ITS DARNED REASON TO WORK AS IT DOES.

I personally find it ridiculous to throw away my money into the overflowing (haha! so many puns) pockets of a few transnational CEO idiots for products that I do not need and that I will then need to hide from them because ew, they do not want to see them, for sure.

I have wondered, time after time, what is dirty about menstruation, for Jimi’s sake?

That it is blood? Well we may not like blood, but we don’t run frantically to hide the shame when we scrape our knees or cut our fingers, now, do we?

That it is a fluid? I can think of equally “gross” fluids that some type of individuals go as far as expect us to swallow. No, I don’t beat around the bush, nope. Oops.

haha! I finally found a relevant way to share this ;-)

only half-relevant, but funny!

That it smells disgusting? First of all, refer to the previous question, and smell yours. Also, it smells iron-y. Deal.

That it comes from ‘down there’? For one, we, too, come from ‘down there’. Second, if you are a straight cis-guy and are scared of vaginas, you have bigger problems than periods. Third, yeah, refer to previous questions, and note that we at least have different tubes for stuff.

I have also had conversations about conversations about periods (you read right). And it’s not that I love talking about periods, but I hate that society mandates that you absolutely should not speak of it. It is something that happens to about 50% of the population. We should be able to talk about it freely. And in this I include any and every topic related to sexuality, to the body (both male and female). Bodies are not shameful, and we should feel more comfortable talking about them, in order to be more comfortable WITH THEM as well.

These and other really silly ideas about menstruation are further sexist justifications to police, control and manage the bodies of people with vaginas, to stigmatize them, to dominate them. Just like any othe process, function or part of the human body, it is nothing inappropriate, or dirty, or horrible. It is not a natural disaster: it is a needed cycle, like breathing and releasing hormones and digesting food.

Furthermore, I have realized that the more freely I talk about it, the more I go with the flow (pun intended, of course) about it all and the more I accept my hormonal changes, my cycle, my body, the less it bothers me. I just take it all in. Periods can be anything from a reminder that you are healthy, that you have the potential to create life (and occasionally a small celebration that nothing unwanted is coming your way) and that you’re young and very much alive, to a beautiful, logical rhythm which, if you follow it and not resist it, you can learn from it and from yourself in the process.

I leave you, finally, with some awesome stuff from around the interweb, so that we stop being so afraid of it and start getting to knowing ourselves and each other better.

Menstrual Blood as Plant Fertilizer

Fertility Awareness Method

Period Sex?? Laci Green’s Sex+ Channel

The Moon Cycle and Menstrual Cycle

“Hey psssst, hotstuff. Read this for me, will ya, babe?”

Sometimes people don’t understand why street harassment is a big deal. Why catcalling matters. Why we feminists “get our panties in a bunch” about it: “but it’s harmless guys’ fun!”, “come on, it is jokingly!”, “it is just words, y’know?” or the worst of ALL, “you should be flattered!”

or "Pssssst" or "Lookin good!"..

or “Pssssst” or “Lookin good!”. Nope, not “dayyuuuummm” either.

I want to address these and other claims one by one. Because street harassment is serious, and it should stop. And I will be talking to YOU, (straight, I guess) men who shout at us or hiss at us or whistle or honk or do any other gross signalling to a gal you do not know on public spaces. Those of you who think it is no big deal because you are a nice guy and you would not actually do anything.

1. It is not harmless. I mean, for you it is, of course. You are doing the harassment, so DUH. But it does harm us in many ways.

For one, it makes us uncomfortable. And if you were doing something that half of the world’s population considers uncomfortable and you are a decent human being, I would think that you’d stop it.

It makes us feel unsafe. Why? Because there is no guarantee (hey! we do not KNOW that you are a decent non-rapist guy because you are not doing the decent thing which is to not honk at us) that you will only attack us with words, for one. There is no guarantee that you will not follow us, or rob us, or rape us. You probably have the physical strength. You definitely have the sexism and utter distaste towards women (you are whistling at us! we are not strays you know?!) too.

It makes us doubt our sense of self and our self worth, our value as full human beings, not just bodies that walk. It makes us internalize your honking and start objectifying ourselves as well.

It makes us feel like second class citizens, since the streets and other public spaces are not so much ours as they are yours, clearly.

2. It is not fun. It shouldn’t be, at least. Do you find it fun when someone you don’t know singlehandedly makes you feel uncomfortable, objectified, humilliated, unsafe and basically ruins your day? We don’t either.

3. Guys fun? Yes, I do know that men tend to find fun in women’s bodies – heterosexual men, that is. We find fun in men’s bodies – and women’s, for sure – too. But could you find a consensual partner to have fun with, pretty please? Someone who has fun with your body too and so you have fun together 🙂 I do not consent to a gross (nothing to do with physical appearance really, to me any guy who catcalls is instantly gross) dude whistling at me and having “good ol’ guys’ fun” concerning my breasts, my thighs, my ass. I decide who gets to have fun with those. Clear?

4. The joke is on us, clearly. Thing is, you wouldn’t find a joke funny if it involved you having to watch your back on your way home, or make sure you are with someone when you walk on certain streets, or self-impose a curfew because you cannot walk alone any later than that. You wouldn’t find fun if your freedom was being messed around with because some people you don’t know feel the need to let YOU know what they think about your body and how much they’d rather have you naked.

5. Only YOU know it is just words. As I said in #1, we don’t know you are a decent guy because you are not behaving like one. We are afraid to even respond to you because you might get angry. You might get violent. You might get more crass in your comments. You might follow us home. Society teaches us to be afraid of men, because we don’t know what you might do to us if we cross a precious line that you continually cross: with your comments, your catcalling, your sexist jokes, your threats of violence, your socially-accepted outbursts (another privilege us ‘ladies’ do not enjoy). We are made to be afraid of your sense of entitlement to our bodies, to be violent if we do not comply.

We don’t want to find out if you are a rapist or “just” a guy who talks like one.

6. I am a lot of things when someone harasses me on the street, but flattered is not one of them. I am angry, I am disappointed, I am scared, I am annoyed, I am uncomfortable. NOT flattered.

The fact that you THINK it is flattering is insulting. I do not seek men’s approval. And it may sound like an angry, lonely feminist’s line, but trust me, it isn’t. (For a very long time it was, though, for sure. It took quite some time for me to value myself – everything about myself, including my body but much beyond that as well). I certainly do not seek a random dude’s approval. I know what I look like, I know I have breasts, thights, ass. I am aware of all my body parts. I feel sexy because I look myself in the mirror and I like what I see, what I am. Not because you hinted at licking my “pussy” (true story, I wish I was making this up).

A guy once told me that they were at least paying attention to me, because many girls do not get catcalled at all. At the time I was not so loud-mouthed, did not know the full extent of the sexism in his comment, and I was not as confident in regards to feminist discourse to say much, but just thinking about that comment today makes me want to cry. It makes me think that in matters of taking back the streets, the lecture halls, the world, we have very little space as long as we are trapped in the “hot or not” BS.

If we are “lucky enough” to be considered beautiful in today’s mainstream standards then we are constantly harassed, objectified. People are surprised when we are smart or when we are feminists. We are held to low standards, socialized to low standards. We are told that all we have is beauty, and that beauty is the thing that will grant us power in this men’s world. We are also told that we must hate other women and make sure we are the prettiest ones, make sure we get men to listen to us and see us.

If we are “lucky enough” to not be harrassed in the streets on a daily basis and objectified and not taken seriously or held to low standards then we are constantly ridiculed, named names, put aside. We are made to feel worthless (because a woman’s worth is in our beauty). We are made to think that we will never get married (which is just such a catastrophe!) or have anything going for us at all.

All in all, we are made to constantly doubt ourselves. We are never beautiful enough, and we think we gain power if we are. We could get more jobs, we could get more friends, we could get more men, we could get more money. We could ‘choose’ the man we want. But magazines and catcalling and pornography make us think that we are not that pretty, and so we devour every single product that is thrown at us, in the hopes of being better as women. We are either too pretty for our own good or too unpretty for our own good. We cannot win.

 

Moreover, there are many things that I might find flattering. But reducing me to a dettached body which you feel entitled to ‘critique’ at will is not flattering. If you are a guy on a date with me and you tell me I look good, I do find it flattering – it is not that we are against or impervious to compliments or against making ourselves and others feel beautiful, obviously. But there, there is consent to a certain closeness and intimacy, to a reduced personal space from that of a sidewalk. There is the implication that there is more to the interaction than separate body parts to whistle at.

On the street, I expect to feel safe, to be respected, to be left to myself. I certainly do not expect to be made feel like the street is a men’s playground in which they can and will shoot slurs at me. And then being told to give them a lil’ smile. Because while a guy is honking at me, I am supposed to feel flattered and to smile pretty, letting him know I am more than okay with his advances. Who in her right mind wouldn’t, right?

 

I was made to feel afraid of my streets, of my hometown, of my own body and femininity all my life. Growing up I did not even question that I should never walk alone, or late, or wearing anything other than sweatpants and a hoodie. I was made to feel the need to dress as close as possible to a man, because showing I was a girl was showing that I was weak, that I could be fooled or tricked or attacked, that they had nothing to be afraid of in me, and that I was “open” to harrassment. I was taught that walking alone in my city, as a woman, was letting guys do whatever they wanted, basically. I grew up fearful of getting in a guy’s way, provoking him, making him get out of the car from where he was honking and actually doing something. THAT IS WHAT STREET HARASSMENT IS.

Street harassment is a way of policing our bodies and our sexuality, the times of the day that we go out, how unsupervised we are, policing that we are not wondering about (vagrancy laws working against street sex workers, anyone?) and when & where we go, what we do. It is literally making sure we are never left unsupervised, but “for our own good”. It is making sure we stay home. And we might not all conciously put it or do it that way, but it is what it effectively does to women. If we are walking around alone at night, we must be bad girls, we must be up to no good. So we get what we deserve: paranoia, harassment, or who knows what else. If we want to not be subject to those things, or the shame of being called a promiscuous or “bad” woman, we better stay home, we better walk with a man on our side. We better not be seen where we shouldn’t be.

I refuse to accept this. We are entitled to our streets, we are entitled to our bodies, we are entitled to our self-confidence, to wearing what we like, when we like, where we like. We are entitled to the same safe environment as any man in the world. We are entitled to stop restraining our sexuality for the sake of men who cannot keep their mouth shut. We are entitled to not be judged, shamed. We are entitled to decide what our bodies, our clothes, our time, says about us, and not having men decide that for us.

 

 

Join Hollaback! To end street harassment. We all can do this together.

– Intervene when someone is doing the cat-calling. Man up and tell them what they did is not okay and why.

– Calmly approach them and tell them why this hurt you. This takes a lot of courage, but try to do it (when and where you feel safe doing so, of course!)

– Take pictures of the agressors and post them in the street: “Disrespected women while at work” “Beware of this car, they will disrespect you”.

– Talk to the victims on the street. Make them feel safe and accompany them when possible.

– Tell your story and read the stories in Hollaback.

Cycle of names: Unloading…

As I’ve told you before, I am a compulsive Internet sharer. When I see something that warms up my heart, that makes me think, that makes me cry, I feel the need to share.

Shane Koyczan: “To This Day”… for the bullied and beautiful.

I won’t talk about how much this talk hits home. It does, every single word of it. I will let the talk speak for itself, but I will say this: we are all taught to be bullies, and we are taught to be bullied too.

We teach kids those names they call each other. We teach them what is okay to laugh at, what is necessary to be ashamed of. But we are taught, too, those names. The politician talking about “legitimate rape” carries the word ‘slut’ to every speech, even if he is not saying it. The military man who will tell a boy to stop crying and to man up, carries the word ‘fag’ every night to bed. The TV commentator who will not stop talking about Lady Gaga gaining weight carries the word ‘fat’ every day to the set.

Let’s all unload. Deconstruct every name we’ve ever been called, every name we’ve ever called someone. Why did we do it? Why is it considered a bad thing? Why did it hurt? How much value does our society place on this? Is it fair?

Imagen239

Clothes off, everyone! jk. or am I?

I want to talk about the body.

Lately I have been connecting several dots, many separate instants in my memory: experiences, anecdotes, advice, overheard conversations. I have been remembering various moments in which I was taught – overtly or not – in the same way that many were taught, that the human body is something forbidden, something to hide and be ashamed of. Something dirty and uncomfortable. I was taught that the smallest indication that there is nudity – that there is a woman – beneath all the clothing, some of my “purity”, of my “dignity”, of the most intimate instance of my femininity and my humanity would be lost. A mere sillhouette is already an abhorrent thing to show.

I don’t want to talk much about how the male human body is not as covered by an overprotective, vigilant, controlling and oppressive aura as the female human body. [Nor will I talk much about  two of my breast-related pet peeves: 1) women’s breasts are the same thing as men’s breasts – apart from the average size and the ability to lactate which is awesome but not particularly sexy in my opinion – and yet society has made a fetish and a spectacle out of women breasts and an irrelevance that can be shown wherever out of men’s. 2) how is wearing a bikini in front of everyone any different from wearing underwear in front of everyone? same skin, same body, possibly same people. Sheesh.]

What I want to really discuss, though, is how body shame, censorship, discomfort in our own skin is tragically internalized. We are constantly hiding our body from ourselves, from others. When we stop doing it for a moment, not knowing what to do or who we are really, we end up allowing others to dictate what our own body means, what we should show, what we should not. It’s not that I think that we should all run naked through the streets (and not because it would be immoral or abhorrent, but because then there’d be nothing special in undressing – both emotionally and physically, ideally – in front of you alone). It is not that I think we are evolving in some way or another because we show more now than we used to. I think showing or not showing is equally oppressive so long as you are doing it for someone(s) else.

hijabbikini

Post-it for a future blog entry: is the hijab really more oppressive than Western hypersexualization? 😉

What I do think is that so long as we give moral value to the human body, we will continue to be tied down and doomed to not knowing ourselves at all.

How deep a cleavage is does not indicate the moral, intellectual or spiritual value of a person; a naked sillhouette through a window does not determine any personality trait nor does it express any aspect of a person’s sexuality; a tattoo is not a marker of intelligence, capacity or morality; a person’s weight says very little, if anything, about a person’s habits, hygiene or mental health; attractiveness means lack of personality or intellect as much as “unattractiveness” means great personality or intellect: nothing.

I know, I know, I am talking about a myriad of things that would require a deeper analysis and a blog entry of their own. Think of them as previews, and save them for Christmas time. Anyhoo.

We constantly try to regulate the body, standardize it (now, why would anyone want to do that?! BORINGGGG), morally judge a person basing our judgment almost exclusively on it. But it is US who should be deciding giving meaning to our bodies. Our own bodies only, and no one has any right to change our own definitions, limitations, symbols.

We really should stop feeling so ashamed of ourselves, as human beings. I really think we should play a lot more with our own symbolism, push our boundaries, deconstruct and reconstruct the way we were socialized, learn without judgment and with that knowledge love and embrace every inch of what we are. We really should celebrate how awesome we are, with or without clothes, with or without someone besides us, with or without what society tells us we should be and have.

To have a real revolution, starting by loving our bodies, unconditionally (what longer-term and more worthy of cultivating relationship than that with our own skin?). It is only like this that we can use it to the max, and use it however we want to. Not necessarily as a tool for power, domination of manipulation. Use it to find balance, to express ourselves, to feel better physically and mentally. To be whatever we want and be the best we want to be.

To have a refuge, a shelter. But not just any shelter, but a redecorated one to our own taste and our own abilities, positioned and understood however we choose. A place that is absolutely ours, and that we share it, we share it with whoever we choose. That that is, too, respected. Because it is our place and not the state’s, or the medical community’s, or middle-aged heterosexual white men’s.

That once our bodies are re-occupied, re-invented and profoundly free, we find  under our skins the Kamchatka that we all need: that personally decorated place, that weapon of beauty that protects but also connects us with all our other strengths and the universe as well.

badassunicorn

[Note: if you don’t know what this Kamchatka business I am blabbing about is, check this out ASAP!]

For more on body image, self esteem and body reapropriation:
Airbrushed Nation: The Lure and Loathing of Women’s Magazines | Gender Focus

Feminist Perspectives on the Body (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Excerpt from Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy by Latham Thomas

Making History by Reclaiming our Bodies (PDF)

And a heartwarming, cheesy, Valentine’s Day video from the Sex+ Channel (which you should totally check out if you haven’t already)

You say you want a revolution, well you know…

The real revolution is in each and everyone of us. If we learn to love – and you cannot love what you cannot understand – our own bodies, we already won the biggest battle. Against patriarchy and sexism controlling our sexuality and deciding for us what our bodies should mean, against capitalism feeding and feeding off our insecurities. Against every ISM, there is love.

Imagen237

Radical, offensive, confident, knowledgeable, empowered, beautiful, outrageous love.