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)

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Kamchatka frente al espejo

Quiero hablar del cuerpo humano.

Últimamente he estado conectando muchos puntos, muchos instantes distintos en mi memoria: experiencias, anécdotas escuchadas, consejos, conversaciones sobreentendidas. He estado recordando distintos momentos en los que se me enseñó – directa o indirectamente – al igual que a muchos, que el cuerpo humano es algo prohibido. Y no sólo prohibido: algo sucio, algo con lo que no estar cómodo, algo que se debe ocultar, opacar, esconder. El más mínimo indicio de que existe desnudez – de que existe una mujer – debajo de toda esa ropa, algo de mi “pureza”, de mi “dignidad”, de la más íntima instancia de mi feminidad y mi persona se iba a perder. Una silueta siquiera ya es una desvergüenza.

No quiero hablar mucho de cómo el cuerpo del hombre no está tan rodeado por un aura sobreprotectora, vigilante, controladora y opresiva como el de la mujer, ni de mi trauma, por ejemplo, con que los senos sean lo mismo en hombres que en mujeres – si quitas el tamaño y la habilidad de lactar (la cual no es particularmente seductora, al menos en mi opinión) – y sin embargo la sociedad ha hecho de los senos de mujer un show, un fetiche y un motivo de control, y de los senos de hombre una irrelevancia que mostrar donde sea.

Quiero discutir más bien de cómo la vergüenza, la censura del cuerpo, la incomodidad bajo nuestra propia piel está trágicamente internalizada. Nos escondemos constantemente; cuando no lo hacemos, dejamos, al no saber qué hacer, que los demás dicten que significa lo que mostramos y lo que no. Y no es que crea yo que todos debamos andar desnudos por las calles (no porque sea indigno o inmoral, sino porque se pierde lo sexy de estar desnudos en momentos selectos), ni que estemos evolucionando de alguna manera u otra al mostrar cada vez más (especialmente las mujeres).

Lo que sí creo es que mientras le demos valor moral al cuerpo humano, seguiremos completamente atados y condenados a no conocernos en absoluto. La profundidad de un escote no dicta la calidad moral, ni intelectual, ni espiritual de una persona, una silueta desnuda que se ve en una ventana no determina ningún rasgo de personalidad ni expresa ningún aspecto de la sexualidad de nadie. De la misma manera, un tatuaje no es un indicador de intelecto o capacidad, ni el peso de una persona necesariamente dice algo de los hábitos, higiene o salud mental de esta persona. Lo sé, lo sé, estoy hablando de muchas cosas que requieren más profundización, pero en fin.

Queremos constantemente regular el cuerpo, estandarizarlo, emitir juicios morales basándonos casi exclusivamente en él. Pero somos (o deberíamos ser) nosotros los que le damos significado al cuerpo. A nuestro cuerpo solamente, y nadie tiene derecho a cambiarnos nuestras propias definiciones, límites, símbolos.

No deberíamos de tenernos tanta pena. Creo realmente que deberíamos de jugar más con nuestra propia simbología, empujar nuestros propios límites, deconstruír nuestra socialización.

Hacer una verdadera revolución: comenzar a amar nuestro cuerpo, cada parte de él, incondicionalmente (¿qué relación más duradera y más digna de cultivar que con nuestra propia piel?). Sólo así podemos usarlo al máximo, pero usarlo como nosotros queramos. No necesariamente como herramienta de poder, de dominación o de manipulación. Utilizarlo para encontrar un balance, para expresar nuestras ideas, para sentirnos mejor física y mentalmente. Para ser lo que queramos y ser los mejores que queramos.

Para tener un refugio. Pero no un refugio cualquiera, un refugio decorado, posicionado, entendido como cada uno decida. Un lugar que sea totalmente nuestro, y que si lo compartimos, sea con quien(es) queramos. Que eso también sea respetado.

Que una vez re-ocupados nuestros cuerpos, re-inventados y profundamente libres, podamos encontrar  bajo nuestra piel el Kamchatka que todos necesitamos: ese sitio decorado personalmente, esa arma de belleza que nos protege pero nos une con todas nuestras demás fortalezas y con el universo también.

RAWR :)

Nadie puede decirte que no eres el león más pinche feroz del mundo, ¿vale?

[Nota: Si no sabes de qué Kamchatka hablo, consíguete el libro pero YA]

Algunos links acerca de autoimagen, el cuerpo humano, y otros:
Autoimagen: ¿Es posible desafiar el concepto mediático de belleza?
Las mujeres y la reapropiación de su cuerpo
Cuerpo y mujer, violencia y placer: Tránsitos de Malignas Influencias
Tu cuerpo es un campo de batalla