Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Three Books

I thought I was going to be very busy today, as it's Halloween and I didn't think my kids had their costumes together. But I sewed Hibi a cape last night, and Zac informed me this morning that he's set with his costume. I thought I'd post about those books finally! And maybe make myself a cape later on. And we're looking at a house this afternoon...one that the realtor called us up about. When she does that we sit up and take notice....(she's never done that before.) I'll keep you posted!

Here are three books that I've read that are related to positive body image.

Adios, Barbie by Ophira Edut. This is the book that really set me off on my own personal revolution against the fat police (among other police...). I so highly recommend it. It's not just about fat acceptance. It is a compilation of stories from many female authors who overcame their own difficulties in their perspectives of their bodies. In addition to fat women, there were women who are disabled and getting over the fact that society views someone in a wheelchair differently than a more able-bodied one, lesbians, women who decided to go unshaven, women from ethnicities that were considered different or "exotic", small women, and even one person who has male chromosomes but considers him/herself to be a woman and has undergone some therapy to have a woman's body.

This book isn't for those who want the world to be one easy way of being, those who are happy to accept the status quo. When I first read it, even though it had such a huge impact on me, I didn't recommend it to anyone. It's stories of lesbianism and transexualism were a shock to my (conservative Republican) system. Yes, I used to be conservative. I read it in a time when those values were just beginning to be jolted, and other values were beginning to present themselves. I didn't recommend it to others because at the time I didn't want to be aligned with what was in that book. I thought others might be offended. I thought my "good Christian" facade might get tarnished. But I now stand here and proclaim on this blog that I think reading about and getting to know people who are different from you is a good thing. It won't taint you. It'll make you more well-rounded. And more understanding, hopefully. For an interesting read on homosexuality and Christianity, read this post on Andy's blog, which I read on a regular basis. For more on my own evolution on this subject, read part three of my conversion story, found here.

I not only started viewing my fat as just fine as a result of this book, but also stopped shaving. :-) Anyone who has seen my legs knows that. The argument given in the book is that shaving legs and pits juvenilizes women. They started shaving women who appeared in movies because they looked too womanly if they showed any hair other than on their heads. Of course, in Europe most women don't shave. I remember in Norway, when I was on Teen Missions (gee, that's coming up a lot lately) a couple of the Norwegian girls we got to know would spend the night with us sometimes. Once some girls were teasing them that they were going to shave them while they were sleeping. The girls were stricken--no! you can't do that! they yelled, and it seemed to me that it was not just mock horror. That kind of surprised me and stayed with me all these years.

Okay, on to the second book. Camryn Manheim, the hollywood actor, wrote a fun memoir called Wake Up, I'm Fat! She talks about her life as a fat person, overcoming her own hang-ups about being fat. The title comes from a story about her shopping with her mother. She's in a dressing room and her mother brings her more clothes to try on. She tries to put them on but they're all way too small. She then looks at the tag. They're sizes 10 and 12. That's when she yells, "Mom! Wake up, I'm FAT!" Which illustrates the point that even when you've gotten over the things that hold you back in life, other people are still hanging onto those things. I enjoyed reading this book, after enjoying Camryn Manheim on The Practice.

The latest fat acceptance book I've read (even though it was still some time ago) was a book called Fat!So?. This great book is more like a manual on practical matters. Like how to deal with a doctor that won't stop pestering you to lose weight, or even how to nip it in the bud before it starts. How it's your right not to be weighed every single time you step into a doctors office. How to deal with fat discrimination. How to deal with small airline seats. And most importantly, now to stop apologizing for your size.

So, there you have it. A good start for anyone interested in pursuing this issue. If anyone has any other resources I'd be happy to hear about them.


karrie said...

Hee hee! I have hairy legs too!

Take that, anon. :P

karrie said...

Oops! I see you've made amends with this anon. I'll play nice but if they get nasty again I may be forced to sit on them and force them to braid my leg hairs for me. :)

Mimi said...

Great post thank you.

I didn't shave for years and years (I did begin again at some point).

SVB said...

I'm sorry, I won't be joining the hairy brigade. I shave for my benefit not others!

Xenia Kathryn said...

I'm going to send my friend, Heather, a link to your blog.
I'm very glad you bring these issues up, Presvytera!