I recently started counting calories. I’ve done this from time to time to get a better sense of what and how much I eat. In general, I am very lucky that I am not plagued by body image issues. For the most part, I like the way I look and am comfortable in my own skin. This is something I almost never hear other women say.
I am highly aware that many (most?) women are not comfortably with their bodies. I think this has very little to do with actual women’s bodies and more to do with cultural expectations about what women’s bodies should look like. So many of my friends and students talk about hating their bodies, feeling insecure, feeling worthless, and feeling like they have no personal identity or value.
This issue came up at the doula retreat last weekend. (I know I’ve been writing about that a lot, but I really gained a lot of insights there.) At the retreat, one woman admitted, “I almost didn’t come this morning because of weight issues.” I was stunned. Here was a normal-looking woman who was very nearly paralyzed by her body images issues. While I frequently want to back out of social events and obligations because I’m an introvert, I was shocked to think of women not attending a group event because of the way her body looks.
How many insights, interactions, and contributions do we miss because women choose to stay home? This question haunts me.