A Note from the Center for Women and Gender Director, Jessica Jennrich
Thank you to the fabulous Angela Zhang for providing the Dartmouth Smart Mouths our first blog post about Love Your Body Day (hint, it is today). So take a minute to read her insightful words about loving your body today and every day! And don’t forget to come by and see the Center for Women and Gender, co-sponsors of Love Your Body Day, at Paganucci Lounge from 5-7 for some lovin’ your body fun TODAY!
As you may or may not know, October 19th this year is Love Your Body Day. EDPAs (Eating Disorder Peer Advisors) and some other groups (including the Real Beauty Initiative, which is near and dear to my heart) are holding an event to celebrate in Paganucci Lounge (formerly Tindle Lounge) in FoCo. I participated last year and the year before and it’s generally pretty fun – “Yayscales”, sign-ups, T-shirt making, etc.
Occasionally I reflect on the absurdity that is Love Your Body Day – like one day a year, we celebrate the bodies we were born with, and the other 364 we are bombarded with messages about hating them. In my experience, I’ve found that accepting my body is a constant, daily process that doesn’t slake off any day of the year. Coming to terms with my body was not a eureka moment, like, “Hey! I guess my body isn’t all that bad”, and now my body and I now live together all hunky-dory. It’s been a long, slow process that isn’t quite finished yet, I’m sorry to say. It’s the daily work of being critical of images in magazines and knowing they’re photoshopped, not comparing my body to other, thinner bodies, ignoring the sizes on my pants, knowing that a lot of ads mean “skinny” when they say “healthy”, resisting the urge to diet. And sometimes, just when I’m reaching a new level of satisfaction – not love, just satisfaction – with my body, a trip to the mall can bring me all the way back to square one.
But then I remember what it was like when I was 12, trapped in cycles of binging and starving and trying to diet, and worrying when I went up a pants size when it was actually probably just puberty. And looking back, I would have given anything to tell 12 year-old me (or maybe 4 year-old me) that I was okay, and that bodies are naturally different and mine is just a different kind and beautiful in its own respect. I desperately wish that when I had been that young I could have had the wonderful people at Love Your Body Day tell me what I know now, even if I only heard it one day a year.
So, wherever you are on the process of loving your body, I encourage you – have a gander at Love Your Body. Stay a little, or as long as you can. If you don’t love your body, you’ll find something inspiring for you. If you’re coming to terms with your body, you’ll hear words of encouragement. And if you already love your body, then come hear a reaffirmation of how wonderful it is. No matter what, you’re beautiful and Love Your Body Day is worth the visit. I know I’ll be there.
(This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival:)