Thursday, February 9, 2017
Thoughts on Bellies - A Little more....
I am deeply disturbed by the way our society views women's midsections. As I have grown older, I am feeling even more confidence in the strength of my voice to speak out against the cultural sickness that we all have come to accept as normal.
The image above formed the basis of my last blog post discussing the "pot belly" or "pooch" references that were made in the wake of Lady Gaga's BADASS superbowl performance. Let's pause there for a moment to acknowledge that a STRONG woman carried the stage on her own, without lip syncing, for 100 Million+ people, daring to be fully empowered, fully sexualized, fully female, fully HERSELF in a time of great political and sociological turmoil...and still......they body shamed her. I feel compelled to acknowledge the ways that these shamings are pervasive throughout our culture, as if we must have a masculine shredded set of abs in order to be taken seriously. Moreover, I dare any man with shredded abs to wear skin tight hipster shorts while singing/dancing all over a stage WITHOUT a little lip of skin coming over the top. It's HUMAN.
Aside from the above general comment though, and building on my last discussion of the importance of the layer of fat that covers a woman's tummy...I want to now explore the organs that are within a woman's midsection. We have the small intestine, mesentery, and large intestine - all of which are a part of our enteric nervous system. Some people have more intestines than others - did you know that? Furthermore, women's tummies contain the entire reproductive system, including our uterus and ovaries, which form the womb of life. A man doesn't have this in his midsection. It seems silly to say that, but it needs saying - especially since women's bellies are often the source of such criticism. Lastly, we have the omentum - which is a fascinating organ that deserves an entire blog post on it's own! The role that the omentum plays in the overall lymphatic system is fascinating - and it covers the abdominal muscles.
Now I am going to connect the dots. When we are told to make our midsections as small as possible - from more modern shredded abs to corseted images throughout history - we are essentially making the womb of life as small as possible. When we turn to the side in front of the bedroom mirror, we want to see ourselves as thin as possible - why do we wish to disappear? When we are raped, the violent thrust into our very core reminds us that the womb of life is vulnerable to even the most horrific intrusions, and we begin to feel that we - our vaginas, our reproductive systems, our pussies, our womb, and ultimately the tummy that contains ALL OF IT - are some how wrong, shameful, or in need of taming or restriction. We exert control. We bring chaos. We do anything we can to avoid LOVING what is there. The entire time we do so, we are denying ourselves.
What would it look like to live in harmony with our bellies? They come in all shapes and sizes. A full belly is no better or worse than a thin belly. A belly with more intestines might appear a little larger than a belly with less intestines. A pregnant belly definitely looks different than a belly that has never birthed a baby. A belly that has welcomed new life into the world may show signs of the skin stretching, whereas others will not. Is there any wrong way to have a belly? I wonder what it would look like if we simply awakened to the miracle that is contained within our tummies and chose to LOVE all that is there with radical acceptance and full embodiment.
This is my own personal struggle. And so, I begin the journey of loving my belly. Will you join me?