Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thoughts on Bellies

When you search "Lady Gaga Superbowl Pot Belly" you get this image along with a discussion of the "pooch" that she was showing.  This is worthy of exploration because it exemplifies the cultural sickness of what we expect of women.  In fact, it is so significant that I am going to dedicate a series to my thoughts on "bellies." 

Let's begin with a brief acknowledgement that Lady Gaga has survived Bulimia.  I have buried two friends from eating disorders, one of which was only 18 when she died in her sleep from Bulimia.  I have also suffered from an eating disorder. They are deadly. She has recovered. But the shaming that she endured over this image is enough to make me furious - it exemplifies what is wrong about our culture.

Onto the actual anatomy of a woman. The layer of tissue that they are calling a "pot belly" is actually healthy for a woman to have. Perhaps not everyone knows this? I certainly didn't know that when i first saw Janet Jackson with her shredded abs in the 90's.

In order to menstruate, women need to have a certain level of body fat. This means that unless she has been surgically modified in specific areas, her body will contain a smooth layer that will inhibit the appearance of "shredded abs." It is healthy to maintain a level of body fat above 18%. I got down to 14% body fat to get my shredded abs in my 20s. I didn't menstruate for 12 years. That's a problem. And that's also an eating disorder. The body pays for it later.

We have a cultural sickness where we expect women to look like men (ripped stomachs). But we are NOT men. To achieve these ideals, women must either undergo surgery OR reduce bodyfat to the point that menstruation stops. And THEN, we are expected to keep it that way. And THEN, we are expected to get this ideal back after we have our babies.

This is the cultural sickness. Female bodies are made as the very crucible of life. I am choosing to say NO to anything that requires disembodiment.
Being human means having a body. I will no longer deny this body that God gave me. I choose embodiment.

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