Body Image

We women have bodies in every size and shape. The range of hair color is amazing. Eye color, too. So why are we never satisfied with what we have, with the way our bodies look? We are short and tall, thin and not-so-thin, have hair that is blonde, brunette, black, red; that’s wavy, curly, or straight. Our eyes are brown, blue, hazel, green, violet, black. Whatever we have we want something different. If we’re short, we wish we were tall; if we have straight hair, we wish it was curly; if we have curly hair, we wish it was straight. Some of these things we can change; colored contact lenses, perms, straighteners, hair dyes. But our bodies are something different. We can’t be what we are not, even though there are those out there who tell us we can.

And I’m not totally blameless here, either. I’m short and wished I were taller. I’ve never, ever, had a perfectly flat belly. I’ve fought my weight since puberty. Then somewhere around the age of 50, I began to truly understand that I would never have the body I thought I wanted. My body is determined to stay the shape it is and nothing I can do will change that.

I came of age in the 60s, when Twiggy was the latest thing in fashion. Her boyish body made all of us feel fat, even if we weren’t. Fashion model figures are unobtainable for almost all of us, so why do we still try? The few top fashion models are fortunate that they have the body shape and bone structure to look the way they do. And they have to work hard at maintaining that famined look. I was happy to see there is an 80 something fashion model who is still working; that there are more models out there with curves instead of sharp angles; and there are now plus-sized models who are well-known.

Change comes slowly to society, and it has to be demanded by the majority, and it has to be sold as absolutely necessary. I often ponder some of the things we women are expected to do and be. Who decided that hair on women’s legs and underarms was a bad thing and should be removed? Who decided that women wearing dresses or skirts had to wear stockings or pantyhose, or tights? And who decided that women’s breasts had to be confined and constrained in corsets and bras? Who came up with the idea that women had to wear makeup to look good? Many of us have bought into these ideas and now can’t imagine not doing some of these things. We were raised to think these were good; not doing them was bad. I admire the women with enough courage to break the mold. They are the women we should appreciate as good role models.

I have learned to love my body. It is the only one I will have in this life and still works wonderfully well considering how old it is. It isn’t perfect by society’s standards, but it’s perfect for me, and that’s what’s important. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never have a model’s body; that I will never be tall; that clothes never fit quite right. But I can also alter clothes so they do fit well; I can carry myself with good posture and grace; I can continue to eat healthy foods and exercise with the goal of being fit. I have this one body, this one life, and feel blessed to have it.

Companion animals

Two stories in the news this week hurt my heart: one was about an adorable young pit bull who was turned in to the animal shelter where I work. He had open wounds covering his head, face, and neck; investigators determined that the wounds were consistent with his being used as a bait dog to train dogs for fighting. We took him in, treated his wounds, and assessed him for adoptability. He is a very sweet, loving, dog with a submissive personality; gets along very well with everyone and every dog he was in contact with at the kennels. Submissive dogs are sought after to be bait dogs; they don’t kill the dogs in training. This story had a happy ending; he found a forever home with a wonderful family who were happy to adopt him. Here is a story about him from our local newspaper:

The other story does not have a happy ending. Animal rescue owners in Alabama abandoned the kennel and all the animals that were there – no food or water – for over a week. Many of the animals died, some of those who survived did so by cannibalism. The kennel owners have been arrested, but nothing can make up for what they did.  Here’s a link to the story:

The last story I saw puts the count at 45 animals dead.

Our society is sick. The saying goes that we can judge what kind of society it is by how they treat the weakest among them. What does this say about our society when people refuse to spay or neuter their companion animals? When people think dogfighting is perfectly fine? When just dropping off an animal in the desert is okay once they can’t or don’t want to care for him or her any more? When drowning kittens and puppies is an alternative to spaying their female dog or cat? When letting an animal roam free, in a city, is okay?

My heart hurts for these defenseless creatures.