Feminine Aesthetics: “Body image”

A (female) friend of mine posted this essay a while back:

    I’ve been struggling with body image lately. I’m the heaviest I’ve been since I was pregnant–quite disheartening with summer and pool season coming on. But I found this rough draft essay that I wrote a year ago that encouraged me.

    The Time Before Knowing

    My daughter Sadie looks at her naked body proudly in the mirror. She bends this way and that–hands on hips, now twisting from the back, seeing how her budda belly looks from all angles. She looks closely, curiously, then she pinches her nipples and laughs. She runs through the house joyfully yelling ‘naked baby, naked baby! She is three years old and doesn’t know that she is supposed to hate her body.


    I was running at the community pool. I was wearing my crinkly purple swimsuit, my favorite because of its texture and the round neck—you could pull it tighter and tighter and it became a smaller and smaller O and the strings made a V and tied around my neck. I was running unaware—running after Patrick Bush because it was the summuer after 5th grade and running was fun and fast. I was running through the grass, near the fence, not quite catching him, now closer, laughing laughing out of breath. Then he turned and ran after me. I circled around the slide and the diving boards, then he said it. “Wow. You have Thunder Thighs. Maybe you shouldn’t be running around the pool like that that.”

Read the whole thing via this link.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

2 Responses to Feminine Aesthetics: “Body image”

  1. Sheila West says:

    Yep. One ass-head comment like that at the delicate age of 11 is exactly how it starts.

  2. TAE says:

    See, I’m aware of this now. But I certainly was not when I (as a male) was 11. And even if I had been informed, how much difference would it have made? To a Jr. High boy? Who are we kidding here.

    At a prayer retreat in college I noticed a girl wearing cow slippers. I “moooed” at the slippers. The girl, who I didn’t know, later told me not to do that again.

    It took a day to figure out why.

    But if she was so sensitive in the first place, wouldn’t she have thought of the potential for such a thing before wearing the goofy things??? I’m now married to a very sensitive lady, and still don’t understand how she interprets my most inocuous statements as some sort of derrogatory comment.

    How much does the unrealistic, emaciated American female physique set up by Hollywood, TV, advertising and so forth play in to these types of scenarios?

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