This week I watched a powerful documentary called Embrace. It is one woman's journey to discover why women in general feel so wretched about their own bodies. My husband watched it, too. The ideas in the film are nothing new to me, but it is the first time in a couple of decades I have really delved into the ideas presented. The film was a gut-check. I cried a lot. It hurts to see how we hate our bodies and try to live up to some non-existent ideal. Men fall for it as well, and get extremely cruel and judgmental about a woman who doesn't match the ideal.
As a teenager, I rebelled against the images presented by Seventeen magazine, Cosmopolitan, and others. I resented the emphasis on women's bodies, and I resented the unwelcome comments that men dished out to me daily. Daily.
I wore baggy overalls, let my body hair grow, did not wear make-up. I probably felt better about my body in those days. I was flipping the bird to the norm, and it felt good. Which reminds me, we watched the Janis Joplin biopic "Little Girl Blue" this week. Talk about flippin' the bird! My appreciation of Janis came after her death in 1970. I was in eighth grade, and my musical tastes were much more Top 40 in those days.
She lamented that she was not a "pretty girl" even though she knew that doesn't mean dick. She had talent, smarts, and fearlessness. Of course she was also very sad and lonely most of the time. So here we have this mega talented musical pioneer, who was insulted over her looks and her up front honesty. Nobody likes a smart girl.
The universe seems to be conspiring to bring me a message this week, and the topper was a video about a woman with a rare autoimmune disease that will dramatically shorten her life. Some arshole criticized her few gray hairs and told her she looks 70 years old. The video was fantastic, and I'd share a link if they provided one, but no. My takeaway from the video, apart from my admiration for this wondrous woman, is that men DO THIS SHIT ALL THE TIME. By THIS SHIT I mean feel entitled to comment on a woman's appearance. Like, WTF? Who the hell said it was okay to invade a person's space with your hateful comments? Why do you feel the need to do this? If women spoke like this to men on a regular basis, you'd better believe men would be insulted.
And then, kids, this happened: I was on FB looking up some photographers from my past and quite by accident came upon a former photo teacher from college. He was the guy who reviewed my portfolio to ascertain whether I should be admitted to the photography program. He wasn't impressed with my body of work, but he was impressed with my body (I guess). He suggested that if I wanted into the program I would need to develop a "personal relationship" with him. I was stunned. I think I left my body for a second there. I grabbed my portfolio case and left his office. I considered filing a complaint, but shit, I was 21 years old and I had no witnesses. Who was going to believe me? So, I find this jerk off on FB and I sent him a personal message telling him how horrible that experience was for me. 40 some years later I finally found the courage to tell this man what a pig he was. I found myself feeling fear, wondering if he was going to have a hateful reaction to my email. Then I laughed/cried because 40 years later I'm still afraid of this guy! Heaven help me!*
So, my dreams this week have been full of scenes inside of houses, busting up the furniture, taking a sledgehammer to the brickwork, going full out destructo. The dreams are revealing to me just how angry I am. About all of the above. I thought I worked through the shit decades ago. Apparently not. Hehe.
I scream into the wind, boys and girls, I scream.
Despite it all, and thank heavens, there is such goodness. My grandson turned six years old this week. My daughter took this amazing photo of the kids, exhausted, at the Jersey shore.
My husband and I will be celebrating our third wedding anniversary tomorrow, and three years of being in our home. He loves me and I love him. Big. Here is a fun picture he took of me living out loud.
May you live out loud, and fuck the bastards anyway!
*The Pig did NOT admit me to the program. I waited until the next term, when a visiting lecturer, a woman, was reviewing portfolios. She loved my work and I was admitted. With a very limited number of teachers in the program, I did have to work with this guy over the next two years. I was intensely uncomfortable around him the entire time. I watched him with the female photography students, usually wondering who had been harassed by him, or who felt compelled to comply.