Tag Archives: Body

For only $19.95, you can get 20% more self-esteem!

So today, I got a friend request on Facebook. I wasn’t sure if I knew this person or not because I know a lot of people on the interwebz and I never know if someone might send me a friend request and I also have a bad memory sometimes. So I accepted it just to see and I immediately got this message about how she saw that I was active on the Happy Bodies blog and all this shit and was eager to ‘share something with me and my group’:

Hey Ashley,

The Body Magic is manufactured by a company called Ardyss International. It is medical grade body reshaper, designed by an orthopedic surgeon and medical engineer. The garment corrects the posture, supports the spine, lifts the breasts, cinches the waist, plumps the rump, and creates an instant hourglass figure – no dieting, no pills, no surgery. The garment even causes the internal organs to return to their proper places internally! (I have MRI images that proved this to me!)

As for me personally – I got married last November and some how, some way gained 25 pounds! (my husband is such a spoiler) While my husband loves me regardless, and so do I, I wasn’t really pleased with how I suddenly looked in my clothes. After putting on this garment however, INSTANTLY, my body was transformed and I had an amazing figure. I had an instant boost to my self esteem and confidence, not that I suffered from low self esteem and confidence before, because I’ve always love me!

I am absolutley [sic] excited about this product because of the difference it has made in my life, and wanted to share it with your group. It has truly made a difference in my life physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve included a few photos for your review. Please contact me if I can tell you more about this amazing garment and the nutritional products Ardyss International offers.

Most Sincerely and Feelin’ Like Ten Million,

Kimberly T. Hooker
http://www.tenmilliondollaryou.com
Independant [sic] Distributor for Arydss International
757 696 1448

Seriously? Seriously, dude? Other than that whole fucking message being the complete fucking opposite of what Happy Bodies is all about this kind of supposed all-encompassing representation of ‘how women feel about their bodies’ just makes me really angry. Let’s take it bit by bit, shall we?

The Body Magic is manufactured by a company called Ardyss International. It is medical grade body reshaper, designed by an orthopedic surgeon and medical engineer. The garment corrects the posture, supports the spine, lifts the breasts, cinches the waist, plumps the rump, and creates an instant hourglass figure – no dieting, no pills, no surgery. The garment even causes the internal organs to return to their proper places internally! (I have MRI images that proved this to me!)

Because that’s what women want! We don’t give a shit about health or exercise or anything like that! It’s all about that ‘instant hourglass figure’, that perfect fucking shape, with the perky tits and cinched waist and of course, the juicy, plump butt. And okay, the garment returns organs to their proper place….lady, organs are already in their proper place. I mean, that’s typically how the body works. It usually comes with the organs positioned correctly. What I read when I see that is a non-horrifying way of saying, “It moves your organs around!” Why am I strongly reminded of a constricting female undergarment of yesteryear that served this very purpose?

As for me personally – I got married last November and some how, some way gained 25 pounds! (my husband is such a spoiler) While my husband loves me regardless, and so do I, I wasn’t really pleased with how I suddenly looked in my clothes. After putting on this garment however, INSTANTLY, my body was transformed and I had an amazing figure. I had an instant boost to my self esteem and confidence, not that I suffered from low self esteem and confidence before, because I’ve always love me!

Where to fucking start with this? First of all, the little comment about how much the snooky-pie of a husband spoils her isn’t cute or charming or endearing; it’s gross. If this is true, take responsibility for your own damn body; it’s YOURS. And I feel like this is mildly contradictory: “It boosted my self-esteem, even though I don’t have low self-esteem and didn’t really need that boost, but WOW, what a difference it made!” What? But my main issue with this is something that I’ve complained about before. This is a perfect example of how it’s rarely about the health aspect of life and more about the ‘look perfect’ aspect. Our bodies are not okay the way they are; don’t forget that, women of the world, for society will remind you every chance it gets.

I am absolutley [sic] excited about this product because of the difference it has made in my life, and wanted to share it with your group. It has truly made a difference in my life physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve included a few photos for your review. Please contact me if I can tell you more about this amazing garment and the nutritional products Ardyss International offers.

It bothers me greatly that my involvement in something as great as Happy Bodies is used as the reason why this bullshit is being spewed at me. This is not what Happy Bodies is about. “It has truly made a difference in my life physically, mentally, and emotionally.” That just makes me sad. The fact that our bodies and the way society judges and deems them either acceptable or not has such immense power over so many of us emotionally and mentally; it’s got half the world in a fucking choke-hold. And this message just upsets me more. This person treats it like some miracle for women, because we can look better! You know what would be a fucking miracle for women? A cure for breast cancer. Available and affordable birth control and other pregnancy services. Reproductive rights. The right to choose what is and is not right for your own body. Not feeling trapped inside your body because you hate it so much. Not chasing some goddamn ghost of the ideal image.

This is the fucking body I live in.  If you don’t like it, kiss the fuck off.

Also: FUCK THESE AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED LINKS!

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Filed under Body, Health, Personal

Judging bodies and profiling actors

Finally, finally, I am writing another blog. So what thoughts have I had on my mind lately? My skin itches. Itches are funny things. If you have an itch, you have to scratch. Human skin itches and it’s a little, unpleasant sensation, sometimes intense and sometimes barely noticeable, that basically screams to your brain, “ITCH ME!” It wants y0u to drag your fingernails across it, or something sharp. An itch might be a kind of pain, or it might be a feeling below pain. It doesn’t quite hurt; it just requires action. Living in a human body is a strange experience overall. I’ve always felt as much. Everything reports back to your brain, but it took a long time for us to figure that out; we don’t experience our lives through our brains, but through our senses. I guess we perceive our selves as being localized around our eyeballs. Sight is our primary sense. So where does a blind person perceive themselves as being localized? I like looking into how the lives of the disabled are different from the lives of us – are we really the “abled”? The blind, the deaf, the mute, those with fewer limbs… it’s so fascinating to imagine seeing the world from a different body. I think a lot of movies manage that, giving us a brush with difference. And so, I was just thinking of a few either Oscar-nominated or well-recognized voiceless performances: Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda (1948); Marlee Matlin (who’s actually deaf) in Children of a Lesser God (1986); Holly Hunter in The Piano (1993). Wikipedia reminds me: Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker (1962) and Samantha Morton in Sweet and Lowdown (1999). Which in turn reminds me – I was looking the other day for footage from Deliverance (1919), a movie produced by Helen Keller and based on her life. I didn’t find anything from that movie sadly, and I doubt I will in the near future, but I did find this great video:

I’ve also read about – and would love to see – Werner Herzog’s early documentary Land of Silence and Darkness (1971), which profiles a deaf-blind woman. My point is that film can be a powerful way to experiencing difference. Especially when you’re led through the magic of narrative to identify with a character, and thereby take on their attributes and disabilities to yourself. You recognize your own weaknesses in the protagonist, and you can be led without realizing it to get a deeper understanding of difficulties you’ve never personally had. This connects to what I’ve said about horror movies, too; being led to identify with Frankenstein’s Monster leads you to simultaneously recognize him as being the Other, but since he’s the protagonist, you see in him everything rejected or hated about yourself. It’s an interesting kind of tension in spectatorship that I’d like to investigate further.

I’d like to segue into crystallizing an idea I’ve talked about with Ashley many times. It’s been said before, but I’m going to repeat it. Basically, it’s this: You do not have the right to judge whether someone’s body is good or bad. You never have the right to determine absolutely whether or not someone has a valid, acceptable body. Not you nor your friends nor society nor anyone at all. Because every single human body is just that: a body. (And when a body meet a body coming through the rye…) Some bodies are big, some are small. Some short and some are tall. Some are fat and some are thin; some… well, I can’t sustain a rhyme, but you see what I mean. Some have big noses, others have little noses. Some have light skin, others have dark skin, and others still have dark skin with light parts, or light skin with dark parts. Every culture, every era, and every group of people have their own idea of what constitutes beautiful. I guess when it comes to fashion magazines, beauty changes every other month. (As my father informed in euphemized terms, “Opinions are like assholes; everyone’s got one.”) The point is that no single attribute of a human body is objectively bad. Some bodies are diseased. This is unfortunate, but they still have a body which must be respected as such; all bodies were created equal, because we are not a fucking thing but flesh and bone. (Blood, fibers, keratin, etc., you get the idea.) I think kids should be taught this from an early age. Fucking schoolkids reinforce shallowness and body negativity like every schoolkid before them by taunting for the same goddamn reasons – someone looks funny, or slightly unusual, or has some physical attribute than another kid deems worthy of mockery. I’m all for retaining valuable rites of passage and innocence in childhood, etc., whatever. What is the lesson of, “Ha, ha, you look vaguely different!”? That other people will hate you because of your appearance? FUCK THAT. My time’s running short, but this bullshit has always pissed me off. Shallowness is enforced in every aspect of our society. My point is a basic one, and it’s that my body is just as good as your body. Which is just as good as a model’s body. Which is just as good as the body is a 300 pound woman with one leg. Which is just as good as an athlete’s body. Which is just as good as a dwarf’s body. Which is just as good as mine. Because what the fuck does “good” mean in the end, anyway? An athlete’s body is more capable of running and jumping than mine; I grant this. A model’s body might be smaller than the overweight amputee; how is that a mark of being “better” in general? She might have a number of limbs closer to that which she was born with. But what does that mean? My point is that people who insult or mock those who look different are worthless fucking morons themselves, and it’s nothing against their bodies, but it does show that the minds occupying them are shallow and unable to accurately evaluate other people. I may go more into depth about this later, but that’s the general idea: there are no “good” bodies or “bad” bodies. You decide how good your own body is, and no one else has the right to determine that for you.

Finally, I’ve wanted to write about certain actors recently. And I think I’ll start by talking briefly about Charles Laughton. Laughton is – God, where to start? He was a great actor. Not really a “movie star,” even though he could do Shakespeare and act opposite Clark Gable and Maureen O’Hara, and he carried a number of movies by himself. His single directorial effort, Night of the Hunter, is one of the great films and in a class by itself, a unique, beautiful vision that captures ideas and images no other film has quite managed. When acting, Laughton’s roles varied from cowards and buffoons to great, bloated symbols of power and corruption. He’s magnificent in his last role playing Senator Seab Cooley in Preminger’s Advise and Consent (1962), in which he’s nominally the villain, but really an integral part of America’s two-party system, as the aged southern senator who sits over the rest of the Senate like a tiger batting a mouse around in its paws. I’ve noticed over and over – in Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and The Paradine Case (1947), acting under Wilder and Hitchcock respectively – how Laughton can easily fit himself into any place in the justice system, acting like a chess piece in the machine of jurisprudence, fully aware of the mechanisms operating around him. When Laughton is in control of a situation, he can easily be scary; he was the original Dr. Moreau in The Island of Lost Souls (1932), and you can really imagine him playing God! After all, he was doing it for half his career. Then there’s the matter of Laughton’s appearance.Charles Laughton

He has a fascinating, craggy, offbeat face. Like I said before: no movie-star glamor. He was an actor. He could be likeable, he could be a bastard. This also connects to my points earlier about people trying to put labels of attractiveness on others’ bodies. (Oddly enough.) You can’t do that with Charles Laughton. He was the affable hero of Jean Renoir’s American wartime allegory This Land Is Mine (1943), as well as his next movie, Jules Dassin’s early comedy The Canterville Ghost (1945). He was Rembrandt and King Henry VIII (I want to see both movies). He could be larger-than-life, or he could demonstrate that you didn’t need to be pretty to star in a movie. Also, very appropriately, he starred (again opposite Maureen O’Hara as Esmeralda) in the post-Chaney Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). Oh, and that’s right, he also embodied the extreme decadence of Christianity-oppressing Rome while playing an indulgent, hedonistic Nero in The Sign of the Cross (1932). Sometimes he was excess and measured sadism incarnate; other times he was cuddly and lovable. Charles Laughton is just a great figure in film history, and I really think he fits well with the other ideas I’ve been discussing today. Look into his face. Sometimes maybe you’ll find the grim depths of absolute authority. Other times you’ll see the pain of being different. Another fun fact? Laughton was also homosexual, despite being married to his close friend Elsa Lanchester (aka the Bride of Frankenstein). It really just adds an additional level to what I’ve been discussing here. If you’ve never seen him, check out Hunchback or Witness for the Prosecution whenever they’re available. You will not be disappointed.

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Filed under Body, Cinema, Media