Monday, 11 January 2010

it's not about the image

I'm finding the furore surrounding the recent cover of marie claire magazine this last week (which I'm only just catching up with now) absolutely fascinating.

In an effort to raise money for the butterfly foundation which supports Australians with eating disorders, marie claire published a nude cover photo of Jennifer Hawkins. The photo and subsequent article were supposed to help women develop positive body image about themselves, because they would see that even super-models aren't perfect.

There is an article here by Melinda Tankard Reist which summarises many of the issues (without any of the pics!), another here (with the pics) which mentions efforts the government has been making to deal with the issue of body image.

There's been a lot of ink spilt about body image. But it wasn't until I read this article by Lisa Pryor in the SMH that I felt someone was moving in the right direction. She says,
"Perhaps the better way to better mental health among young women is to shift the focus away from the image of the body, negative or otherwise, towards thinking more about the capacities and sensations of the body - achievements through sport; the pleasure of touch; the potential for reproduction; achievements of the mind."
Pryor is pointing out that it's not about the image. But if it isn't about image, what is it about? Pryor makes a list, an interestingly, it's still about the body. This is helpful, but I still don't think it's the whole picture.

In this article in the SMH, Clem Bastow makes a similar point and makes a different list;
"It's imperative that women stop defining ourselves by our body shape. There are simply more important things to worry about - pay issues, maternity leave and sexual violence spring to mind - and better things to celebrate, such as our minds, hearts and work."
Again, these are helpful things to consider. We are more than the way we look; we think, feel and work. But again, I still think it is incomplete.

So, here-forth I am going to continue thinking and writing about what constitutes a healthy concept of self, particularly as a Christian, and how we ought to think about our bodies.

Another series begins... I am really going to need your input if it is ever going to be finished.

1 comment:

Bron said...

I found your comments really interesting, thank you. I shall enjoy reading your subsequent thoughts on this.