This is the story of the day I decided to start writing positive articles for women. It all started with a bushwalk on an absolute belter of a summer’s daY.
The epiphany happened – in a way which befits ‘aha’ moments of this kind – on top of a mountain.
To be exact, on the mossy emerald summit of the craggy slopes overlooking the hobbitscape that is the spectacular Hartz Mountains in southern Tasmania.
It was here, high on a peak, huddled on a quartz throne carved by the ages, as my eyes soaked up the soul-nourishing view, that I started to get a little bit angry at the furious gale of screeching messages all women know so well.
They’re the messages that are with us constantly: from the time we gleefully unwrap Baby’s first Barbie and our young brains sponge up tween magazine articles on ‘The Tiny Shorts Not Made for Anyone with an actual Butt You Need Now!’ to our adult world where social media ‘fitspiration’ lunges across our news feeds. They’re the messages telling us that booty is in … but so are skinny jeans; Beyoncé is hot but check how fast Miranda has ascended back to Angel-wear post-bub; sculpt those bun-muscles… but mind you don’t look like a bloke now; love yourself, (here ‘reward’ yourself with a cake-pop) but be sure to make that mocha skinny.
I mentally hurled these messages off a nearby precipice that day, and decided… actually, I love my body (bear with me here – this has nothing to do with appearance, quite the opposite).
It happened when – all other thoughts smothered by the summit’s regal silence – I focused on what my body had achieved by clambering 20 sweaty kilometres to relish this vista. I had a sudden clarity about what I went through to get myself here; that my body, through consistent effort to stay fit and strong, had allowed me to slog through slush, scramble over rocks and finally grip slimy rock handles to hoist myself to the peak.
In that moment, I had just a little flash of anger at the stubborn subculture that persists in encouraging put downs of the amazing skin-sealed apparatus that allows us to hug, savour, sense, run, climb, swim, sweat… and maybe even bake babies. My body brought me to this ancient, beautiful place, allowed me share it with someone important to me… then scuttle back down to savour a steaming hot latte in the local town.
It also got me thinking, firstly, of those around us who, for health reasons or due to life challenges cannot enjoy the things human bodies can do, let alone have the luxury of thinking about how they look.
Secondly, imagine the energy, creativity and contribution that could be unleashed by women worldwide from a celebration of the strength, health and functional fitness that allows us to enjoy life, rather than the time-leeching fixation on re-moulding our bodies to fit into the ever-changing demands of anonymous critics.
I decided, that day, to do my part to try and banish the discouragement that stops women celebrating their bodies’ forms and functions. I decided that, every now and again, I would write a piece to put a tiny plug in the noisy gale, allowing even one or two women a moment of quiet to reflect on an alternate view.
Pop culture is fun, fuels discussion and allows us to be creative, be inspired to move and live a healthier more fulfilled life, and connect in more ways than ever before. But it’s important to remember to pick and choose the media messages that resonate with us, and that come from a place of love.
And when certain less constructive voices start to increase in volume, stop, hit your mental mute and start thinking about what your body allows you to do each day.
Now, I’d like to hear from you – what was it that’s help you flip society’s critical perspective on our beautiful female bods?
Enjoy this post? Subscribe below for regular doses of fresh, colourful, inspiring content to your inbox.Subscribe