Monday, August 18, 2008

Bien dans votre peau

Literally this translates from French to "good in your skin" but it means comfortable with your body. I know, I know, a body post just after I've posted an age post! The French will use this phrase as a put down to Americans because we are notoriously not comfortable in our skin. When I was studying abroad in high school, I found that very often, a French girl would stroll into the room and all heads would turn (and I mean ALL) and it wasn't because she was super thin, or gorgeous, or supermodel-y, it was because she had confidence. All of the girls on exchange wanted to know her secret, but it was not to be, back at home we were teased about our bodies far too often to feel comfortable in them, or to even pretend.

Now we all know that "French Women Don't Get Fat" and I'm sure that may be true to some extent, I've also seen plenty of fat French people. What we here need to take to heart is that bodies should not be ridiculed, they should be revered. Not every body is meant to look like a stick with two enormous balloons attached to it and if we could only educate the children to this, perhaps when they grew up they wouldn't be so cruel as to poke fun at the different bodies they discover. Children are wonderfully malleable, their behavior, how they interact with others, is mostly learned from others, and if parents could make the time and effort to educate them and be tolerant themselves of body issues, perhaps our society could have a bit more confidence.

I'm not advocating morbid obesity or anorexia as a way of life, merely that perfectly healthy-weighted girls and women who are shaped like apples, pears, strawberries, hourglasses, or pretzel sticks should not be laughed at and ridiculed for not conforming to the broomstick/balloon ideal we so often see upheld.

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