Photo credit: Sparkpeople.com
Your butt is too small… WHAT?
Have you seen the movie, “My Life in Ruins”? It’s about an American woman who loves Greek history and culture and has recently lost her teaching job in Athens. She took a job as a tour guide (that she hates), while applying for and hoping to get another teaching job.
I really enjoyed the movie, not so much because of the plot itself, but because of certain values and quotes expressed throughout it.
One of them is, “Your butt is too small.” Can you believe it?
Now why would that be one of your favorite quotes? you may ask.
Because I am one of the many women in the western world that has fallen prey to the never-ending search for physical perfection.
Are you overweight Staci? No. Do you exercise regularly and eat healthy? Yes. Do others consider you unattractive? No. In fact, most people think I am thin. My in-laws think I am skin and bones. At one point my husband told be that I was becoming ugly because I was losing too much weight.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have an eating disorder, take diuretics or exercise too much. I just strive for the western world’s idea of physical perfection. So what’s wrong with that?
Perfection doesn’t exist.
Unfortunately, the media and fashion industry preach their message and we buy into it. We have been deceived to believe that a supermodel’s body is what is beautiful and ideal. Supermodels need to be taller and slimmer than the average girl(1) and many of them go to extreme measures to ensure that this standard is met. Unhealthy methods to control weight, such as anorexia and bulimia, lead to health issues and possible death(2).
But I would like to get back to, “Your butt is too small”. I’ve always had an unhealthy relationship with my butt. I was chubby as a child and teenager and called fat in school. I even had an ex-boyfriend that would tell me “I love you” in Tagalog, only later to find out that it meant, “you’re fat”. Talk about putting a damper on a girl’s self-esteem.
When I lived in Hong Kong, I went shopping one day for a pair of pants. While looking in one store, the attendant came up to me and said, “These pants are good for you because you have fat legs”. Now, I was already feeling down that day so you can only imagine how I was after that.
Right before moving to Brazil, I was talking with a friend about this fixation for a smaller butt and dissatisfaction with mine. She went on to tell me a story about the late Amy Carmichael, female missionary to India in the late 1800s, early 1900s. She had brown eyes but wanted blue. She would pray and ask God to change her eye colour and was disappointed because it never happened. Later however, she realized that her brown eyes were what helped her gain entrance into India. My friend then said to me, “You see Staci. God has called you to Brazil. Brazilians like bigger butts. You’ve been given one for a purpose.”
The ‘perfect body’ is subjective. The western world values thinness. I was curious to find out what other cultures around the world consider beautiful. The following are some examples from http://www.cosmopolitan.com/hairstyles-beauty/weird-beauty#slide-2 :
- Kayan tribal women in Thailand consider super-long necks beautiful and elegant.
- Karo tribal women in Ethiopia scar themselves because it is sexy.
- Mauritanian women want to be large. Some even send their daughters to camps where they’re forced to eat 15,000 calories a day.
- The Masai tribal women of Kenya value long stretched ear lobes. It is considered beautiful and women will use stones and pieces of elephant tusk to accomplish this.
So you see, beauty is really in the eye of the beholder. I don’t think I will ever reach the western world’s idea of perfection. And if I did, I would have a very unhappy husband.
What are your views on the way the western world views beauty and perfection from a physical standpoint? Are you trapped in this mindset? Or do you come from a different culture that thinks differently? If so, I’d love to hear what your culture considers physically beautiful.
Here is an excellent blog by the talented Miss Hava. She paints actual fashion photos, but with a different perspective. Truly amazing: