It recently came to my attention that last Wednesday was Love Your Body Day. I am not sure exactly how or if this was publicized (I found out about it this weekend from a friend), but I have no doubts that its creators meant well. Judging from the promotional website, this was a campaign aimed at women (though I’d argue men have body issues too) in order to get them to take a special day to love and appreciate their bodies.
In theory, I think this is a wonderful idea. The majority of women and men (myself included) constantly fault and punish their bodies, focusing on weight and appearance rather than being thankful for their health and the multitude of things our bodies do for us daily. In today’s appearance propelled culture, body image is at an all time low. You know our society is in trouble when it is not uncommon for children under 10 to feel the need to diet. Obviously, all this self hatred/criticism needs to be addressed, and I imagine that was a part of the “love your body day” campaigns goal. Kudos to them, it’s about time we addressed this important issue on a large scale. This is just as prevalent a problem as the rise of obesity (if not more so).
Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all just decide to love our bodies and be done with it. Like “no TV week,” it would be so easy to just flip a switch for a week or a day and be able to experience the difference. The problem here, is that unlike a TV set, there is no switch that flips easily from self hatred to self acceptance. Loving ones body is a process that takes years for some, and is endless for others. I know I am constantly critiquing, comparing and feeling unsure about my own body, and it would take much more than a day to move me over into the world of body love. I don’t think it is too far a leap to say that this is the reality of most women (and men) out there.
I think a better day might be “Be Good to Your Body” day. A day where we could take the time to pamper and reward our bodies for all they do for us daily. A day to abstain from dieting, constant working out or belittling comments, and instead thank our bodies for getting us through the day. This would be a far more feasible task than simply “loving” our bodies. It has taken many of us years to develop an ideal body to lust after and hold up in our minds as perfect, and it will take just as long for us to rip that down and accept the body we were given. Loving your body may sound simple, but in reality it is anything but.