Liking the body you have

Dominique Browning wrote a piece in the last weekend’s New York Times
(http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/fashion/im-too-old-for-this.html?emc=eta1) that captures something we mothers, psychotherapists, older women, would like so much to be able to impress upon our daughters and other younger women. It is the perspective that comes with age, that their young bodies are beautiful, as they are, and that they should celebrate their youthful vibrant appearance just the way it is. That no one looks in reality like a plastic-molded barbie with no soft spot. That their faces, necks, toes, all the small details in which they manage to find flaw and focus on, are fine as they are, and that it is not worth spending all that anguished mental energy on self criticism and insecurity. We wish we could impart that attitude, let them feel how they look from our perspective. Let them know how our own younger versions, captured in photographs, look so much better to us from our current perspective than we felt at the time, and how the same is going to be true for them. However,  I remember my own parents telling me exactly the same, and somehow, despite all the changes in gender roles, sexism, equality, not much has changed
to make it easier for young women to feel better about themselves. Perhaps the problem is that talking is not sufficient, and older women’s wisdom needs to be transplanted into younger women’s minds more directly. Perhaps what we need is a new technology for that!

Irit Felsen

 

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