Who does your body belong to?

Lili Radloff thinks it’s ridiculous that we’re expected to offer our bodies on the unforgiving altar of societal pressure.

Last week I “confessed” I don’t remove my body hair. Well gals, apart from the responses I got from you lovely lot (some of you scolded, some of you praised, some of you laughed, but all in good spirit!) the reaction was insanely negative.

Strange men called me “filthy”, “disgusting”, “lazy” and quite a few obscene things that needed to be moderated. Luckily I have a thick skin (perhaps all that orange hair helps! Ha ha ha) so I was puzzled rather than hurt.

Tickled pink actually, as to why complete strangers reacted so violently to something I thought was fairly innocuous and, at the end of the day a completely personal choice.

I thought about this for a while, and read the comments carefully before I came to a rather depressing conclusion: our bodies are not actually as personal as we would like to think, and we have very little choice in how we’re supposed to groom them.

Think about it: We are judged, befriended, paid, promoted, loved and given a place in society by how well we conform. And if we don’t, we are seen as rebellious or difficult or attention-seeking or lazy or odd or stupid and we are constantly rejected in small, insidious ways.

Just ask fat people. Or poor people who wear the “wrong” clothes. Or cancer patients who have to hide their baldness with hats. Or women who wear headscarves. Or those who refuse to wear makeup. Or those with very large or very small breasts. Or really skinny and short men. Or people in wheelchairs.

While I was pondering this, I read that Kanye West wants girlfriend Kim Kardashian to lose 9 kg by going on the – and here I quote – “gruelling diet” that Beyonce followed for Dreamgirls. He has been dressing her up like Barbie for a while now, and he’s decided to make her the It-Girl for his fashion range.

But obviously not as she looks right now. THAT would be insane. Ho-hum. Is this different from the struggle we normal folk face? Of course!

Now I ain’t saying Kim’s a gold digger. But she ain’t messing with no guys who can’t improve her fame, fortune and social standing. Kim is up for doing this – finally she’ll be famous for something else other than a sex-tape and whining on TV – and she’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

So is she being manipulated? No. You know who’s getting manipulated? All those poor sods who’ll try to lose 9kgs to fit into the expensive clothing range,  and who sure as hell won’t be getting paid to do it.

Why do we do this? Is our need for belonging so strong that we’re willing to hand over decisions about our own bodies without even thinking about it?

Giving your body to your lover as a kinky gift for both of you is cool. Treating your body differently when pregnant and breastfeeding because you’re sharing it with someone else is cool. Giving your body over to your trainer because you want to win the Iron Man Triathlon is cool.

But giving your body over to society and its pressures (and making yourself miserable in the process) just because you haven’t really thought about it? That’s pretty lame.

But hey, that’s what I think. Perhaps I’m just in a bad mood. Am I being unfair? Tell me and you can win stuff.

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