The Great Belly: A Yogini’s Lament

 

belly6

Consider the poor belly, zipped up and girded, its protuberance detested. It is the underdog of the body yet hardly anyone comes to its defense – not even yogis. Just google “belly and yoga” and you’ll find hundreds upon hundreds of websites, classes and DVDs all devoted to blasting its fleshy folds to oblivion. Today we desire something called “abs” and getting them is all about cultivating core strength and power, about firing up the third chakra, the seat of our will.

abdiet

And clearly, women are in the greatest need of assistance. We are as naturally endowed in the belly as we are in the breasts and buttocks (perhaps signaling that sex and fat are meant to go together?) And lets face it, an overabundant, jiggling and dimpled belly clearly signifies one thing – our appetites run amok.

It seems pointless to deny that ‘abs’ signify willpower and control while ample girths signify succumbing to the mindless desires of the body. And such wanton behavior has long been one of patriarchy’s chief complaints about women. We are all about the dangerous temptations of the flesh, emotional, primal, we lack discipline.

That’s what bothers me about the images fed to us by the yoga marketing machine. They speak to an ideal of spiritual discipline in which denial is the name of the game. And they take root in an ascetic tradition that spurns the body and the physical world, and female bodies in particular.

The Fall of the Sacred Belly

bellyvenusofWillendorf

I find it telling that the belly, once revered as a symbol of abundance and fertility is today so despised. Early cultures spanning the Neolithic to the Paleolithic produced a continual stream of female figurines, engravings, ceramic designs and paintings all featuring the glory of huge, even gargantuan stomachs.

These images are believed to represent the Great Mother Goddess, and her mountainous belly had little to say about ‘transcendence’ salvation or original sin. In these prehistoric cultures, everything – nature, stars, rocks and human beings were considered sacred. They were part of the body of the Great Mother Goddess who gave life, and she nourished, protected and loved us – without reservation.
bellycatulhyuk

Honouring her was not about seeking salvation for our ‘sins’, it was about celebrating and feeling life – here and now. Sociologists often attribute our prehistoric obsession with fat as signifying ‘plenty’ in a time when food was a precious commodity, but I see something deeper at work. I believe these bellies celebrated woman’s unique capacity not only to take in nature’s bounty – but to revel in it.

According to author Lisa Sarasohn, (The Woman’s Belly Book)  the belly of the Great Mother Goddess signified woman’s miraculous connection to “the force that brings forth, sustains and renews life”. It’s abundant folds signify not only her procreative powers but her capacity to nourish herself, to feel and fulfill her desires. So she asks, is it any wonder from the point of view of a patriarchal authority invested in keeping women under control, that the belly became so subversive?

It’s no secret that women and bodily desires have long been lumped together as evil, and Sarasohn believes that belly hatred is part of a continuing cultural assault that “frames woman’s bodies as objects to control”. And the agenda? To wage war on woman’s deepest source of ‘knowing’ – her belly.

The Mind Body Divide

This war began, according to author Philip Shepherd, with the disposal of the Great Mother Goddess and her belly embracing ways. While the Goddess was all about sacred embodiment it was with the arrival of patriarchal gods approximately two thousand years ago, that the body became defiled.

mindbodysplit

Shepherd’s book New Self, New World: Recovering our Senses in the 21st Century details how, with the rise of patriarchy that the centre of consciousness (the feminine centre of feeling in the belly) began its migration to the masculine isolated, sensation-less, tower of our head. And this is relevant to women who have, throughout written history, been equated with the life of the body.

The body -and women -became dangerous distractions not only to reason, thinking and logic but spiritual purity itself. Because in this new order, a woman’s body is no longer sacred but an impediment to transcendence. God is now officially male, bodiless and ‘out there’ somewhere.

And from this, according to Shepherd springs “ the primary wound of our culture” – the mind/body split. Because while the brain rules thinking and doing, it is the abdomen, the gut that is the center of being. And what we have lost is our connection to that most feminine aspect of being – feeling. This is not a metaphoric claim, but a physiological fact.

Two Brains =War of the Sexes?

braingut.png

Today gastrointestinal research has revealed that we have two brains, one in our head and one in our gut. Far more than a mindless organ of digestion, our belly contains a nervous system so neurologically similar to the brain in both structure and functioning, it is called our second brain.

The walls of our gut contains some 100 million neurons (more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system) and their job is not to think or reason but to “feel”. This second brain is not the seat of conscious thoughts or decision-making, it is charge of something we understand as gut instinct or gut feeling.

So what happens when we view the gut not as a field of intelligence, but as inert matter, run by the thinker in our head? Well according to Shepherd it has left us “locked in the towers of our brains, thinking, planning, analyzing and rationalizing” cut off from nature, from feeling and being itself.

Shepherd suggests the cranial brain is the center of the male aspects of consciousness and the feeling belly brain is the center of female aspects of consciousness. Today it seems normal that the ‘idea filled’ head should rule over the ‘sensation filled’ belly, but Shepherd reminds us that in order to claim our full intelligence, each must find its complement or completion through the other. Yet our head centered viewpoint see’s the belly as something to be overcome, and it still identifies women and their appetites as targets for control.

The 21st Century Belly

The belly is home to our body centered wisdom – our gut knowing, our instinct for self-preservation. So what does it mean to us as women that the life affirming presence of the belly has been replaced by a flat fat-less concave expanse between protruding hip-bones?

I cant help but wonder if there is any connection with belly loathing and the fact that women are main sufferers of eating disorders and gastrointestinal issues? Why are we unable to find nourishment? Woman’s bellies are biologically programmed to be round. Its gentle pad of fat is meant to protect our reproductive organs, and without it our hormones malfunction and we quickly become infertile. Could its absence be one reason why reproductive disorders are rampant?

belly3

Is the lack of joyful jiggling belly one reason why women are the main consumers of antidepressants? Or why teen-age girls cut and maim themselves in ever-growing numbers? Because the psychological diagnosis is that these young women are desperate to ‘feel’ – anything.

Now I know I’m probably going to get a slew of comments –pointing out that too much belly fat is unhealthy, indicating the overproduction of insulin brought on by the dangerous over consumption of sugar and white carbs. And while I fully acknowledge this reality, it doesn’t really address my central concern – our cultures deep-seated discomfort over our bellies. Because as Sarasohn points out, that as women have increasingly began to “ participate in the ‘mans’ world – the belly, the literal and figurative sign of womanly power – became, ideally, invisible.”

That’s why I want to google “belly and yoga” and come up with an entirely new and revolutionary set of links. Ones that tell a story not conforming to patriarchal or ascetic ideals of getting our bellies under control, but of letting it all hang out. Because what is at stake is our ability to nourish ourselves, to thrive, to be joyfully present in the world.

yaksini

I find a viable alternative and visible role model within the less recognized yogic traditions of Tantra. Tantra’s practitioners sought divinity within the body and the roots of its practice trace back to the Mother Goddess worshiping early cultures.Their Goddesses of Nature, of Love, of Earthly Abundance, of Feminine Wisdom are lovingly and meticulously depicted in temple art and statuary spanning centuries.

And their bellies, adorned, bedecked and framed by jewelry, are an erogenous zone all of their own. Rounded and prominent as the jutting breasts and full-some hips and buttocks, they speak not of asceticism or denial, but to the sensual pleasures of life, and of the sacred nature of embodiment.

 

33 Comments Add yours

  1. EcoYogini says:

    i love this post and i agree wholeheartedly.
    i see the connection, though, with the difficulties and struggles women face with body image, disordered eating and continuous rise in self loathing as being directly connected to the media and the prevailing patriarchal culture. (which you allude to in your post- thank you 🙂 ).
    yoga has the unique opportunity to move beyond this- but sadly it’s just so difficult to separate culture, and social influence. Everything we do is shaped by our culture and society, and until we take a step back and honestly value strength regardless of a body-shape ideal, there is too much money to be made from marketing yoga in the dieting industry.
    you can be strong and healthy and still have belly fat. It’s not a causal relationship- we just are made to believe it is…

  2. Amanda Montgomery says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for another incredible piece of writing! One that, coincidentally, is exactly on point with a “rant” I shared with my community of female yoga teachers recently… Why are we perpetuating a culture that seems to be contributing to body dismorphia and an idealized esthetic that is so far from our natural, luscious, curvy and HEALTHY feminine form?? I could go on forever…. We must change the current discourse around BELLY and YOGA – I will gladly help you lead the way!

    1. Ophelia says:

      So women without curves aren’t healthy? It really bothers me when women make these type of “real women have curves” themed comments. Or they say, “women of ALL body types are beautiful”, but what they really mean is their own body types. If you want to be accepted for the way you look, then you in turn must be accepting of the way ALL women look – which includes “skinny women”. Genetics not only partially determines the body types of “curvy” women, but “skinny” women as well. Neither type can help the way they were born. And as far as women who started out bigger and decided to lose weight, there is NOTHING wrong with making a change and deciding to lead a healthier lifestyle through exercising and not eating junk. THAT is honoring the body. Obviously, eating disorders and self-hatred are not, but that’s not what I’m referring to here. Its not only important to love yourself no matter what you look like, its also important to love and respect OTHERS, regardless of the way they look – which includes women whose body type happens to fit the cultural beauty standard. They still deserve respect and NON-JUDGEMENT just as much as anyone else!

  3. Wow– I cannot even tell you how much I liked this post. I have been thinking a lot about similar issues myself recently and I think you hit the nail on the head.

    I do a daily meditation to help with my own digestive issues and I notice that when I am truly relaxed and breathing deeply, my belly puffs up like a balloon with each inhale. This is the exact opposite of what we normally want this part of our body to do, and it is incredibly soothing for my digestive system. I can’t help but wonder if I would have fewer digestive problems if I hadn’t grown up in a society that says this part of a woman’s body needs to be “small” and “tight.” We soak these messages up more than we realize, and I definitely think it affects the way women carry themselves and hold tension in their bodies.

  4. Holly says:

    Thank you so much for this!

    Holly

  5. I think that our present first world culture is obsessed with trying to remain as youthful as possible. The media shines favourably on outside appearances and many women today feel compelled to strive for photo-shopped youthful perfection. Generally the younger the woman, the flatter the belly. This is merely a reflection of what our society values. This will not change unless our values change!

  6. treesa says:

    I wish I could find the article, but a recent study found that insulin overproduction led to bellyfat (and also obesity-related-diseases actually lead to obesity, not the other way around). I really loved this article, it is great to see others critical of the “yoga marketing machine” and preaching body acceptance! rock on! 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for this article! I love that we’re seeing more and more body positive messages out there in the world. ❤ Namaste!

  8. Jennie says:

    I took years of yoga in college and he taught us to relax our bellies and let them go. That keeps the heart healthy.

  9. heather says:

    I am currently 28 weeks pregnant with my third child, and feeling very very round and ripe; a definite departure from my generally slim athletic non-pregnany body… thanks for reminding me with this article that the embodiment that I am radiating now is of the goddess herself! I only have 3 more months to enjoy this (perversely) feminine, delicious form!

    1. Danielle Prohom Olson says:

      lovely!

  10. Jikke says:

    as a full figured woman i decided a few years ago i would no longer regard my body with a set of believes of hate. My body is soft, round and loveable. And reading this, an old idea sprung up. Slender, sporty bodies are only considered beautifull because of the media bombardement, but the soft, round female body envoces a deeper sense of love and sensuality.

    I am looking forward to wearing my bikinis again this summer, and letting my pillow of love bathe in the warmth. and i hope that more women will do so.

    1. Linda Eaves says:

      “I am looking forward to wearing my bikinis again this summer, and letting my pillow of love bathe in the warmth. and i hope that more women will do so.”
      Dear Jikke. I love these words and I hope that more women would do this too. I am a full figured luscious woman who has – no matter how slim I got – always wished her belly would go away. All my life have wanted flat abs and loathed my roundness there. Why?? Because I’m told this is how I am supposed to look. This article has made me want to look at why this is so important to me. Actually I’m beginning to be glad my belly hasn’t listened. I think it’s trying to tell me something.and I’m starting to be open to paying attention.

  11. Lauren says:

    Jason Crandall did a class called “Core TLC” on YogaGlo that’s just incredible. It’s all about softening, expanding, relaxing the belly. I found it deeply healing, and his comments about our “pathological obsession with the ‘core'” really hit home.

  12. Jennifer says:

    This is perfect. A fantastic article.
    Thank you.

  13. Love this! I have been teaching for over 35 years, and am a size 14. I cannot tell you how many women have complimented me on being brave enough to teach yoga at my size.In truth, I have never thought of myself as being “brave” for doing what I love—though there was a time in my early teaching career where I had thought of giving up teaching because I was not longer a slim size 8 after giving birth to 3 children. Over the years, new students have also shared with me how happy they feel, no matter how thin or thick their bodies, to enter a yoga class with so many women, and occasionally men, of varied sizes and shapes. My main focus, aside from the therapeutics of yoga, has always been to teach three things: self-awareness, body acceptance, self-actualization.Always, the body acceptance portion has been the most difficult for students to fully embrace, not matter how thin or flexible they are when first entering my class.
    I recognized the changes coming to yoga many years ago, and felt great concern that the yogic lifestyle would eventually give way to societal dictates, which unfortunately it has. My concern grew so strong that I began to ponder ways to help students become more at ease with their bodies, which ultimately resulted in my decision to begin working with students privately, offering counseling with the assistance of the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, and Buddhist Psychology, all of which I was strongly coached in when I received my teacher training many decades ago–when teacher certification required several years of study.
    Keep up the very much needed good work you are doing. And thank you. I look forward to reading past and future posts. I only just discovered you this morning. Namaste.

    1. Linda Eaves says:

      Your class sounds amazing Alice, and I would love to attend. Do you know of any Seattle WA teachers who share a similar philosophy?

  14. This was so beautiful! I’m very glad you shared it. I’ve often wondered about the connection. Even in belly dancing, many women have more supple bellies. Hearteningly, I’ve come across many men who actually prefer women with softer forms.

  15. TAMARA VODOVOZ says:

    Thank you Danielle for such an eloquent essay on self acceptance and love for our bodies just as they are. I was specially happy to read the important difference you pointed out at the end between the classical yoguic view (yoga of Patanjali) and the view of Tantrik Yoga. It is true that Tantrik yoga is less recognized and sad enough, not well emphasized in many modern Yoga teacher trainings. Specially because it is from the Tantrik traditions of medeval India that modern Yoga stems from. The Tantrik view arose around the years 500 c.e. and flourished with may scriptures about practices and philosophies around the years 1000 c.e. It was a revolutionary view of the world and reality and a path to spiritual liberation that influenced most religions in India around this time (including Budhisim). Why was it so revolutionary? Because it was different from what the early Yogas taught us (Patanjali), mainly trascending our bodies, emotions, thoughts, families, lives, etc, a denial of our human state to achieve some spiritual bodyless state, Tantra was a spiritual path for householders, i.e. you and me, and prety much every modern yoga practitioner. You did not need to renounce your wealth, your family, sit in a cave or become a monk. It challenged the social constructs and norms (for example the cast system in India) and said everyone, everything is equally divine… it is all God. Tantra teaches us to access the divine within our own being, moment to moment, in every aspect of our lives. Tantra teaches us to accept reality just as it is, our bodies, our lives and our situations. To take responsability for ourselves, because no one is to blame, not even ourselves. We are responsable for our inner state and the reactions we have to the outter world. And eventhough we are still working on our path and striving for realization, we are already divine, nothing to fix or repair. We come to practice already as a reflection of a divine aspect, through practice we polish this mirror.

    And yes… our bellies are beautiful and divine. A miracle to behold.

    You can read more about original Tantra in this book:
    Tantra Illuminated by Christopher Wallis

    http://www.amazon.com/Tantra-Illuminated-Hareesh-Wallis/dp/193710401X

  16. Jinjer says:

    May I post a link for this to my blog? It offers meaningful insights I believe my readers would appreciate.

    1. Danielle Prohom Olson says:

      Of course, please share!
      Thank-you.

  17. Ophelia says:

    This is a great article, and I agree completely. The only thing I wish to point out is, while NO ONE should EVER feel self-loathing toward themselves, especially for the way they look, I can’t help but wonder how many people use ideas like this to make it okay for them to continue in an unhealthy lifestyle. Truly honoring your body, regardless of how you look, means eating healthy food and exercising. Not because you hate how you look, but because your body is an incredible thing and works hard for you and deserves your respect. And I’m not saying everyone needs to kill themselves at the gym 6 days a week and live on kale and chia seeds and never indugle in a treat. I’m just saying that whatever your body looks like when you exercise and eat right is going to be beautiful (even if you don’t have “ripped abs) because you will be healthy, and you will feel good, and because THAT is the realest way to respect yourself!

  18. kruidenrek says:

    I love your article. Thank you. It will help me for sure to let my belly be free and help me to deepen the connection with the wisdom within. I feel very strongly with this subject and I truly hope that ideas about how a womans body should look will transform and that we will turn our attention more to what is a healthy, happy and relaxed way of living.
    I would like to share this short and simple example:
    Two situations. 1. belly relaxed with (a bit of) a bump 2. belly tucked firmly in.
    Situation 1: body is relaxed, mind is not.
    Situation 2: body is not relaxed, mind is not relaxed.
    New situation:
    Mind surrenders to the body and becomes relaxed as well. Both can be relaxed and live together in harmony and joy.

    In order to feel healthy and happy (because isn’t that the most important) we should eat well and take care of our bodies. It is clear that you are not advertising people to eat what they want and get fat. But to get a more relaxed image of what a natural, healthy woman’s body looks like (also, and especially after childbirth). And this is NOT the way most celebraties look like, or the models or the fitness woman, or the yoga advertorials and all the other images we get confronted with on every single streetcorner. Woman are round and curvy, we get more fat on certain places and this definitly does not always mean that it is unhealthy or that we are indulgent.

    And the last one, I find the images of skinny woman on yoga adds a little bit dubious sometimes. I mean, off course, you can be really slim and do yoga, but you can have a more “normal” and do yoga as well. But you don’t see a lot pictures of that. Yoga should not be about this commercial thing. Yoga is NOT about being thin and slim etc, it is about finding the path to your own GODNESS, and male or female, in order to do that you need to breathe, and breathe free: with and from the belly. Let all the bellies be free! 🙂

    Again, thank you for writing this article.

  19. Sumora says:

    A wonderful, must read article, not just for yoginis but all women. I am an older yogini, and kundalini yoga teacher. I am dismayed by the photos that abound of young, thin, beautiful yoginis that some would interpret as: older, fatter, not as fit need not apply. All bodies are beautiful when healthy, something we all, men and women, should remember. I am proud of my Venus of Willendorf body and if someone who finds out that I teach yoga or belly dance is disgusted by the fact that I do this as a larger, beautiful woman, then that is their issue and certainly not mine. Thank you again; will be sharing this one!

  20. CognitiveDissonance says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Belly fat, body acceptance, youth and body dismorphia are usually only issues if we allow them to me. Sometimes they need to be an issue and sometimes they don’t. As far as female body fat is concerned it should really be look at in a why that asks 2 questions 1 are you comfortable with it and 2 is it healthy. It is obvious that belly fat comes from sugar/starch etc compounded by blood sugar/insulin and or cortisol the slow release stress hormone. There are also other issues regarding levels of oestrogen and testosterone. Fat around the abdomen is also a sign of fat around the vital organs which are muscles that perform better when they are stronger so you see it is about how much fat is safe. Fat around the hips is to put it bluntly, better. Think big hips, small waist and big fatty mammary glands full of LADY HORMONES 🙂 preferably held upwards by some muscle tone is more sexy to most people and healthier than just a very thin woman with no muscle tone, imbalanced and low hormone levels that is likely to stop some women having periods at a very young age.
    Come on girls spice yourselves up with a pinch of attitude that brings you into a healthier eating zone. There is acceptance and there is not caring. Acceptance is understanding certain things about your genetics that you can’t change and not caring is obviously refusing to look at the issue or saying it’s ok. Some yogini’s I know refuse to believe that their body shape has anything to do with the food we eat but we all need to search for what’s best for us. If you notice you are tired after eating your obviously eating too many high glycemic carbohydrates. If your the yogi who is uncomfortable with how thin you are your probably not eating enough protein. If your a vegetarian you might need to learn about protein complimentation and if your a vegan please try and eat some fats for your brain. The neurotransmitters in your brain are coated with myellin or a medullary sheath as its known.that helps pass the messages throughout your brain and around your body at lightning speed. When these fall away,as they do when we age it causes problems for the brain so try some soy lecithin. Great for you memory from its content of phospatidylserine and great for burning fat from its large amounts choline. So don’t be a ‘oh I just have a balanced diet’, whatever that means? Most likely ‘oh I don’t really care what I eat’. And I don’t care how I look cos some statue centuries back says fat is sexy. Sorry girls voluptuous is sexy and fat is not some don’t get confused. Sorry for hitting hard at the end there I did set out to as diplomatic and helpful as possible. I hope you can take my message as helpful if not for you but for others cos if you are the fat yogini your probably sexy and voluptuous. Love and light to you.all
    Namaste!

  21. CognitiveDissonance says:

    Re-written and editted version
    Hi Everyone,
    Belly fat, body acceptance, youth and body dismorphia are usually only issues if we allow them to be. Sometimes they need to be an issue and sometimes they don’t. As far as female body fat is concerned it should really be look at in a way that asks 2 questions 1 are you comfortable with it? and 2 is it healthy?. It is obvious that belly fat comes from sugar/starch etc compounded by blood sugar/insulin and or cortisol, the slow release stress hormone. There are also other issues regarding levels of oestrogen and testosterone. Fat around the abdomen is also a sign of fat around the vital organs which are muscles that perform better when they are stronger, so you see it is about how much fat is safe? Fat around the hips is, to put it bluntly, better. Think big hips, small waist and big fatty mammary glands full of LADY HORMONES 🙂 preferably held upwards by some muscle tone, is more sexy to most people and healthier than just a very thin woman with no muscle tone, imbalanced and low hormone levels are likely to stop some women having periods at a very young age. A certain amount of fat around the tummy and hips is actually healthier for women of child bearing age. But I kind of fear the fact that there is a message going around that its ok to be fat. It catches on like the ‘just a glass a wine’ thing that’s a real safe and accepted one size fits all for any occasion. There’s the glass of wine because I deserve it, the glass of wine because your feeling sad, the glass of wine because your celebrating this that and the other. So what if you don’t drink wine and its gin or vodka instead? Alarm bells go off quicker and louder don’t they? And how frequent and how much is ok?
    Similarly when we talk about food or body fat, how much is ok? At what age is it ok to be fat or to have “puppy fat”? a good general rule of thumb is that your waist circumference should not be more than half your height. Why? Because research shows you will live longer that is why.
    All this talk of body acceptance. Well there is difference between body acceptance and there is downright not caring. Acceptance is understanding certain things about your genetics that you can’t change and not caring is obviously refusing to look at the issue or saying it’s ok to be fat.So do you wait til you have diabetes before you come to terms that there is a difference? Like refusing to believe your an alcoholic. Most people need something drastic to happen before they stop procrastinating.
    Some yogini’s I know refuse to believe that their body shape has anything to do with the food they eat. We all need to observe what is happening to our bodies when we eat a certain way. The metabolic effect is the most important thing to consider, not the number of calories we eat. Unfortunately many of us have been fooled by this calorie restrictive yoyo dieting merry go round since time immemorial. We all need to search for what’s best for us but if you notice you are tired after eating your obviously eating too many high glycemic carbohydrates. If your the yogi who is uncomfortable with how thin you are, and there are many, your probably not eating enough protein. If your a vegetarian you might need to learn about protein complimentation to make sure you are getting value from protein by eating complete proteins. So that would be a combination of foods that contain the full spectrum of essential amino acids. EAA are the ones your body can’t synthesize so you need to get them through the foods you eat. If your a vegan please try and eat some fats. Fats are good for your brain and they can help you burn off fat. The neurotransmitters in your brain are coated with myellin or a medullary sheath as its known.that helps pass the messages throughout your brain and around your body at lightning speed. When these fall away,as they do when we age it causes problems for the brain, so try some soy lecithin. Great for your memory because of its content of phospatidylserine and great for burning fat from its large amounts choline. So don’t be a ‘oh I just have a balanced diet’, whatever that means? Most likely ‘oh I don’t really care what I eat’ and I don’t care how I look cos some statue centuries back says fat is sexy. Sorry girls voluptuous is sexy and fat is not, so don’t get it confused. Sorry for hitting hard at the end there, I did set out to be as diplomatic and helpful as possible. I hope you can take my message as helpful, if not for yourself but for others. if you are the fat yogini your probably sexy and voluptuous.
    I did notice that the girls in the photos in this article are all young, muscular(toned if you must) and youthful. So again where do you draw line?
    Love and light to you.all
    Namaste!

  22. Zeta says:

    Dear Danielle,
    Interesting article… its very rare that I read a whole article plus comments, but this one that you wrote got my attention.
    One thing I would like to share with you: you talked about how in pre-historic societies people upheld fatness, as a sign of wealth, health, fertility, etc. But it’s not only prehistoric societies! I am American but I live in a small country in West Africa. Here the social norm seems to value fatness. Here it is upheld as a sign of wealth: that you have pleanty of food to eat, the work is not too much, and you are in good health (not sick). When women get married their families judge if their husband is taking good care of their daughter by whether their daughter puts on some weight or not! If she doesn’t they can think that her husband isn’t taking good care of her. (You should see how my mother-in-law tries to feed me when we go to visit! She keeps telling me that if I don’t put some weight on MY parents will say my husband isn’t taking care of me… I don’t know how to explain to her that my mother is of norther European ancestry and the obsession is about ‘keeping your figure’). But another thing I’ve become aware of here is that almost all women here, including fat woman, are very strong. Because of the work women grow up doing, hauling water, washing clothes, etc, and the diet here includes very little junk food – because processed food is very expensive compared to dry beans, grains, etc. So even fatness is different here than in the United States. Well, I don’t know if you will read what I’ve written here but I appreciated your article so I just wanted to share some thoughts.

  23. natisimple says:

    I absolutely loved this post. How well researched and crafted! I feel it’s a particular blessing after a morning in the manosphere…

  24. raeann09 says:

    I love this–I talk about this in classes all the time! Thanks for sharing!

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