I intended to write a long post about body image, about this video and other body-empowering ideas that have come my way, about getting naked, and about why many of us
But mostly I'm struggling with my body and how I feel about it. And that's the lens through which I saw the film.
I can imagine many women will feel empowered by Shine. Empowered to do what, I'm not sure. Feel better about themselves? Feel more normal in their bodies? Think about their bodies as art? Dare to get naked for a reason other than sex or taking a shower? The film has everything necessary for empowerment, right? Music, soft lighting, pretty voices, smiles, a great message.
So why don't I feel empowered? I don't feel any different about my body after watching the film -- much as I enjoyed it -- than I did before. One reason is that all of those women appear to be under 30. I asked the filmmakers about that, and they responded, As far as older women's representation, we totally agree. We feel the same way which is why [we] sought to cast women of all ages for this project. We were looking for the most diverse group we could find, but for some reason only younger women felt called to participate. We talk a lot about society's under-representation and youth obsessed culture in our feature length film, The Goddess Project, which we plan to have finished by 2015. We would LOVE to see more media that showcases this, and hope in the future to create more films that share this message!
So I didn't imagine it. Of course I didn't imagine it.
A friend on Facebook wrote: "Not sure it's really about being naked...but about a willingness to take a huge risk and doing so with others who are risking the same and the power in numbers (no matter how small.) THAT is what I think is truly empowering no matter what we wear (or NOT wear)."
I don't disagree with her about the power of numbers and taking a risk together. But I do think it's about being naked. I think it's about being naked and knowing our bodies -- no, my body is not acceptable when it's naked. Nobody could make a beautiful, empowering film about my naked body.
I don't think my reaction is the one Holli and Sara were going for. Or maybe they're too smart to be married to expectations when it comes to their work. I hope so.
As my mother has told me so often, I think too much. I'm doing it now. I truly feel joyful that those 10 women shared such an uplifting experience. I smiled the entire time I watched it, every time I watched it. It's beautiful, and I hope those 10 women get a lot of mileage out of that experience. I'm grateful they were willing to share so deeply of their experience.
So first I enjoyed it, and then the thinking started, because I needed to write something, and right now, naked bike rides and topless book clubs (that's another post) and films about young women stripping down and allowing their bodies to become art .... none of that has anything to do with me. I'm not doing that. And nobody wants to see me do that.
And let me stop right here and say I know it's not about exhibitionism, other people seeing and wanting to post photos on Instagram. Or mostly it's not. I'm not an exhibitionist.
No, it's about the horrible, hurtful, cruel comments people make about women's normal bodies if they aren't young and slim and smooth, and how those voices have become the voice in my head. Maybe in your head too.
My word for 2014 is "unpack," and I expected to unpack some body issues this year. I've had
So I'm grateful that Sara and Holli sent me the link to Shine, and encouraged me to experience and examine my own reaction to the film. OK, they really wanted me to review it, but I had to make it all about me. Bloggers. What are you going to do? Like I said in yesterday's post, this topic has been coming at me from several directions recently, so I know I've got some unpacking to do.
I hope the 10 women in Shine carry the experience with them as a shield against the many messages women receive and swallow about our bodies. And I hope the film encourages more women -- women of all ages and body types and abilities -- to find the beauty in their bodies too.