I hope this works….

If you don't experiment, you don't learn.

poetry and body images

A few years ago i wrote a rap-poem.  I have a friend who is a comedienne and she supplied the opening line which is, “If I wanted to make mountains out of molehills…..I would have had the surgery by now.”  Her name is Sara B. Sirius and she will be here all week…..

The poem is as follows.

Dear Ms. Fashion Fairy,

I quit. I’m not trying or buying into your arbitrary codes and modes of thinking.  Unblinking, I will look at myself, not put myself on your perfectionist shelves.  Let me explain myself, my plain jane face and body….. my straight-ness.  Ya see, I  am the kind of woman a man looks at….in the face.  No saving graces bounce and trounce the male mind and eye.  My forays into the departmental elements end up in a send up of the “Wish it were true” body fashion image.  My bra’s bear names like “Barely There” and “Featherweight.”  …..Obviously, I am still in training, been maintaining that budding figure for 40 years.

See, I like to hike and poet in wild tribal attire. Dragons and slogans are more my style.  Pink?….. sinks my spirit and all those feminine curves miss the corner on my straight frame. But try and tell that to an industry whose industry is busy portraying false body images. Don’t you know that all a woman has to show are flat abs and thin thighs, that dancing on a narrow fashion plate is du’rigour for the vigorous well thought out woman?

Their fickle fashions trashes the honest shape and their solution is to push you into a padded push-up bra. Wearing those well-rounded perfectionist things means I trip and skip over my own body, bumping boobs like I’m a stranger to myself.  Padding through narrow aisles, past racks of underwire torture devices–– I decide to buy duct tape.  The last time I attempted such under-attire, the wires broke and poked in unusual places.  An art gallery!  There I was making Picasso faces among still lifes with vases trying to save my ribcage from serious damage.

So, let me break it down for you Ms. Fashion Fairy –—— go screw yourself –

I refuse to be fused into what an image-obsessed business is trying to forge on mass-market masses.  I don’t need or seek approval from what some dumbed-down, over-sexed fashion factory tries to tell me what to wear.  I swear we don’t need ten-year-old girls getting in a swirl of jeans that says “Juicy” on their behinds, all the while crying about rising child molestation statistics.  We should be going ballistic on this, not implicitly buying into this lie.

So stay away from what some candy-coated spandex think tank is trying to sink you into.

Don’t let fashions fragment you further into freaky foxed-out boxes.

Don’t be a slave to that which spews forth tricky impossible images of physical perfection.

All y’awl, even the guys,  make your own choices.  Better yet, buy a sewing machine and start ……. a rebellion.


I suppose I should explain myself a bit.  I was the only daughter of a Forest Ranger. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. I had two younger brothers and all the kids on the Ranger Stations were boys. We had no TV, no outside influence. My mom was something of a tomboy herself. I was always climbing trees and hiking, playing in the woods and my playmates were boys. My parents allowed me to date when I turned 16…..Only no boys stepped forward to play the romantic role, they were too busy being friends.   With  two exceptions, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I realized women could be funny. I had grown up around boys and just figured I was one of them. I absorbed their ideas and idealizations and jokes about women.  I thought all girls talked about was make-up, clothes and kids. I did not want to hang around with them.

So what does this have to do with the poem?

One of the reasons I was able to hang with the boys so much was because I did not have those curves, I was not beautiful, I was what Lucy Van Pelt of Charlie Brown comic fame called a “Raving Cutie”…:) I was always being mistaken for a guy, even in college. When I went skiing and got on the chairlift with strangers, you could always tell the moment the guy figured out I was a girl.  Talk about awkward moments….

What I think this did was to free me from a lot of the “things girls do” ideology. I didn’t learn to manipulate, I didn’t like frilly pink stuff, I hated romance novels, I pretty much got along with everybody, catty remarks went right over my head. Now, I am not saying that all women do/like things like that, I am saying that kind of behavior was the expectation of the boys around me. They didn’t treat me like a girl and I didn’t act like one in their eyes because, (I think), I didn’t look like a real girl, one they would date. All a matter of perception and expectancy.

About a decade ago I was with a friend of mine who is beautiful. (Yes, I finally grew up and am happy to say I have a lot of  female friends.)  She has generous curves, gorgeous eyes, very intelligent, and a lot of fun to be with. One of the perks of being with her is watching how she affects the men around her. Taxi drivers take us places for half price, men give her things all the time, she could be trying to steal something and they wouldn’t stop her, they would help her…. All because of her shape.  She elicits something in them and they are always trying to impress her.  Sometimes they are very stupid and sometimes they are very funny. All of which is to say, nothing like that has ever happened to me.  I get doors opened for me all the time, but that is about it.  Am I jealous? Maybe. It sounds like it, doesn’t it…. but you know? I like being me.  I like having guys treat me like a person and not trying to impress me. I like knowing that I have guy friends who like me for who I am, not what I look like. And I dislike the fashion industry for saying that kind of thinking is wrong.



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