My Body Glorifies God
“You’re built for speed,” my husband said the other day, when we were joking about my small figure.
And while I laughed with him and thought it was endearing, it’s a sore spot for me as a woman who is on the fringe of the bell curve. In the area of bra cup size, most women just want to be average. Even some of my larger breasted co-bloggers don’t want to be a AA, they want to be a B or C, just like I want to be. And of course there are plastic surgeons who make a living (and a pretty good one at that) off of helping women like me realize our dreams of having average-sized breasts (never-mind the 40 things that could go wrong when you initial the surgery consent forms). And they’re doing well: from my research, 5-10 million women have had breast augmentation. It’s a pretty common and relatively inexpensive way to fix the problem of a small bust.
But the feminist in me really struggles with the idea of surgically altering my shape to fit the norm, even if I think I have legitimate reasons for it. It’s just not necessary. There are much bigger problems in the world. My money could be much better spent (and I shouldn’t have repainted my bedroom, etc). I don’t want to perpetuate the idea that women should look a certain way to be attractive, that their bodies are for men’s viewing pleasure, or that we should look like women on TV or in magazines.
The modesty conversation comes into play here. Amelia recently tweeted a post that was very much in line with her earlier post about modesty (read it if you haven’t already). Most of it was similar to what Amy said, but this part caught me by surprise partly because the language is so different from what we use in Mormonism, but partly because I’m not sure I believe it.
“. . . women’s bodies glorify God. Dare I say that a woman’s breasts, hips, bottom, and lips all proclaim the glory of the Lord! ”
WHAT? My body (even the parts I’m not fond of) glorifies God? What does that even mean? Does this bypass pleasing men? Do we please God in the same way? Isn’t that kind of gross?
Honestly, it took me a long time to digest what she said and it comes close to this idea that I didn’t really understand until I was married. Men have a (mostly) relaxed relationship with their bodies. Of course there are attributes they don’t like, and some men are pretty vain about their looks, but men I know just accept that their body parts “are.” They just exist. I remember hearing boys joke about penises in a way that women would NEVER joke about their sexual bits. For women, they seemed to carry too much weight of shame. In the book, “When Everything Changed” Gail Collins mentions a meeting where a group of women in the 1970’s ended up discussing breasts and EVERY woman complained about why she didn’t like hers (too big, too small, too perky, too saggy, etc). No one was happy with her breasts. Isn’t that a problem? Women seem to feel their bodies are not good enough when, from what I can tell, men aren’t even thinking about feeling good enough.
So, what to do?
I’m starting to think that there’s something to this idea that our bodies honor God, much like the beautiful tree I have in my front yard. It just stands there, with long skinny branches, growing leaves and dropping them. The roots dig deeper and it gets taller. It’s doing it’s thing and in the process honoring God. Can I accept that my body- the one that conceived, carried, gave birth, and breastfed three beautiful children is the same? If that’s not honoring God, I don’t know what is. And if that’s not good enough, I don’t know what is.
*The photo above is my three children several years ago. When my oldest (age 5 at the time) looked at it, he said, “Aren’t we glorious?”