The Good Body
Author: Eve Ensler
[if you read nothing else...read the conversation between Leah and Eve under the memorable section...so good]
I am on an Eve Ensler kick these days...I checked this one out from the library and it was finished instantly. I stayed up late. I woke up early. I read during lunch. It is short, with lots of breathing room, but captivating. Mostly I wish I had bought it so my trusty highlighter could have painted its pages.
Every woman has that one part of her body that takes up far too much emotional time and attention. It is where all her anger and self-hatred is pointed. It becomes the reason for all of her pain, and heartache, and lack of success. It is the measure of "perfection." For Eve, that body part is her stomach.
Eve seems to like to make her points by using her own story and mixing it with the real and funny and transparent stories of others like herself. She tells the story of the author and pioneering editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine who is 80+ years old, does one hundred sit-ups twice a day and believes that ninety pounds is only on the way to beautiful. She talks to Bernice and tells us her story. Bernice is an African American Teenager who was sent to fat camp. She loves buffets and going chunky-dunking in the pool. She thinks she looks beautiful "all round and moundy" in the moonlight. Carmen is Puerto Rican and from Brooklyn. For Puerto Ricans, it is the spread they dread. "If you get the spread, you're dead." Tiffany is a model and a completely new woman...literally. She is her plastic surgeon's life project and life partner. She eats ice cream to keep him occupied. My favorite woman that Eve talked to was Leah...the seventy-four-year-old African Masai woman...
This is what Leah had to say...
Leah: Do I like my body? Do I like my body? My body. My body. I love my body. God made this body. God gave me this body. My body. My body. Oh goodness, I love my body. My fingers, look at my fingers. I love my fingernails, little crescent moons. My hands, my hands, the way they flutter in the air and fall, they lead right up to my arms–so strong–they carry things along–I love my arms–and my legs, my legs are long, so long, Masai people, we are tall, I get there fast, my legs can wrap around a man and hold him there. My breasts...My breasts, well look at them, they're mine, my breasts are round and full and fine.
Eve: Leah, wait, I don't know how to do this. I want to feel like you. I want to love my body and stop hating my stomach.
Leah: What's wrong with it?
Eve: It's round. It used to be flat.
Leah: It's your stomach. It's meant to be seen. Eve, look at that tree? Do you see that tree? Now look at that tree. (Points to another tree) Do you like that tree? Do you hate that tree 'cause it doesn't look like that tree? Do you say that tree isn't pretty 'cause it doesn't look like that tree? We're all trees. You're a tree. I'm a tree. You've got to love your body, Eve. You've got to love your tree. Love your tree.
Love your tree!
I think this is a powerful book for woman to digest. I am not sure it would be as meaningful to the man species. Perhaps if the man had a woman in his life that was obsessing about one part of her body....maybe for the hope of understanding he might want to read through this book.