Body Image Booster: Take In Some Culture
Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit to help boost your body image — and kick-start the week on a positive note!
Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!
Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, weights, colors and shades. But sometimes we forget this fact.
Sometimes, we get distracted by our society’s skinny-obsessed ideals, caught up in achieving a certain silhouette we start to believe we need. Sometimes, we forget to treasure our unique, incredible bodies.
“We are not born believing that one body type is inherently better than another,” write therapists Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel in their fantastic book The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care. “Rather, these ideas are shaped by the culture and shaped by the media.”
Matz and Frankel talk about the importance of accepting and celebrating size diversity in order to make peace with our bodies and to live fully. When we celebrate a variety of shapes and sizes, we “can value both [our] uniqueness and the uniqueness of others.”
I love the activity they suggest to kick-start or continue your acceptance. They suggest going to an art museum – personally, one of my fave things!
So when I mean take in some culture, I don’t mean internalizing Western culture’s thin ideal. I mean getting out of your house and taking in the sights of many cultures, old and new.
As author Rosie Molinary writes in another favorite book of mine, Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance:
I first visited a museum on a school field trip, I remember walking through the Columbia Museum of Art (where I would have my wedding reception so many years later), mesmerized by the paintings that showed beauty in so many different manifestations. Museums show the range of what should imprint in our mind’s eye, and they show us possibility.
“…Notice how there isn’t just one standard of beauty in the world of art,” Molinary says.
If you don’t live next to a museum (like me, unfortunately), no problem! Visit your local library and browse through an art book. And to ask yourself these questions, according to Matz and Frankel:
- How do you feel when you look at their beauty?
- Do any of these images reflect your body type?
- How can you use these paintings to sustain your journey toward acceptance?
What does looking at art teach you about body diversity? Who are your favorite artists? Why? What else helps you accept and celebrate body diversity?
Tartakovsky, M. (2011). Body Image Booster: Take In Some Culture. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 28, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2011/08/body-image-booster-take-in-some-culture/