Why don’t you love yours?

Alison Channel 4 has a new series called The Sculpture Diaries, in which art critic Waldemar Januszczak is determined to convince us that sculpture is the bee’s knees of art forms. The first episode looked at the female form. He spoke with Alison Lapper, a British artist who was born without arms and shortened legs, the result of a medical condition called phocomelia. A statue of Alison, Alison Lapper Pregnant by Mark Quinn, occupied the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square during 2005-2007.

This is my clumsy attempt to transcribe a part of Alison’s interview that I really loved:

"… So many people, not just women, [say] ‘How can you love your body?’ I’m like, Well, why don’t you love yours?

I found that very sad, that there are so many people out there, because of the media and all the rubbish that gets thrown at us, [thinking] that we should all be like stick insects with lollipop heads. No thank you."

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18 thoughts on “Why don’t you love yours?

  1. Sculpture rocks! And can be remarkably healing. 🙂 One of my goals (when the kids are a bit older) is to take some sculpture classes.

  2. It’s hard, because as much as I try to be happy with my body, I know I don’t compare to a lot of the super-thin celebrities and such that so many guys lust after. I want to be the desirable one for once, dammit ;).

  3. I find it more infuriating than sad. A person who doesn’t love her body because she only sees what it looks like rather than what it can do is like a person who admires a car for the spoiler and trim rther than the engine.

    Also, there’s an annoying lack of gratitude involved. Through no merit of my own, I got a functional, all parts attached body in decent working order. What exactly do I have to whine about? I may not love the job I’ve done on upkeep and maintenance, but that’s a reflection on my character and organizational skills. It has nothing to do with the physical body I’m damn lucky to have.

  4. I’m hoping that an aquarelle class that I’m about to start will help me find some long lost joy and self appreciation. Drawing used to give me just that. I’m thinking that making myself that little bit happier might help making my body a little bit healtier a little bit easier.

  5. Indeed bodies are most important and deserve to be loved. It’s why I don’t clean, I value my skin most of all 😀

  6. I am SOOOO glad you posted this. Wasn’t it an amazing programme?!

    You are totally right; I think Alison’s comments will strike a massive chord.

    Thank you.

    Mrs Lxxxxxx

  7. I think in many ways that self-body-love is an even harder thing to achieve than losing weight, if it goes against everything you’ve learned to believe about yourself, because it’s a deceptively abstract transformation as opposed to a measurably concrete one. How do you measure your progress? How do you keep yourself honest? I don’t think it’s an impossible goal, just damn difficult.

  8. I run a program called uniquely ME! for teenage girls and the whole purpose of it is to teach girls to love themselves the way they are and create healthy self-esteem. Even as an adult I still have some of the insecurities that I had as a teenager and we all need to learn to love ourselves for who we are! “You can change the way you look, or you can change the way the world looks at girls (or women!)!” Why do we judge ourselves based on the 1% of women who look like super models? It makes me sad for every little girl out there who will grow up thinking the way we do, that we must be skinny to be happy…

  9. I’ve never wanted to look like a stick-thin little thing, but I’m glad that I found the drive to lose 2.5 stone and get myself to a much healthier place rather than simply settling for being happy with where I was. I appreciate that it’s a fine line though – the hardest thing to remember was that the media didn’t have the right to make me feel bad, or worse. Ironically now I’m having twins I’m getting rounder by the day, but I’m definitely loving that roundness! 🙂

  10. I think everbody has a bit of ‘self-body-hate’ within then. It’s almost as if we are programmed to never be content with some part of us. Be it the slightly-too-pudgy tummy or the a-tad-too-spotty chin, there is always something that you can find fault about in your appearance, even if others tell you that noone else can see it.

    If I knew how to hit the off switch, then I would, because I am fed up looking in the mirror and hating what I see.

    Comfortable in your own skin? What’s that?

  11. Hello hello Ms S! I know it sounds corny, but I think it helps a great deal when you start working with what you have instead of desiring some ideal that doesn’t even exist. I bet Eva Longoria would sometimes like to be taller, or Kate Moss would like bigger boobs, or Rachel Bilson would like longer legs, or Beyonce smaller thighs, or Sarah J Parker a smaller chin. But generally I think they appreciate and use what they have instead of uselessly pining for a body shape that simply isn’t theirs (yeah yeah, the millions of dollars and free clothes and stylists probably help too 😉

    This is why I think we all fell in love with Mister Gok. It feels so much better once you accept who you are and start wearing things to SUIT YOUR ACTUAL SHAPE rather than beating yourself up over some impossible ideal – one which doesn’t exist for anyone.

  12. I get what everyone is saying and I think I may have a Schizophrenic attitude towards my body. Sometimes I LOVE it, i think i look amazing and everyone else should to. But most people don’t and it makes me want to be thinner, so that I can conform and look the way that is most attractive and desirable in society. I will never be a twig (lets not go crazy here) but even when i get to a size 12, the media these days is calling that ‘Fat’ – are you kidding?!! so i have a love/hate relationship with myself. half the time i love myself, the other time i’m in the gym!!

  13. I am amazed at how many flaws people can find in themselves. We were shopping for jewelry, and the sales gal (and shop owner, I think) had to pull out a smaller ring for me to try on, as I have dainty hands. Somehow she got started on her fat fingers and her chin wattle and baggy eyes and frizzy hair and some whole laundry list of her faults, inspired by a comparison to my hands. Wow. And I really think a lot of women have that laundry list at the ready, and define themselves by it.

    Myself? I try not to make lists. If I think about it, I can rattle off a few things I’d like to change. But really? I’m not doing anything TO change them, so I’m not going to dwell and I’m not even going to name them. If they’re not worth working on, they’re not worth worrying over either, so I should just get on with living and enjoy my life.

  14. I think because I know that my body will never ever be perfect (ie. stretch marks, injuries, etc.) it’s easier to hold back on making unrealistic comparisons. Maybe it’s easier for people like me or Alison Lapper to let go of the perfect image because it’s not an option. You either learn to love yourself as you are or you spend your life in misery.

  15. I remember seeing a documentary on one of the US channels about her… it was facinating to see how she drives around, does the daily things that need to be done… thanks for bringing her to light!