Apparently some of my writing about giving up beauty sickness for Lent is hitting a nerve.
I have been hearing from women who tell me the concept of beauty sickness describes their experience exactly.
All the attention on the female body.
All the time, effort and energy directed toward looking a certain way.
All the wasted time ... counting calories, restricting food, over-exercising, hating ourselves, not getting in the pool, not going to the party, not really living.
And I wondered if there might be pushback. As I tried to bring to light this issue women struggle with I wondered if some of my readers might think things like:
This isn't spiritual ...
What does God have to do with swimsuits?
Why don't you write about something that has to do with faith?
Men don't care about this.
Friends, we are embodied souls. Our bodies are not somehow separate from who we are. Our souls and our bodies are one cohesive whole.
We can't hate our bodies and love ourselves.
We can't loathe our bodies and be free to love our neighbors.
Men and women have created this monster called "beauty sickness" and it impacts our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our friends, our wives, our co-workers.
And yes, men, it even impacts you.
In fact, if you have not been that interested in these recent posts, perhaps your wife or daughter might be. Could you open up a gentle conversation with them about their experiences with beauty sickness in our culture?
You might learn more about the internal struggles of the women you love than you even thought possible.
Women, I know this topic is hard. Trust me.
But we can and must work together. We can cheer each other on. We can break out of the constant body surveilance that keeps our minds and energy bound up in lesser things.
We can be free.
Now, that's a spiritual thing.