The Body Confidence Project
What Job Does Your Body Do In Your Life?
A question for you:
Beyond the basic biology of keeping you alive and healthy, what job does your body do in your life?
Take a moment now to think about this.
I guarantee that if you have ever considered this seemingly odd question, you will be in a minority.
Culture has been handing down a cookie cutter answer to this question since the middle of the 20th century, when dieting started to become increasingly popular.
That answer is:
The job your body does to measure how acceptable you are in the eyes of society
This thinking surfaces as:
If I can only lose five pounds, I will be happy
I’ll never meet anyone unless I shape up
I absolutely have to drop .... dress sizes in order to look good on my wedding day
It is bad enough that your body should have to be the measure of how acceptable you are.
But it gets worse. The standards for what is an acceptable body shape, according to mainstream culture, are harsh and unrealistic. The pinnacle of this is the Vogue covergirl, whose body ressembles nothing so much as a 12-year-old boy.
Some women are naturally slight and tomboyish. That is their body type and they should celebrate that.
However, most women have bodies with curves: breasts and bums and tums.
Can you see how taking a body type that negates our natural curves and making it THE gold standard for what all women should aspire to, how that is at best stupidly unrealistic and at worst a subtle form of misogyny?
What better way to keep women disempowered than to get them to buy into a toxic cultural norm that tells them their self worth hinges on trying to take up less space?
Are you thinking: I get it, Harriet. I wish Vogue was full of well, fuller-bodied women. I wish I could see my own body as beautiful. But I can’t. I cannot change my concept of beauty.
And my answer to that is: yes you can. The practical exercises in this Rumspringa are designed to do exactly that. All I am doing right now is to get you to alienate yourself a bit from what has always felt natural: seeing your body as a measure of acceptability.
It has only felt natural because it was drummed into you at an age when you were too young to know better. Then you grew up in a culture that perpetuates this toxic nonsense. And now you are surrounded by people to still buy into it - literally. The dieting industries are worth £2 billion and $64 billion in the UK and US respectively.
What is Cavebrain’s Answer?
Things get interesting if we ask Cavebrain what the function of your body is in your life.
The function of your body in your life is to ensure your survival. That is why I have gifted you with this instinctive stress response, AKA fight or flight. Any sign of threat and you get a fast internal does of adrenalin and cortisol. The rest of the time you switch to the relaxation response. This is where all maintenance, rest and repair happens.
Now here’s the thing:
Mainstream culture’s definition of the cultural job of our bodies (measuring how acceptable you are) is in direct conflict with Cavebrain’s function (keeping you alive). The conflict arises because trying to measure your acceptability against the Vogue covergirl standard is going to put you into stress response (so Cavebrain believes your place in the tribe is at risk).
You then end up in low level chronic stress, which is the state most people live in.
This means Cavebrain will put you into automatic stress response most of the time.
...Which means that it is harder to achieve that Vogue covergirl body because in the stress response we burn calories less efficiently
When your neo-cortex (modern brain) comes into conflict with Cavebrain (your survival HQ), guess which one wins?
Why, Cavebrain of course.
You will be glad to hear that The Body Confidence Project is designed around Cavebrain. It takes it into account.
And Your Answer Is..?
So, what is the actual answer to that question?
Just what is the function of our bodies in our lives?
I am still working on that but at present my answer is:
to help me feel resilient
to help me feel pleasure
to be able to switch more easily from the stress response to the relaxation response
Why not journal your thoughts on this question?