Posts Tagged ‘body image’

Natural Nudity on Womens’ Day!

March 9, 2011

"The Three Graces" by Peter Paul Rubens

Celebrate Nudity

Today I write you from a beautiful retreat center on the Northern California coast, a place founded in the 60’s by experimental hippies and psychologists. It’s now one of the most revered centers for the sacred arts and a gorgeous place to be on vacation. One of the main attractions here are the sulfur hot springs, natural hot springs sitting on the edge of a breathtaking view of the pacific ocean. Although many things here have changed since the hippie days, nude bathing and beaches have not. People come here from all over the world to experience this place, many of which have had little exposure to public nudity. Last week, there was a group of CEO’s from a variety of companies, including Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and Google. I watched as many of them, who appeared overly conservative on the outside leave the bathing area with peaceful smiles. I was wondering how their experience with public nudity struck them. I asked a few women (and men too.) They all said that it was weird for a few minutes and then they loved it. They really enjoyed the freedom of not having to cover up who they really are. Beneath the big salaries and suits, they all enjoyed their humanness and didn’t feel objectified exposing their bodies.

On International Womens’ Day

I had a similar experience when I first undressed in public. I was self conscious about my body, but it slipped away within seconds. As a woman, I have an ingrained nervousness about being ‘seen,’ especially without clothes. Although, surprisingly here I don’t feel that way at all. What I find is that while being obviously nude, people are more respectful of each others’ space then while wearing clothes out in the world. Extra attention is paid to not stare and to just be. I recently read some studies about how children exposed to nudity (as confirmed in an earlier post by Dr. Jaelline Jaffe, are actually more comfortable in their bodies and have a healthier body self image than their piers. Nudity in itself is not a big deal. It’s just what we’ve made of it in this country that places so much shame and expectations on ourselves to have a ‘perfect body’ according to the modern media. It seems these expectations are exaggerated for women.

It’s quite comical when you look at it as all bodies really are different. Many years ago, a softer, more voluptuous body was ‘in style.’ Perhaps, we’ll move back to that as time goes on.

So today on International Womens’ Day, consider some things you can do to honor that body you’ve got, however it looks. If being naked for a while inspires how, how about trying it at home? Arrange a naked day for cooking, reading or working at home. Maybe set up a naked photo shoot to highlight and embrace your body. You could even spend some time in front of a mirror seeing yourself, honoring the “imperfections.” If I have learned anything from being here about naked people, it’s that there are a bajillion ways a body can look. And I’ve rarely seen anyone match a magazine or a billboard.


How to Talk to Your Tween About Puberty

November 12, 2010

Talking to your tween about puberty may not seem easy,

I honestly can’t remember the conversation my mom and I had about puberty other than a big hug and a congratulations when I started my first period. Unfortunately, it was gross to me, a hideous thought. Besides my mother’s excitement that day, all I heard was that whatever was happening was inconvenient, something to just be dealt with so I could just go on with other things. I had no idea that being able to have a period each month and cleanse the body in this way was a gift that only us, women, could experience. She awkwardly told to grab a tampon, look in a mirror, read the instructions on the box and make sure I didn’t lose the applicator. I don’t even think she referred to my vagina as a word at the time. She simply gestured to the area, sent me on my way, the later asked how it went. I so didn’t want to answer that. Cut to a few years ago and the pendulum has swung drastically toward the the ‘too much information’ side of the spectrum. With the growth of peeka-bu, my mom has become a pro at talking about vaginas, vulvas and personal shaving to just about anyone. At the first peeka-bu trade show, she was doing a ‘cherades-esque’ demo of body grooming for some buyers with the mannequin in front of the toilet seat hanging on the wall in our booth.

but the sooner the ‘sexier’ says the experts.

That aside, most moms are looking for a happy medium between not enough and too much. The key is to start early. Taking the opportunity to empower your daughter about her body when she is young can help her become more comfortable with herself before her body changes, thus overcoming the fears around puberty a lot easier. Dr. Lissa Rankin M.D, founder of and author of “What’s Up Down There” wrote a brilliant post about this very subject with some very helpful tips. She recommends the peeka-bu mirror as a way to help tweens get to know their bodies.

<a href=" a>”>Click here for the article.

I had the privilege to interview Dr. Jaeline Jaffe, Ph.D, a brilliant family therapist who has done extensive research on the subject of ‘down there.’ She gives some more useful tips on how to talk ot your child and at the same time overcome your own discomfort on the subject. Taking the right approach can help her make healthier and more self honoring decisions down the line. Please watch this video for the full interview. She also reveals a very entertaining personal story about her own experience with her daughter. Go Dr. Jaffe!

I hope you find this useful and pass it on to your friends.

Enjoy your weekend,