Bodies have been on my mind lately.
I’m still thinking about Coates book The Difference Between the World and Me. In a letter to his son, he talks about the great shame of this nation, that it was built on the backs of black bodies — and that the building continues today. Given the current prison industrial complex, and the sacrifices exemplified in the Flint water crisis, and the number of black boys killed by police, it’s hard to say that he’s wrong.
And I don’t know what to do about it.
Of course, one of the most famous bodies in the world is that of Barbie. A recent Time magazine cover asks, “Can We Stop Talking About My Body Now?” and the short answer of course is, No. No we can’t apparently.
Ultimately, though, it’s not the way we talk about Barbie’s body that is the problem though: it’s the way we talk about women’s bodies in general that is the problem.
It’s about how women talk about their own bodies.
It’s about how we talk about our daughter’s bodies.
It’s the way other people, especially men, talk about women’s bodies.
We have a problem — again, possibly very specific to this nation — about treating women’s bodies like objects, like there aren’t people living inside of them. We can’t seem to stop judging the shapes and sizes and functions of these bodies — our bodies! — as if the size, and shape, and function of these bodies are the end-all-be-all of personhood.
Instead of constructing conversations about strength and health and joy. I am trying to do this with my own daughters, my own children, but man, it’s hard. I’m fighting an uphill battle against dress codes and a shallow lifestyle media and people who talk about dessert as if it’s a crime.
Which of course brings me to the CDC guidelines on women and alcohol, and leads me down a path to nearly incoherent rage.
The choice of whether or not to drink alcohol and how much should be left up to each individual woman. For no reason. For any reason.
The idea that a woman has to over think — or think at all — about her alcohol consumption misses the point.
I mean, sure, if you’ve had difficulty conceiving, and your healthcare provider suggests that cutting back on how many drinks you have in a week, it’s probably worth a try.
But to put out a blanket statement that young women who are not on birth control shouldn’t drink or drink very much is just… just unfreakingbelievable.
If you believe the helpful infographic they released to clarify the statement… well, alcohol is responsible for miscarriages, stillbirths, violence, STDs, and unplanned pregnancies.
Wait a… that’s not how that works! To paraphrase this writer, they are missing a step. You should read her article. I can’t write about this without descending into blithering anger. Women aren’t children. We aren’t incubators.
We aren’t just bodies.
We are people.