– “Doctor…I don’t want him to see my belly scars—I undress quickly and plunge in bed.”

Sandra X.  is an old acquaintance of this page already. She’s the brave lady that decided to set up a painter’s atelier in Miami’s Wynwood section and has a boyfriend who’s 20 years younger. However, she can’t help feeling a little ashamed of the small striate that she has in her belly after having had two children, a common anatomical hallmark that post-partum women carry in earnest. Even for a daring lady like herself, who has defied many social conventions, she cannot detach herself completely from the ridiculously perfect image of women’s bodies that social media promotes.

Women have a much more integrated, holistic vision of their own bodies than men usually do. They can scan themselves quickly in the mirror and soon detect “something that’s not quite right.” It could be the color of their hair, the size of one of their breasts, the symmetry of their thighs, etc. As a result, they will try to conceal that supposedly “weak aesthetic feature” and worry about it. The hurried pace of modern life and the oftentimes erratic choice of sexual partners will enable those ladies to avoid the necessary sexual foreplay altogether and jump straight into “the business.”

Institutes like the “Body Positive” in Berkeley, California, have been teaching women for years how to accept their own bodies, defects included, and develop a positive social attitude. We already discussed in our previous article called “The Fat Girl” how the social pressure to conform to a certain idealized, trimmed version of the feminine body, which is a relatively recent enslaving tool of the patriarchal society to keep women at bay, can seriously harm those that don’t conform to it. A cowered, uninformed and diminished  individual is much easier to manipulate for a tyranny’s oppression. The upcoming new film based on Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” is a testimony to that resilient truth.

Dr, Walter Ghedin, a Buenos Aires psychiatrist specializing in Sexology and a dear friend, said: “all the body can be an object of internalized critique and camouflaging. When the malaise progresses, it is impossible to remain open and free to engage in a sexual encounter. The experience of undressing together (a practice that is generally being dropped due to the daily haste), of touching ourselves, of allowing us the time to discover our bodies, becomes a feared event that must be avoided, recruiting the bed sheets and the bedroom darkness as our allies in the conceit.” He claims that our attention becomes fixated “in that thing” and distracts us from enjoying sex. Our anticipated anxiety about our “defect” makes us second guess our partner’s thinking as we feel that he/she/sie shares our obsession and does not speak out in order to avoid hurting us more. Unfortunately avoiding this touchy subject can only prolong the agony for the concerned partner.

What do you want me to say? Even though I have been overweight for many years already, I never gave it too much thinking at the time of sexual arousal…We, men, are definitely less complicated.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

14 thoughts on “Bodily image and self-esteem

  1. Hello dear,

    There will always be something that’s not quite right and concealing our weaknesses with clothes or make-up is a natural reaction so as to feel more confident (as long as low self-esteem is not permanent, which couldn’t be a worse turn-off.) Yes, we’re attracted by other people’s vulnerability but holding your head up high despite hardships is the most productive in the long run…for everybody.

    There’s nothing to be ashamed of, ladies. We are moms and should be proud of our c-section scars, or any other for that matter.
    I’ve learned to love my scars. Somebody told me once they loved me for my imperfections. Isn’t that wonderful?

    Nice day to you. Ciao.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning dear Bo and thanks for this excellent commentary that I am reading while I am sipping my first “mate amargo” of the day. Oh we love you right as you are, imperfections included, my dear. Especially now that you care to open and close your commentaries in such an affectionate yet elegant manner. Where did you learn it?
      Oh…I’m going right now to hide in my trench hole because you will certainly retaliate forcefully. Ha-Ha-Ha. Un baccione. Arrivederci!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good evening Dr. Sahib
    You have really depicted the human relationship in the variety of forms and make us familiar with all the relative merit of knowing others and enjoy life. All this and much more comes out of your experiences with the people you come across and read them thoroughly. A great thing indeed.

    KIND REGARDS
    HARBANS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning and thanks for your nice commentary mio caro Il Chiaro. What a pleasant surprise to wake up, prepare breakfast, sit down at my desk and see your polite words in my humble page, my spiritual friend across the oceans. Pleasant surprise. Without being presumptuous I must admit that after more than 35 years of medical practice where I had to daily interact with people form all walks of life and multiple problems, I became a little adept at “reading” their inner thoughts and feelings. Just like women have been able to do in the hearth due to their higher number of “mirror neurons” in their brains (it’s a subject I am presently developing in my new book about “Emotional frustration”) A big hug. Arrivederci!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. GOOD Morninhg Dr. Sahib.
        Thanks sincerely for your commentary. It would be our gain when we appraise your new creation.

        It is really great feeling to converse with the all rounder who has the felicity of reading the inner feelings of others and then penning the same for the reader for their benefit. A great laurels for a Dr. and a great writer of repute.

        Keep enriching our know-how. My sincere wishes for fructification of your efforts about ‘ EMOTIONAL FRUSTRATION’.

        KIND REGARDS
        HARBANS

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning and thanks for this nice article.
    I think by habit we are our own worst enemy and critic. Most body image and shaming comes from within ourselves. I myself am very guilty of this. If we could learn to accept ourselves for who we are and be proud, life would be different. Unfortunately human nature and the world around us creates an image of the perfect body and we criticize ourselves relentlessly.
    Keep up the good work dear Mario. Ta-ta.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning and thanks for your nice commentary dear u2lovely hearts. Please forgive me but I edited it a little bit since I’m a little old-fashioned and I liked to be greeted properly in the morning ( it’s only 9.45 AM here in Miami). Yes,absolutely. It’s very hard to accept ourselves and we all need a little delusion, a little fantasy. But we have to be careful and not allow people to exploit, let alone demean, our supposed physical handicaps for fun or malice. Thanks for starting to follow me and I will properly read and comment some of your articles in this long Memorial weekend. And please call me Mario.
      Un baccione. Arrivederci!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your bonhomie dear Jamie. Now you know why, no matter how charming I try to be, no mentally sane lady would dare to share her life with moi. Well, what do you want me to say? I was born under the aegis of Scorpio, first week (the worst) and a proud Italian-American to top it all. Ciao!

        Liked by 1 person

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