Am I a Playboy Bunny?
Yesterday, I was referred to as "a playboy bunny, a hole for men," in response to the photo below (taken by Scott Belding - it has become the foundational aesthetic for Her Mystery School). The email conversation went like this:
Her:It is insulting to women that we are told what our bodies should look like- because NONE of us measure up to the image shoved down our throats. SO this image below- it is toxic. It is woman as playboy bunny, hole for men. Just saying. Why put forth an image like that in any attempt to empower women? Please put forward images of real women, real sizes, diverse woman, that image below actually on the whole hurts us, our daughters, our sisters and our mothers. Not to mention what it does to boys and men. Peace to you.
Me: Hi. Well, having gone through massive journeys with insecurity and body image myself, I can hear you. That woman, the one you call " playboy bunny, hole for men," is me.
I was terrified to have my photos taken because I couldn't imagine them coming out beautiful. More to the point, in order to not have to pay for art or license it, I chose to have it created of myself. For me, this image captures the sensuality and subtlety of A female form that is anonymous but archetypal, elegant and natural. I experience it as a very healing antidote to the usual over sexualized portrayals of female embodiment.
In my time in circles of women, particularly tantric dance circles, I have been gifted the opportunity to witness women of all ages, sizes, shapes, you name it. And every single one of them divine and stunning.
The images I use are of me because this is my work and my voice as well. I'm beautiful in my way. Believing that requires a choice every day, and it's not always possible. I wish I could see you because I can tell you right now I would celebrate and see every nuance of beauty that you are.
Her: OMG that is you? LOL no way?? you look like a model- Raquel Welch or something. thank you for your response, what trip this life/experience is. I am trying to think what the lesson in this is for me :) I am never the type to shoot out a message like that and WOW. It surely is related to my current struggles with body acceptance and giving up the whole"I am not beautiful enough" trip, although I am beautiful physically just not in the popular weight range.
I am sincerely so sorry if I Hurt or offended you, making that comment about the body in the image, your body!!! At first I wished I looked like that and then I thought- Hail No- this woman who sent that email is in trouble and I am going to let her know right now!!! Never in a million years thinking the image had a heart and soul.
What a bad mistake I made- but I wonder If it means I need to love the sizes that are traditionally considered beautiful in our culture, as well as larger sizes. In a way trying to love myself 25 pounds overweight included rejecting what I could not be, what I could not diet down to, a slim body. Yikes, I don't want to do that at all. Thank you for showing me yourself, your thoughts, your response. I feel honored.
May you be blessed to love your body exactly as it is
Me:I feel like we're sister-friends now!! I totally get it. Thank you for your blessing, and may it be returned a thousand thousand fold.
Her: Thank you my precious sister.
Now. That's a conversation that could have gone a lot of different ways, very few of them ending up in a sincere and unexpected alliance. This is what's underneath of the dynamic that I think people like to call "woman-to-woman misogyny" or whatever else. The true heart of Womankind wants to love Herself, in all her forms. I just learned so much from this amazing woman. She became a balm and a source of strength, humility, and honesty for me. We can turn this tide, my friends - we're made for it.