During the holiday season I think we can all come to an agreement that, no matter what cultural affiliation you identify with, there will be more food in your home than during the odd summer month. Maybe it’s the cold weather that beckons for soup, roasts and homemade gravy, or perhaps it’s the gathering of friends and family who treasure sacred recipes that always seem to be prepared when they visit. Whatever the reason may be, it’s common knowledge that it can be hard not to gain a few pounds throughout this season of temptation.
After pondering my own feelings of guilt and glutton, I was drawn towards reading the mythological tales of Aphrodite, the Olympian Goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and protection. What a gal!
She is portrayed in Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, as having a soft belly, one like that of older fertility goddess’, having small breasts, full hips and golden-red hair. The female body has been an admirable subject for artists and visionaries alike for centuries. This was a delightful article to read, as I myself can identify with some of those features. Features that are often neglected by American pop culture as beautiful, desirable or pleasurable in the eyes of others.
Throughout the holiday season, advertisements and reflections of a capitalistic America run rampant among us. Images of new clothing trends, expensive jewelry, lavish houses, costly gatherings and beautiful women flood our television screens and shop windows. My qualm with this normative social influence is that so many women have shaped their own ideas of self worth and beauty on the preposterous ideals of others. We are all humans, uniquely crafted by culture, personality, and class. How could we fall for the trick that we are all the same? If Aphrodite had small breasts, a soft belly and full hips, why would I ever feel the need to apologize for my shape?
Taking from the tales of Aphrodite, the female body represents the creation of life in it’s softness, it’s ability to create life, its abundance and air of elegance. Let me briefly break down how gaining a few pounds during the holidays can be something we as women can embrace and feel proud of. Healthy amounts of fat helps in the development of our brain. It makes us intelligent, charismatic, sustainable and gives us the energy to move through our daily lives. Fat protects our bodies, keeps us warm during colder months, and gives us the nutrients to birth and nurse our children. I challenge you to reexamine the way we tend to aimlessly rid ourselves of this in America.
The holiday season should be a time where we celebrate the opportunities we are given to be with our loved ones. Most often our most joyous of gatherings are centered around home cooked meals, drinks, and conversations that last until the early morning. Memories are worth more than the self-punishment we as women tend to put ourselves through for overeating,or not making it out for our routine evening walk. When you begin to feel the sneaky voice of self-doubt whispering in your ear around the dinner table, think of our fellow Goddess, Aphrodite, and her confidence in knowing that big girls, you are beautiful.