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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/3/10

Let 2010 be The Year We Loved our Bodies

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I would like to add to the list of New Year's wishes appearing this week. I wish that the trends of pathologizing women's bodies would somehow come to an end and that the multi-billion-dollar industries exploiting female insecurity suffer the same fate.

We all know the old reliable "cellulite"--that body flaw invented and marketed to women, defined as a strictly female problem, one we should seek long and hard to avoid. And we must learn to despise ourselves if we can't.

Add to that lie the kankle, the thin eyelashes (thanks, Brooke Shields), underarm fat, knee fat, sagging calves, the flat ass, the imperfect abs, the gravity-challenged breasts, and, my favorite, the un-aesthetic labia. (This is by no means a comprehensive list.)

The cures for all these offenses against beauty?: surgery. Often painful, always dangerous, surgery. We can now have underarm liposuction--not to mention underarm sweat glands removed, as well as liposuction around our knees, our tummies, thighs. We can have fat added to our bottoms, our breasts and our lips. Women can now have a botulism compound injected into their faces to eliminate laugh lines, or other "signs of aging." If that's not enough, we can have eyeliner permanently tattooed on our eyes to give the impression of thicker eyelashes or we can now secure the first prescription treatment for "inadequate eyelashes," Latisse. The point of all this work is to deny women's biological humanity: we must not sweat, wrinkle, dimple, sag, or appear natural.

Worse than all this is Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery, elective surgeries designed to make vaginas more attractive. It's true. Google "labia reduction": 164,000 hits, including before and after pics, doctor's websites, clinic ads. Giant industry. We now have oversized labia; or our vaginal lips don't meet in a perfect line; or our inner and outer labia simply do not flatter one another. Something must be done.

Apparently American women possess no end of insecurities, disposable income, vanity, free time. So for all the American women indulging these horrific notions about their perfectly ordinary bodies, enriching those who would exploit us all for their own gain, and wasting time on unnecessary procedures, here is my wish list for your 2010. I hope you:

1. Take up a challenging hobby, demonstrating the power of your body--like kick boxing, kayaking, knitting, woodworking, dog walking.

2. Commit to donating your disposable income to good causes, like breast cancer, women's shelters or your local YWCA;

3. Spend the free time you might spend at the aesthetician's office reading books instead.

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Kellie Bean Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Kellie Bean has been a Professor of English at Marshall University, an Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, and most recently, Provost of a small New England College. Author of "Post-Backlash Feminism: Women and the Media Since Reagan/Bush" (McFarland (more...)

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