Body image struggles and victories

Amy NolanIn January of 2012 actor Demi Moore was hospitalized for “exhaustion,” following a painful breakup with her husband of six years.

Although Moore is a celebrity and we are not supposed to feel sorry for celebrities, I am sad that, at almost fifty years of age and an accomplished actress, Moore does not believe she is worthy of love, and that her body, upon which she has placed her worth, has “betrayed” her.

I  think about women in my own generation—those of us in our late thirties and forties, who grew up watching Demi Moore’s movies in the wake of second wave feminism—a movement from which we have benefitted and that has left many of us feeling strangely paralyzed by the myriad choices left in its wake.

Growing up in the 1980s, I remember how the body seemed to be the enemy—something to be whipped into shape.

Many films of the era indicated a preoccupation with mastery and battle, whether it related to sexual conquest, taming nature, and/or the body—sculpting it, battling its “bulge,” making its parts into steel, generally beating it into submission.

I loved “Flashdanceand “Footloose,” especially their training montages, which evoked other films like “Vision Quest,” the “Rocky films andKarate Kid.

These stories, set in hardworking American small towns, are about underdogs that become hard bodies, pushing themselves to the brink.

They are stories that feature and emphasize thin, muscled bodies, bodies that aspire to be spirits soaring over the mire of poverty, boredom and mediocrity.

These characters’ conquering physical pain becomes a metaphor for “conquering life.”

Even though there are obvious flaws in this logic, it isw understandable, and it is still part of our American story.

It is part of my personal story, as well, as that is why I feel such passion and compassion for people who struggle quietly and individually, even if not in the public eye like Demi Moore.

My wish for Demi Moore is not only that she “find love” from someone else.

My wish for this celebrity-stranger is the same for myself and everyone I know.

It is to reunite with that original loveliness that resides in all children before they are indoctrinated by this culture. That  the part of us that can’t be killed off by diet, drugs, exercise, surgery or any other means we have for avoiding pain not disappear.

That this part of her who will love her unconditionally if she would just let her in, be allowed to take over.

Leave a Reply