There is something that I have been thinking about recently that keeps surfacing in different ways. Taking up space. It started with this video going around Tumblr a while ago:
My GOD, if that didn't stick with me. Growing up, I never really had body image issues to the extent of them being a problem. But it is things like this that bring my attention to the extent to which our patriarchal society tries to control women. Even if I never had an eating disorder or worried too much about my weight, the ideas in this video were always laid heavily within the standards to which I held myself. We are told to be smaller and take up less space because we have been told that that is what femininity is. But really, this is just another damaging attempt to control us. The exploration of this idea continued when I found the article Wide Stance on Bitch Media. It included the quote:
From Emily Dickinson (who once wrote to a male friend that “I have a little shape…. It would not crowd your desk, nor make much racket as the mouse that dens your galleries”) to the beauty culture that has nearly always deemed the thinnest, smallest, and, frequently, palest, women to be its most desirable and valuable, the message is that the measure of a lady can be taken by how little of the world she takes up.
The article documents the difference between men's allowance of space (being comfortable to spread out on public transportation, their general body language, etc.) and women's (who shrink into themselves and allow others more space while in public settings). This observation has really caught my attention because even something so small as the way we sit on a subway can say so much about the standards to which we are held. It's so terrifying to me that all these ideas of what a woman "should be"are almost inescapable. I find myself thinking about this when just standing at work or laying down at home or shopping or whatever--I have been conditioned to feel that I should take up less space. Because we are not worthy of the space. This reflects in how we hold ourselves around others and how we treat our bodies: always wishing for them to be smaller. It scares me, but it empowers me to take back my space.