A Bootylicious State of Mind as Acquired from Prehistoric Art

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Woman of Willendorf“- One of the first images of the human body ever found.

In one of my sociology classes in undergrad I had this super hippie professor who often liked to rant about women’s rights. He (yes, he) was the one who first introduced me to this beauty, “Venus of Willendorf” or “Woman of Willendorf.” She has remained prominent in my memory ever since I laid eyes on her. This was an image of fertility… of beauty. Obviously, her figure is exaggerated but there is no doubt that the creator was in awe of a woman’s voluptuousness… her “bootyliciousness” if you will. Yes, even prehistoric artists knew to appreciate curves.

Last week, I posted about finally fitting into a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans. One commentor, Ashly, encouraged me to see that I am beautiful no matter what my size is. She confessed that she doesn’t feel represented by the media’s current portrayal of feminine beauty. It’s true. The average American woman is a size 14. I’m pretty sure the average size of hollywood starlets is about 14 sizes less than that. I hear about them getting special wraps to get rid of their postpartum weight. It’s so hard not to feel like I need to “bounce-back” after having a baby.

A few years ago, there was a huge story about a plus-sized model being photographed for Glamour magazine. Do you remember that? Here’s the image:

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20-Year-Old, Lizzi Miller, in Glamour Magazine, 2009.

Take it in.

I don’t think anyone could argue that this woman, Lizzi Miller, isn’t absolutely stunning. This is another image that has been cemented into my brain. I look at her and I want to be her. She looks so comfortable in the body that God gave her. Hm.

You know what? I don’t know what my body will end-up looking like now that I’ve had a baby but I’m not going to go moping around because it’s not the size and shape it once was. Lizzi Miller does have a beautiful body but what’s so attractive is her confidence. I love being a Mama. Honestly, I even kind of like my Jelly Belly. It’s soft. What I don’t like is worrying about what other people are thinking… “Man, have you seen Jaclyn? She really let herself go after she had a baby…” Silly, I know, but if I’m honest, I don’t want to be the subject of gossip. Maybe it’s time to let that go and to embrace my body the way it is. I eat healthy, I exercise… let the chips fall where they may.

The same commentor, Ashly, has also seen me with my baby boy. She said that I have a “glow” about me now that I am a mom. I don’t ever want to lose that glow. For me, worrying about my body is a slippery slope that could quickly end in being robbed of my joy.  To that I say, No thank you, sir. I will keep my Jelly Belly and wear it with pride before I give that up.

If you liked this post, you may also like:

– Jelly Belly Dance Party

– Reclaiming Jaclyn

Stretch Marks, Jelly Belly, and a Noisy Newborn

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14 thoughts on “A Bootylicious State of Mind as Acquired from Prehistoric Art

  1. When that picture of Lizzi Miller first came out it really stuck with me…that is totally what my jelly belly looks like if I sit forward! I wish I was brave enough to take a photo like that. 🙂

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  2. You bring up an interesting point, because I see this post as dealing with two different things. You’re healthy, your priorities are your child and husband, and that’s just about all anyone could ask from you :). I really mean that, so this comment is just for the point of conversation. Taking a view of that gal’s picture above, though, to answer your question as to who could not appreciate it, I can comfortably say that there are unappealing parts. Attraction is subjective, and she’s really darn pretty, but all I’m doing is looking at a picture – and that picture shows a woman whose body doesn’t appeal to me. If that was my wife, I would have chosen her for who she is, and a little change in body-weight or aging wouldn’t alter that love.. but I don’t think it’s necessary to try and say that I won’t find a fitter model more visually appealing than Lizzi up there. What you’re talking about when you admit your concerns about gossiping hens discussing your body is their focus on the external visual as a means to degrade you as a person (what a bunch of jerks they would be, boy), but I don’t have any disdain for Lizzi Miller, I’d simply rather look at the body of a woman who is smaller. As I mentioned on your post about feeling confident in motherhood, a good-looking “average” mom can be much sexier than a good-looking model, but basing it on a purely visual standpoint would likely change that.

    Anyways, keep being content with yourself – I’m sure your husband is, and the two of you are all that really counts on this matter 🙂

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    • I hate to say this Mark, but I fear many women will read your comment and understand it to confirm their worst fears. That they can’t look like Lizzi and be considered attractive to men. I know this wasn’t your intent but unfortunately it will probably be perceived that way.
      For the women who are discouraged by Mark’s comment, I reassure you that Glamour magazine reported thousands of letters from MEN who applauded their inclusion of Lizzi’s photo. Yes, beauty is subjective. However, our culture is very influential on our perception of beauty. Thankfully, most men report to enjoy the sight of a healthy woman rather than an emmaciated one that is so often the symbol of “beauty” in our culture. There are many studies that report the preference of such stature by men, google it.
      With all of that being said, thank you for your comment Mark. I know you personally and I know your heart behind this comment was not to hurt or discourage anyone. Yet, I will leave you with the wise words of my dear grandmother, “Not everything needs to be said.” 😉

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      • I do think it was an important point to bring up, though, because even in your reply you rely on an extreme comparison.. almost inferring that the women I do find more physically attractive are unhealthy just because they might be smaller than others. I hardly speak for all men, and I’m no Brad Pitt, but I’ve never really found bigger gals attractive.. and that should be okay for women to hear, without any kind of qualifier. There’s nobody in the world who is attractive to everyone, of course. I’m a short, small, hairy man.. haha, hardly the pinnacle of visual male sexuality, but I’m not ignorant of that fact. In comparison to the aforementioned Brad Pitt (or whichever famous stud tickles your fancy), most gals would choose him over me, but that doesn’t make me any less – just different 🙂

        I really don’t like rustling up trouble, but I said what I said because I thought it was a valuable addition to a foundation of TRUE confidence. We all have insecurities, but I think it’s important to remember the realities while discovering personal confidence.. or the result could very well be a hollow veneer that can be more easily cracked by a mean-spirited person later on.

        Awhile ago I started asking myself the simple question, “Who do you live for, God or man?” and with that reminder, my concerns about how I looked or the assumed perceptions of others hadn’t a leg to stand on. So, if there is anyone who IS turned off by my initial comment, be confident in who you are, not because someone else approves of your body, but because God made you as He wanted you to be.. and if you can improve, improve – but don’t worry too much about it 🙂

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  3. We might as well embrace the post-partum belly because no one escapes it. I’m that weird skinny girl who could never gain a pound even when she wanted to and even my tummy is all weird and floppy now, lol! Our abs take a beating when we grow babies, as do so many other body parts….but heck, it’s what they’re made for! 🙂

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    • So true! One of my friends emailed me a beautiful poem that was written across a postpartum belly. It was about how her belly had once been a home to her baby and now each mark was a symbol of each movement, hiccup, and growth spurt. I should post it! Thanks for your comment =)

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      • That sounds awesome- You should post it! When I look at mine, I definitely remember all those months that I carried him and I feel amazed that he was able to fit inside me and that my body could do the amazing job of growing and housing him 🙂

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  4. My hubby (who did a body building show less than a year ago) says he likes my body better than ever. He has said I am more feminine than before, soft and more curvy. As I read Mark’s comments I thought how fortunate I am to be married to a man who loves my body regardless if I do. He sees it for what it is and not what it was. I want to see my body as my he does.

    I want to accept my post partum figure but not as much as I want to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I’m not thankful for my flabby belly but I am thankful for my husband who loves it.

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