Blog / 2015 / I’ll Tell You Something That Makes Me Unhappy about My Body...

October 15, 2015

Since I’m living in a whole new place, I’ve been meeting people and making friends at an accelerated pace, and that means I’ve been able to notice some patterns in the ways that humans bond.

One in particular, which, as far as I can tell, seems to be a woman-to-woman technique, involves hating one’s own body vocally and then looking to the new acquaintance with the expectation that she will do the same. The two women can then commiserate over the difficulties of having a female body in a society that’s so particular about how we look.

This doesn’t happen every time I meet a new woman and I know this bonding method isn’t specific to where I am living now, but, holy cupcakes, does it ever take a toll on me every time I receive the “hate your body” invitation. It’s a reminder of just how evil the media is, in both its ability and its desire to manipulate us. It’s true: advertising and mainstream media inundate our brains with images of airbrushed people at all times so that we will feel compelled to buy all the products in order to make a vain attempt at looking airbrushed as well. The media manufactures shame—a powerful and sometimes deadly motivator—and then exploits it. Evil.

Please please please, be conscious of this with new friends or old. Please please please, say loving things about other people’s bodies when they’re focusing on the things they don’t like. And please please please, say loving things about your own body in preparation for the day when you’ll actually feel that way.

I’ll tell you something that makes me unhappy about my body.
Gwenn Seemel
I’ll Tell You Something That Makes Me Unhappy About My Body.
marker on paper
5 x 7 inches

I know that we all have to vent about our frustrations, and I’m not saying women shouldn’t share about the pressures they feel to look a certain way. I just want us to do it consciously, in a way that acknowledges the shame that advertising and mainstream entertainment have instilled in us instead of in a way that makes clear just how thoroughly the media owns us.

If you’re interested in talking more about the messed up things the media makes us believe and you’re in the DC area, please join me at the artists’ talk for Implicit Bias, a group show exploring how our unconscious prejudices influence us. The event is at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery this Saturday:

October 17th from 3:30 to 5:30 PM

Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
1632 U Street NW
Washington, DC 20009

Implicit Bias is up through December 5th at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery as well as at Busboys and Poets’ various locations. I have one work at the Joan Hisaoka and two at the Takoma location of Busboys and Poets, which is at 235 Carroll Street NW in Washington.

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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