Bodies in Motion: What Girls Can Teach Us About Appreciating Our Bodies

Bodies in Motion: What Girls Can Teach Us About Appreciating Our Bodies

What girls can teach women about body confidence from Pick Any Two

I’m starting to think the problem with mirrors is that we’re always standing still in front of them.

This thought first occurred to me when I came across a unique project from Interrupt Magazine in which Marie C. photographed and interviewed girls under the age of ten. Her goal? To discover what they like about their bodies. In an age where the female form is constantly criticized, objectified, and judged – too fleshy here, too wrinkly there, too big here, not big enough there – the girls’ answers are a breath of fresh air.

"I like my hands, they help me draw."  -Laila, age 6
“I like my hands, they help me draw.” -Laila, age 6

What struck me was the fact that the girls focused less on their physical appearance and more on their physical capabilities; they seem to care more about what their bodies can do  than what they look like.

It’s a wonderful thought, isn’t it? This idea of a world in which we celebrate our bodies as verbs rather than adjectives.  

“I like that I can move with it...I like that my hair can shake.” - Bayan, age 6
“I like that I can move with it…I like that my hair can shake.” – Bayan, age 6

The girls expressed a clear appreciation for their bodies based on movement . They seem to intrinsically understand that their bodies don’t exist to be looked at, picked apart limb by limb and blemish by blemish; rather, their bodies are meant to be vessels – beautiful vessels, yes, but still vessels – for living, breathing, doing, experiencing the world. To me, that isn’t what we see when we stand stagnant in front of the mirror, inspecting our frizzes of hair or examining the size of our backsides. These girls remind me that when we do that, we’re missing the point.

“Something I like about my body is how fast I can run, and how healthy I am.” - Lana, age 9
“Something I like about my body is how fast I can run, and how healthy I am.” – Lana, age 9

It breaks my heart to know that someday soon, maybe even tomorrow, these girls will have their positive perspectives challenged. Some of them will lose the self-love and respect they exhibited in these interviews. Some will have their attention drawn to supposed flaws and imperfections, and some will begin speaking to themselves in a voice not of appreciation and gratitude – a voice of awe  as we see here – but one of criticism and condemnation.

“I like my body because it’s magic.” - Sofia/Lola, 5 years old
“I like my body because it’s magic.” – Sofia/Lola, 5 years old

I hate the thought of their fluid self-reflections growing gradually still, eventually motionless in front of the mirror.

Me, age 3, with not a body-conscious thought in sight
Me, age 3, with not a body-conscious thought in sight

Today, these girls are my inspiration and my motivation. They are my call to action and my catalyst for change. They are my reminder that our bodies are, indeed, magical.


What’s your reaction to the girls’ responses? 

Photos by Marie C. for Interrupt Magazine and Greyerbaby

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2 responses to “Bodies in Motion: What Girls Can Teach Us About Appreciating Our Bodies”

  1. I’m so excited to see you have a new blog! I came across your old one after you had finished updating it and enjoyed so much of what you had said, so I’m looking forward to seeing what this one brings :).

    This is a wonderful post, and highlights something I found incredibly useful in my recovery from an eating disorder, especially in regards to creating a more healthy relationship with exercise. Instead of using exercise as a way of changing how my body LOOKED, it is becoming a way of experiencing what it can DO. And it’s a lot of fun 🙂

    • Great to hear from someone familiar with my old blog! My outlook on health and fitness remains the same, so a lot of those tried and true ideas about what it means to truly take care of our bodies and ourselves will certainly be highlighted on this new blog. I hope you’ll stop by again! 🙂

      It’s amazing what can happen when we redefine what exercise is all about. Suddenly it goes from feeling like punishment – something we HAVE to do because we ate too many cookies or something – to something that makes us feel GOOD. Such a great shift in perspective!

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