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May 2006

YMCA ∩ Louvre

May 10, 2006   

What could the YMCA and the Louvre have in common, you may ask? Nekkid ladeez. Lots of them.

It’s funny; I’ve always had a good body image and self-confidence (which I’ve gone on and on and on about *snore*), but it’s really reached a new level of self-comfort after having seen so many nude depictions of the human form at the Louvre and equally many naked women of all ages/colors/sizes/shapes in the Y locker rooms. There is such a variety of shapes that the more and more I was exposed (no pun intended) to them (the art and the old women at the Y), the more and more I internalized that it was ridiculous to point to one and say, “Ah, there, that’s the ideal that we should all strive for.”

All the differences and variety just seem so natural, not something that should be the source of shame for anyone. All the nudes in the paintings and statues, all the depictions of Venus or Aphrodite, all of them have what by L.A. standards would be big arms and big bellies. But after gazing upon them for so long, I can see the beauty and naturalness of those parts. The bodies were in fact idealized for their times, but in a different way than today. When I see magazine covers, the most famous women seem so unnatural: pulled and stretched and tightened and fake-tanned to an alarming degree. Where is the softness, the pleasing round curves?

This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe the stats for the U.S. being one of the most unhealthiest and overweight countries of the world; I do believe it. This is just… an increased sense of acceptance of what is actually within the normal range.