Monday, January 25, 2021

We are All Trees – Leave us Be

December 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Body Image

Get it? Trees… Leave… ok, bad joke. 🙂

Anyway, last week I posted a trailer to a documentary I found online called America the Beautiful. I’ve since seen the film and really enjoyed it but that’s not the reason I’m writing today.

No, today I want to discuss women, their bodies and why we find the need to pass judgment on each other for the way we look.

One of the comments left on the trailer post was by heart. . .

Hmm… I’m left conflicted by seeing such a polished, slim Eve Ensler there at the end telling me to stop fixing my body. I’m sympathetic to weight fluctuations, up&down all the time myself, and really I am most concerned about the health consequences of being too heavy, but, umm, that is sort of fixing my body, isn’t it? And her makeup and hair straightening, what’s that if not “fixing”? This was Eve Ensler in 2007:

Not quite what we see in this movie preview.

When I first read the comment it struck me as odd. Why point out such an insignificant part of the trailer. The movie isn’t about Eve Ensler and her body. It’s about how Americans are obsessed with image. It’s about a 12 year old thrown into the world of modeling. About men who only see women as objects and women who think plastic surgery is their “best friend”.

The more and more I thought about heart’s comment the angrier and angrier I became.

See THIS is the problem. We, yes WE, as in women, are so judgmental of each other. We are too fat. We are too skinny. We are bombarded by images of what we are suppose to look like on one hand and then slapped by our peers for caring with the other.

Now I am assuming heart is a women, I may be wrong and I hope she/he corrects me if I am. But I just need to know Why, WHY is heart so “conflicted”. What is Eve SUPPOSE to look like? And why does that matter?

I was originally going to post the picture of Eve in the video along side the one that heart shared with us and then I thought better of it. I don’t CARE if Eve has lost or gained weight. I don’t care what she looks like and I shouldn’t. It’s her body and her decision to treat it any way she likes.

I’m so glad Jen pointed out Eve’s tree story in the comments.

I LOVE what Eve Ensler just said about an experience she had talking with a woman in Nairobi….. “Do you see that tree? Do you like that tree? Do you say this tree isn’t pretty because it doesn’t look like that tree? Do you say this tree is ugly because it doesn’t look like that tree? You’re a tree. I’m a tree. You’ve got to love your tree!”

I really do believe we are all trees and some us may like to grow wild but if other’s choose to prune their branches, shape their growth and carve love messages in their bark, so be it. It’s their privilege, as a tree, to do so.


Image from David Paul Ohmer


8 Responses to “We are All Trees – Leave us Be”
  1. Mish says:

    I think that you’ve hit the ‘root’ of the problem. It’s true women, in my opinion, are the worst critics of other women. The old saying ‘women dress for women’…is partially true.

    It begs a much larger questions ‘where is the true self-love and loss of criticism?’. It’s been stripped away for your mental filters by the neglagent and fraudulent photoshopped images that bombarded little girls.

    It’s hard to stop criticising and pointing fingers in all sorts of directions. I think that thing which I hope to instill in girls around me and perhaps my own children is a deep sense of self-worth, self-love and confidence. May they root themselves and stand strong to any wind blown.

  2. It’s very simple. People love to cry “hypocrite” and that’s what I glean from this comment is that she is attempting to call Eve a hypocrite because she wears makeup or straightens or hair.

    I’ve had the SAME type of thing thrown at me by my aunt of all people. “You are so gung ho about saving the Earth and stopping pollution yet you’re going to get on an airplane to fly to St. Croix.” and then basically everything I say about being green is supposed to be rendered hogwash because I’m going to fly to an island in the middle of the caribbean from New England. How in the hell else am I supposed to get there on-time for my survival class without causing pollution?

    Yeah I fully agree those people are the problem. The monkeys in the wrench. 🙂

  3. lissa10279 says:

    Awesome message, Roni. And I think you’re right, we women are so judgmental of one another and we’d be better served just letting it be. I for one am admittedly quite vain when it comes to my hair (it’s a family joke even) but I don’t think that makes me any less of a woman that I care about how I present myself. I feel better about myself when I’m put together, period. When my hair is “done” or I’ve taken the time to put on a little make-up (enhancing what my mama gave me) I feel better about myself than when I’m in yoga pants and sporting a pony. But that shouldn’t matter to another woman. I believe you can accept yourself and love yourself and still care about those things.

  4. McLauren84 says:

    Totally agree, Roni. It’s really none of our business what other women do to feel good about themselves. If Eve felt great with some makeup and straightened hair, good for her! As soon as we begin criticizing another woman’s looks in any way– whether pointing out undesirable features or implying her appearance makes her a hypocrite–we are engaging in exactly the type of toxic behavior that drives some women to eating disorders.

  5. Gina says:

    Great post! Every woman has her own style. What is comfortable to one person is not necessarily comfortable to the next and that is a great thing, in my opinion. I have friends whose aesthetic styles of dress/hair/whatever I would never feel comfortable in (and I doubt that they would be comfortable in mine) but I love that! I think that old cliche “how boring would it be if everyone were the same” is completely true. Unfortunately, we are all brainwashed whether we care to admit or not. The most we can do is try our best to recognize when we are thinking negatively about another woman simply because of the way she dresses or carries herself, do some inner probing to find out why, and work hard to reverse that negativity. I think that much of the first two decades of our lives are spent unconsciously absorbing toxic cultural messages and it’s our job to spend a large part of the rest of our lives working to undo the damage.

  6. mamaV says:

    Hey Roni: Oh, where do I start. As a woman who has been judged by her looks her entire life, I have one hell of a lot to say about this topic.

    When I was in my 20s, with the “former Paris model” tag stuck to my back, I can not even begin to tell you how I was treated by other women. Of the friends I didn’t lose due to my crappy career, I had them saying “don”t stand by me, you make me look fat,” and “I saw you from afar and I thought– who does that bitch think she is.” Little did they know I was miserably in the depths of an eating disorder…but hey, I looked good on the outside so let’s hate her!

    This all sent me into a mode of life where I found it easier to wear baseball hats, no makeup and sweats so I would draw absolutely no attention to myself. As I started getting healthy, and gaining weight to “normal” — I didn’t look like a model so then I was called fat. Can’t win.

    It was my daughter who helped me get back into the girly stuff like painting nails, fashionable clothes, etc., and now I am able to dress how I want, primp when I want to, and feel great about it — because its just a natural part of being a woman.

    Now that I am in my 40s (and still a total babe 😉 and I am finally comfortable in my own skin. I found I just can’t give a crap what others think anymore. Sounds harsh, but its been a savior for me. On my 40th b-day, a work friend said it best — you’ve entered the F-U Forties!…Amen.

    And guess what magically happens when you accept yourself? You stop judging others, it just naturally works that way, and you find real, dear friends. I highly recommend trying it! 🙂

    Truth is — and it always will be — UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING about it…. WE WILL CONTINUE to perpetuate every single stereotype out there. Our jealousy and envy get the best of us and we tear down the fellow women we should be propping up. Men are not doing this to us, we do it to ourselves.

    I would like to hear more about your experience Roni, having been obese, and now a thin, beautiful woman — how do you feel judged?


    • ronisweigh says:

      This is a good question that warrants a post. 🙂

      In a nutshell as someone who’s motivation was to lose for vanity reasons first and then discovered that life was more important then my dress size I get it from all ends.

      But like you said….

      “And guess what magically happens when you accept yourself? You stop judging others..”

      No truer words have ever been uttered.


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] also posted over on We Are the Real Deal about trees. It’s kind of a long story you’ll have to check it out over […]

WordPress SEO
Get Adobe Flash player Plugin by wordpress themes