Monday, December 21, 2015

Eve, Muhammed Ali, and Body Image

Phil and I have been watching the Beloved series (recommended by Mary!) from the Formed website as part of our Advent journey.  Wow that sounded so deep.  It's not so much of a journey than an excuse to watch videos on marriage, and then talk about how much we love each other.  It's been really, really good.  We put the kids to bed and sit on the couch by the lights of the tree, hold hands, and it has been such a wonderful way to spend time together, just nurturing our marriage and realizing how lucky we are.  I thought I would come back to the blog with all sorts of insights on marriage, and though there are so many good ones, I ended up taking away a lesson on body image.  Who knew?

The first few videos talk about the origins of marriage, and how it was designed by God.  While the theology is being described, paintings depicting biblical scenes flash across the screen.  At first these paintings were very distracting for me.  There were lots of naked women (well mostly just Eve) and I can get weird about nudity.  I'm no prude (hello - six kids and a happy married life) but I am modest, and my first instinct if I see (even tasteful, artistic) nudity is to look away.  Not because I am ashamed of the human body, but because I respect it too much to gawk.  But these images of Eve were too many to count, and I gradually got used to seeing her body, and I was astonished to learn something.


The artists painted Eve as a real woman.  Like a reeeeeeealllll woman.  With curvy hips, and a small chest, and a (gasp!) belly.  The artist was depicting the first female ever, and chose to paint her body in a way that he thought was beautiful.  Man, I was born in the wrong century ;)

Much unlike the current supermodel's body today - tall, flat stomach, fake chest, barely any curves.  Some of them look completely sickly and not womanly at all! 


I looked at Eve, and looked over at Phil, and said "Eve makes me feel really good about myself.  She has a belly!" and he replied "Real women have bellies!"  It made me think of a quote I read once from a man trying to get the point across to his wife that men prefer curves and soft spots to muscular, boy-shaped females.  He told her "I never once heard of a man trying to reach up a woman's shirt to play with her rock-hard abs."
So funny.  So true.

When January comes, and I'll be working hard at dropping some of this unhealthy holiday weight gain (darn you chocolate and cheese puffs), I want to keep in mind that I should eat properly and workout enough to be healthy.  That's it.  The goal is not to look good in a bikini (honestly, can we just agree that women, especially moms, shouldn't walk around in lycra bra and panties in public?).  I can still be proud of my strengths and curves without having to show them to the world.  As Muhammed Ali told his daughters...

"...everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You've got to work hard to get to them."

He looked at me with serious eyes. "Your body is sacred. You're far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too."

I will never lose my belly, I will never get rid of stretch marks, I will never suddenly grow a voluptuous bosom.  And that's ok, because I will always be a real woman with soft parts, a one piece swimsuit and flattering, modest clothes :)


  1. I like this post so much & such a good reminder!

  2. Such a thought provoking post. What a great takeaway.

    1. Agreed--love it! I needed this reminder.

  3. I always wondered how moms did bikinis, even if they have rock hard abs. Little hands grab everything and the last thing I want to do is flash (or moon!) the beach or pool!

  4. I read that quote to my husband....such a great post!~Shelley

  5. Love it, Colleen! Yes, my mom tummy is here to stay, as are many other of my soft parts :) I have a daughter that loves to stroke my un-toned upper arms and I remember how my own mom's soft arms were so comforting to me, and I'm so happy that I have them for my daughter <3

  6. BAM! Some pre-Christmas wise words from an amazing real woman. Great post! Just told hubby about that series and he chuckled because it has come up a couple places he's read in the last two weeks. Hmm...divinely inspired? I think we'll have to check it out for the new year.

  7. Yup! Agree! Agree! Agree!
    The beloved series will be next on my to-watch/to-listen series. Right now, listening to conversion stories and such.
    Congrats again.... You inspire me.


Talk to me...