For

Yesterday, I spent all afternoon holding my nephew while he slept. Well, he didn’t only sleep. He opened his eyes and looked around a little bit and he did an enormous pooping. And my mom absconded with him for a while.

But mostly he and I sat on the couch and he dozed on and off and I felt at peace.

The thing about a baby is that I want him to feel comfortable and safe and cozy. And the thing I realized is that I’m set up to make a baby feel comfortable and safe and cozy. Softness might not be coded “sexy” in our society, but children like it.

A thing that kept passing through my mind on the way home is what’s a body for? Like, in terms of our society. And the message we women get from the time we’re very little is that our bodies are for pleasing men. And this is achieved by being young and thin and every troll on the internet will insist this is because of evolutionary biology–men are looking for healthy women to reproduce with.

But if reproduction is the ultimate goal, then the female bodies most pleasing to babies, the ones that allow them to thrive, would be most highly prized.

(And let me be clear: I don’t think a body is “for” anything, except the things the person who is that body wants to use it for.)

It got me thinking that part of the role of objectifying women is to socialize men into prizing women who give the appearance of being for nothing but whatever a man decides. And part of the clusterfuck of it is that it’s not even what an individual, particular man decides, but the things that will give him the most status–so what the generic group decides.

It’s fucked up for everyone.

But anyway, it was wild to sit there and realize that my body was doing something it could do really well, something it seemed almost custom designed for. Like, for once, I felt comradery with tall people or strong people. She shall reach the things on the high shelf! He shall open all jars. I shall keep the nephews warm and cozy while they sleep.

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5 thoughts on “For

  1. I felt the same way after I gave birth. Wow, these big boobs are for more than men. They’re to feed my baby. How cool.

  2. My daughter was in the Neonatal ICU for the first week of her life, and at one point I realized that almost all the nurses were women of generous proportions. My consciousness was a bit altered due to childbirth, panic, and no sleep, but I experienced them as something like goddesses dispensing comfort and healing.

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