The Perfect Body

When you go to a museum and look at a Picasso, do you think, “If I just took a few art classes, I could totally do that?” I’m pretty confident that a couple of voice lessons aren’t the only thing separating me and Patti Lupone.  And as much as Rocco likes to play with balls, it’d take more than a few extra hours a week on the field to match the skills of Jorge Posada.

So why do we look at the model’s in magazines and think, “If I just had a little more will power, I could rock that sheer macrame bikini?”

I’ve been thinking about this compulsively for days now.  I blame Alex over at Late Enough.  Because she wrote this absolutely brilliant piece that made my brain explode, re-coagulate, then explode again.

Peep some of Alex’s brilliance:

What I don’t believe is that the problem lies with the typical model body frame being found in only 2% of the American population. It’s the same percentage of want-to-be published writers actually getting published. I don’t think the issue is that the typical woman weighs 23 pounds more and is 6 inches shorter than the typical model. The root of our struggle is that we believe the typical model is the typical woman. Or could be with just a little more willpower.

Alex is on to something, right?  That whole, mythical there’s one perfect body type thing?  (Said the girl who’s trying to wrap her brain around her body slowly expanding like goblin Chet in Weird Science.)

Now watch while I dazzle you with my logic.  We all agree that athletes have great bodies and are in peak physical condition, right?  And Olympians are the greatest of athletes, right?  Thusly (said with a lisp because it’s always better pronounced “thuthlee”), an Olympian must have THE most perfect body, right?

But be damned if there’s only ONE type.  Check these pictures from an article my sister-in-law sent me:

Are jewelers more often near sighted than other professions so they can focus on intricate details?  Are musicians ear drums are shaped differently?  It sure does seem like a body looks different based on it’s purpose.  IS different based on it’s purpose.

I’ll let Alex close this out, because really she’s the inspiration for this post.  And she broke my brain past the point of it being able to form any more coherent sentences.

I hope that, someday, we will not think that an unattainable beauty is just a product or diet away from the women that we are. I hope that we won’t believe that the most beautiful woman in the room is also the most terrible. Or the most lucky. I hope that we able to just put her looks on par with the woman next to her who can sing or dance or play guitar or was born into a wealthy family. A stroke of genetics and a good teacher. Or investor. Or hairstylist.

I don’t want another person’s beauty to be hidden from magazines so I can feel better about myself. Or find something else to lament.

I want to notice her beauty.

And move on.


  1. Thank you for this post and for bringing Alex’s post to our attention.

    I’m a body hater. I had a father who was very critical of my appearance, and while I’ve put that in its place, it’s my knee-jerk reaction to not like the way I’m made. Add to that the social bs that usually gets us down (Alex is right that we are so wrong to think we can all look like models with enough effort)and I’m sometimes too cruel to myself.

    This is something I’ll remember next time I silently chastise my thighs.

  2. Brilliant post by Alex, thanks for sharing it. The photos speak volumes. The diversity of physical appearance hopefully reminds us all that each individual is beautiful inside and out because they are unique.

  3. Any ideology that says there is ONLY ONE WAY to be, think, act, believe, look, etc. etc. etc. is Fascist pure and simple. No matter what it calls itself or how it justifies itself, it is Fascism. Don’t buy into it!

  4. Look up Martin Strel. See if he fits the bill you’d imagine for world record breaking endurance swimmer. He swam the Amazon, the Mississippi, the Yangtze, the Parana….. It’s cray-zay.

  5. Brilliant logic! I used to be really down on myself (to be honest, I still am sometimes) until I realized…my big hips made giving birth to my beautiful daughter a bit easier than it would have been with tiny, narrow hips. My jiggly thighs? If it weren’t for them, I couldn’t walk around! Boobs? Meh, they got bras for that. As long as all my shit works and does what it’s supposed to do, I figure I’m good. Plus, my husband still tries to get laid regularly, so I guess HE doesn’t have a problem with the way I look! That old song “Everyone Is Beautiful”? Yeah, it’s cheesy, but it’s also true.

  6. Its about liking yourself and the self-confidence that comes from it. If you like yourself then it doesn’t matter how pretty Jennifer Aniston or George Clooney are, you are free to appreciate their looks without envy (or jealousy).

    We get so many mixed messages from the media – and from each other. It doesn’t help that we live in a heavily commercial world where there are billions to be made from making us want to become Jennifer Aniston or George Clooney. Learn to like yourself. The rest will come.

  7. Brilliant post (both you and Alex). Something I’ve tried to say on my blog many times. And Elly, you’re dang cute! But even if you weren’t you are totally beautiful inside. And now look, you’re also cooking a person in there. Our bodies are wonders and I don’t care much how mine looks, I just like the days when it actually works like it’s supposed to!


    1. Aw thanks! And I’m not really a major body issue gal. I just freak out when my body does weird shit really fast. And then I get all overwhelmed by how crazy and diverse they are. And then I have to reorganize my paper clips by color. It’s all very complicated.

  8. Well different sports do require different muscle groups or more or less bulk so I guess it makes perfect sense the athletes all look totally different.

    And you (and Alex’s) points are very true. We do live up to unrealistic ideals of airbrushed magazine covers and skinny actresses when there’s nothing natural about it and it’s not attainable in any sensible manner for most people who aren’t built to be 90lbs and five eleven. We can all do something besides LOOK enviable.

    Like how I can fart the national anthem.

  9. I’ve been looking at this blank comment box for 15 minutes now and I still just don’t know what to say. I struggle being overweight in this world every day, so it hits home.

  10. “You are so beautiful to me…”

    Wonderful post, and great post by Alex. I really hope that someday we can evolve beyond our over dependence on using physical appearance to judge others and ourselves.

    And I do believe we are still evolving. As bad as world events can be sometimes, and as horrible as people cans till treat each other, I still think we’ve come a long way from 1,000 or even 100 years ago.

    So I guess in a way I’m saying that I blame it all on the Dirty Fucking Velociraptors.

    (You didn’t think I could post a meme-free comment did you?)

    1. Yeah, and Mammoth riding fur bikini wearing Raquel Welch.

      Oh also?

      I’m insulted no one asked for a naked picture of me to display in this post.

        1. Don’t worry. I’ll forward some photos of a naked Dufmanno riding her woolly mammoth.

          And no, I don’t mean that as a euphemism.

  11. Really interesting and thoughtful. There are things we can change about our bodies and things we just can’t, no matter the will power. I mean, I’ll always be short and wider instead of tall and leaner, no matter what number the scale says or what size I’m wearing. I do think it helps to look at what our bodies have done for us, the journey they’ve been on, and to treat ourselves as kindly as we would treat a friend.

  12. In a town where mothers who JUST had babies are still stick thin and run marathons (with their strollers), it’s definitely been a challenge for me not to freak out every other day.

    I find working out and nourishing my body with wholesome food makes me feel the most healthy and beautiful. I don’t think I’ll ever diet. I don’t think I’ll ever give up bread. Or cheese. Or peanut butter (from the jar with a spoon.

    Life is short. Treat your body like your best friend. It all falls into place. 🙂

  13. LOVE THIS POST! This has been on my mind of late as well. Just blogged about it last night, in fact. I’m in the current mindset that I am just going to do me and be in the body that I want to be in… my perception, not anyone else’s. Love thyself! 🙂

  14. wouldn’t it all just be so boring if we were the same… let alone perfect? I mean… aside from me, of course (kidding).

  15. I know it defeats the whole spirit of the comments section but I’d like to put in a request to be A Vapid BLonde. I would also like her car and her magnificent house on the hill.
    Oh and guess what?

    THE SECRET!!!!
    I have not forgotten.

  16. As I read Elly’s post and everyone’s comments I thought to myself how many different types of people (and bodies), both male and female, that I have totally lusted for. If I am attracted to such a variety, then everyone else must be too. There is no perfect “type”.

  17. Very well said. I’m going to show that series of photos to my teens. My brats have six-packs right now but they won’t forever. My wife and I have made sure of that with our genetics.

  18. There can’t be enough written about this. We have created a neurotic, obsessed culture of youth and perfection. We have gone beyond trying to look like the 2%. Instead, we want to look like computer-enhanced versions of the 2%. I am the mother of a daughter, and the messages we send to our daughters is sick. Someone told me yesterday she read an article that said mothers of pre-pubescent girls are buying their daughters push up bras. We diet, we have surgery, we give our daughters VISA cards so they can buy clothes suitable for prostitutes and make up for faces that are already beautiful and perfect. We keep sending them the same message over and over: You are not enough.

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