It's All About The Feet

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Body image is a very touchy subject when it comes to women of all ages. Everyone desires to have the perfect body, but no one accepts the body they have now. In Shelley Jackson's "The Body," she accepts her body, even if she has flaws, through her discovering her own body. She doesn't compare her body to the models and actresses that teenage girls are so often told to emulate. Our bodies are unique. It should be kept that way. Jackson's overall purpose for this story is to prove to the audience that image shouldn't matter. How you carry yourself and your self-confidence is what will make you attractive.

So reading about her body features, I was struck by the link about her feet.

"Feet are alien, like a hoof or a wing. They are more like tools or furniture than like flesh, they are so sturdy and well-crafted and so serviceable. Maybe they are a little too far away from the heart to befriend, though at one time I could put my big toe in my mouth, and I aspire to do it again, though without much hope."

Jackson doesn't refer to her feet as another body part, but she looks to her feet as a tool, well-crafted and serviceable. Without our feet, we wouldn't be able to walk. Well, okay, if we had our arms, we could technically walk with our hands, but anyway. She writes,  "My strong feelings about feet have lessened in intensity as I have put distance between myself and them." I think this line is brilliant. She is telling us through this one sentence, that as she aged, she also grew in height allowing for her to be further away from her feet that she depends on to walk. She explained earlier that feet are alien, they are more like tools than flesh. Can't we look at our arms, legs, mouth, and eyes as tools as well?

A side note:
When she writes about her feet nestling one another under sheets, I was like OH MY GOD! I do that every night. It is the only way that I can fall asleep.
"My feet rub each other under the covers at night or while I'm reading, sliding sensuously on each other. The ball of the big toe screws into the arch of the other foot, the toes fraternize, side slides by side. The pace steps up when I'm excited, the foot cranking around the ankle joint in slow circles, toes spreading and then squeezing together: a whole waltz under the covers, very comforting and secret and like company, like two small dachshunds rolling on each other."

Okay back to the close reading.

Jackson talks about how she has hairy feet and how a girlfriend was opposed to all body hair. Even with her girlfriends comments, she still looked at her feet as cute. The way she flashbacks to her childhood on most of her body parts, really emphasizes the idea that through the years, she has grown to accept her body more and more.

"I have a few glinting hairs on the tops of my feet and a little tuft on each toe. When I was nine I read that hobbits had hairy feet and went around barefoot, and that was enough to persuade me that hairy feet were good. Much later a girlfriend firmly opposed to almost all kinds of body hair persuaded me to try shaving my feet, but stubble on my toes seemed so ludicrous that I gave it up forthwith. Besides, I still felt that my hairy toes were cute."

Jackson had a willingness of being open that may help other women having constant body image problems know and understand that everyone's body is imperfect, and that's the beauty of a body. The author was not always happy with the her figure, but as she embraced her body, she embraced a new level of self-confidence that every woman wants.


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This page contains a single entry by West Coast Envy published on October 5, 2008 7:41 PM.

I Don't Want To Grow Up was the previous entry in this blog.

Part One of Electronic Literature is the next entry in this blog.

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