Sunday, April 1, 2012
I've been thinking about this because I've had a body image breakthrough.
I haven't done any interviews, but I'm pretty sure that greyhounds don't ever wish they were chihuahuas. Because that would never happen. A greyhound is a greyhound and a chihuahua is a chihuahua. Period. They are both dogs, but their bodies are constrained by their breeds. Dogs can't change their diet, exercise more, or have a procedure done to become a different breed.
I think there should be different breeds of the human species. If there were I think it would help people like me, people who struggle with trying to make their bodies look like something they are not, understand that there is a limited range within which their bodies can change. That's not to say that a person can't be more or less healthy within her breed, but an apple shaped woman will never look like Kate Moss, and a woman of short stature will never look like Charlize Theron.
Unbeknownst to my parents, my experience of my childhood cultivated in me what I once thought was an inherent and permanent hatred of my body. In the beauty of my middle age I know this isn't the case. But it sure is easy to slip back into the old patterns of self-loathing.
I'm buoyed by the notion that I'm the human equivalent of a Tibetan Spaniel. Now when I see a person whose hair or abs or nose I covet, I assign them a breed. And when I do this I tell myself that I admire the breed, but I'm a Tibetan Spaniel and I'll always be a Tibetan Spaniel.
What dog breed would you be if you were a dog? Visit the American Kennel Club website to learn more about dog breeds, and share your thoughts in the comments section below.