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"I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose."

Margaret Cho

I’m at Paleo Fx!! (And it streams LIVE!)

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Blog | 4 comments

I’m at Paleo Fx!! (And it streams LIVE!)

 

Ladies, what up!

The sun is shining, it’s 75 degrees outside, and I am in Austin, Texas for the weekend with some of my favorite people on the planet.

Not only do I get to stay with my best friend of all time who is currently an architecture student at UT, but I also get to party at Abel’s new home, meet Luke Robinson of Wolf Pack Fitness (finally!), hug Stacy Toth, see Kaila Prins for the first time in a year, and, holy crap thank god, see Liz Wolfe for the first time in 18th months. Amy Kubal, George Bryant, Todd Dosenberry, Juli Bauer, Bill and Haley, John Durant, Jason Seib, and Sarah Fragoso are some others I cannot wait to hug again. Chris Masterjohn I have not seen since he came with me to buy my now favorite painting back in August on a trip up the Maine coast.

Paleo fx shall be, methinks, something akin to a hell of a time.

What am I up to?

-I will be signing books at the Victory Belt table on Saturday afternoon from 3:00-3:30. That is my official time. I’ll probably be spending a significant amount of time loitering around there.

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-I will be participating in the Women’s health panel from 3:45-4:40 on Sunday afternoon.

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-When I am not sneaking salmon out of the ‘speakers’ room (yes, there is, and yes, I will be), I will be loitering around the entrance hall. I probably won’t go to very many talks. Much as I love my friends, all of whom are presenting, and think they are very smart, I’d rather be talking with you.

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-I will be dancing cha cha with Chris Masterjohn. He’s a ballroom dancer, did you know? And I do salsa. We find good overlap in cha cha, and it just so happens both of us are pretty talented. This should be fun. We should have booked a stage.  Maybe I’ll get a friend to record a video of us dancing.

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What else is going on?

So much I can barely keep track. Four stages at all times. Three full days of panels and presentations. Some of the smartest and most passionate people I know.

For the schedule, check it out here.

How can you get involved?

Well, if you’re going to be in the area, get a ticket! You can come hang out on the expo floor for only 20 bucks or so a day. That’s like a penny each for all the cool people you’ll meet.

For those of us who cannot make it, however, we can all be there LIVE!

Each talk will LIVE STREAM at this site: Paleo Fx Live Streaming.

AND if you miss the LIVE STREAM, you can purchase individual talks or whole packages in days afterward! You can do so at the same live streaming page, HERE.

So join us in any way you can! It’s an absolute party and an honor to be a part of this beautiful event. I cannot wait to share with you all the photos and stories on the other side!

Hooah!

paleo fx

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Fani Making it Big Time on the Web!

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Blog | 5 comments

Fani Making it Big Time on the Web!

 

Once, I went on a three month trip through the Rockies with a group of 12, and there were two women named Stephanie. (My name is spelled ‘Stefani,’ but pronounced ‘Stephanie,’ to be clear. Maybe I should have told you that years ago. *Sigh.) In order to distinguish, she became “Stephie G” and I became “Fani.” As in, if you pronounced my name like Gwen Stefani and left off the ‘Ste.’

So anyway, long story short: I am Fani.

And when I talk in third person, I am Fani.

Fani is all over the internet these days, and how amazingly fun is that?

This is what is going on:

-Sexy by Nature is again hovering around the #1 spot in the category “whole foods” on Amazon!

This doesn’t mean much, though. The book shot up in the rankings because I just this week got some reviews on some important websites (more about which in a minute). It’s performance has actually been quite low. My heart’s not broken, not quite, I do believe in us!, but I am  definitely working hard to keep our numbers growing!

We cannot spread the good love and food word if we don’t have word of mouth.

So this is where you come in.

Did you buy the book? Could you write a review? Every single review is one more vote for us in the Amazon world, and, literally, every single one counts. If you could put something up on Amazon, Good Reads, Barnes and Noble, I and the rest of this movement will be indebted to you forever.

Literally. Forever.

Do you have a Facebook page? Twitter account? Pinterest? Instagram? Want to share the book with your followers? (Here’s the amazon page!) Do so and tag the PaleoforWomen page and I’ll go ahead and share your stuff back in turn!

——-

-Last week, the popular hippy yoga largely vegetarian website Mind Body Green published an article I wrote called “6 Reasons the Paleo Diet is Great for Women.” Originally, I called it “6 Reasons the Paleo Diet is the Best Diet for Women,” but I guess they wanted to tone it down. The article’s about soy and grains and and nutrient density and eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full.

There are a ton of really dumb comments. Sorry. That’s rude. But there’s a lot of blood type talk going on. Vegetarianism I consider to be less crazy, and a lot of hate coming from that angle, too. If you want to go defend me and our lifestyle, please, be my guest. If not, please, spare yourself the agony and don’t read the comments.

-Twitter and instagram really, really like my new “Love is the New Skinny” campaign (see here), which I am going to continue, and which I think might be the title for my next book. 

Pin and tag if you like, whoopah!

compassion stefani

 

(This is me, btws.)

-Sexy by Nature has been reviewed and loved by some really, really kick ass people.

Long, fun reviews:

1) Stacy Toth and blogger Courtney at Paleo Parents.

2) Heather Spergel at HeatherSpergel.com (brought tears to my eyes)

3) Nina at Paleo Owl. (A truly great review, saying this incredible bit about Sexy by Nature having “it all:”

For me personally, Sexy by Nature is like a sassy sister to The Paleo Coach. This Sherlock finally got an adequate Waston. I know that my “obsession” with EPLifeFit, Jason and his book might seem a little repulsive to you by now, but hey, so is running and chronic cardio, and pictures of fitness models with “motivational quotes” to me.

The reason that I have a Top 3 paleo books (The Paleo Coach, It Starts With Food and Primal Connections) and not just one, is that every book has “something” and no book has it all. Sexy By Nature DOES HAVE IT ALL. Sexy By Nature takes all the most important knowledge that the author gained over time, mixed it with some solid science and research, sprinkled it with sweet bits of her personality and added a provocative title on top.)

4) Liz Wolfe’s video review at Real Food Liz.

5) Kaila Prins at In My Skinny Genes

6) Jason Seib @ Everyday Paleo (another one that brought tears to my eyes. It means the world to me to have so much of Jason’s respect.)

Short and to the point reviews:

7) Danielle Walker at Against All Grain

8) Pete’s Paleo

9) Richard Nikoley at Free the Animal

And some really beautiful reviews over on the Amazon page by incredible people like Jimmy Moore, George Bryant, Russ Crandall, Sarah Fragoso, Todd Dosenberry, and Ashley Tudor.

-But, as you have seen, this is just 9 blogger reviews! And 34 Amazon reviews.

We can do so much better. 

So I am! Here we go, ladies, to the mattresses, huzzah, huzzah!

—-

And there’s more on the way, as always!

Check out and/or review Sexy by Nature (still 27 percent off!) @ Amazon @ here.

And get some exclusive excerpts from the book – not seen anywhere else! (except in the book, duh) – at the Sexy by Nature facebook page!

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My job as a philosopher, the power of acceptance, and how to write a book – my interview with Liz Wolfe of Balanced Bites

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Blog, Podcast | 4 comments

My job as a philosopher, the power of acceptance, and how to write a book – my interview with Liz Wolfe of Balanced Bites

 

By now, you should all know who Liz Wolfe is. She’s the brilliant voice behind Cave Girl Eats (now Real Food Liz), as well as the author of Eat the Yolks.

Liz interviewed me (all on her lonesome! Usually Diane Sanfillippo accompanies) for the Balanced Bites podcast a while back, and it just went up last week.

In the podcast, we talk about:

-my life as a philosopher and what my other “career” is all about

(hint: awesome stuff)

-what I learned about myself and about the world writing Sexy by Nature 

-how writing a book is like having a baby (so I’ve heard)

-and how acceptance can salvage your relationship with your body, as well as just about everything else.

Read about it, listen, and download at the link HERE, or on the image below, at which you can also read a full transcript, which is awesome.

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(button credit: Diane Sanfilippo)

But then you don’t get to hear us laugh, which we do the whole time.

I’ve pulled some quotes, too, to give you a taste for what we sound like:

Stefani Ruper: Very thin. And these days I’m a little bit sturdier. I’m super curvier. And it really is, it feels strange to be in a differently sized body. I feel like I look a little bit more like an adult, and that isn’t to say that people who are thin look like children. {laughs} But I think I kind of did, because it wasn’t my natural shape. And I think I look healthier. And when I put myself in my skin, and when I’m at home in my body and like a partner to my body, that’s what makes me excited to be in it. That’s the very first thing I say in the book. I try to define sexy, and I’m like, sexy is excited to be in the skin you’re in. It’s a feeling. It’s owning your skin and being excited to be there. When you love your body, and you forgive it, and you accept what you need to do to make yourself healthy and you try to get there, then you can look people in the eyes, and be like, “What?”

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Stefani Ruper: {laughs} What? This is me, and I’m not apologizing for that fact, because this is what’s best for me. And people love that. Once you start doing that. Once you start just leaping, the final step in every single step by step list I make is always, you’ve just got to go do it. Because that’s going to give you the data you need. It’s going to give you the experience you need to learn how positively people respond to confidence. And it’s not at all; it’s so, so, so little about how you look. Just the tinniest, tinniest little bit. And all about how you present yourself. I don’t care how big you are, I don’t care what’s going on with your skin or your hair. It is entirely about how good and confident you feel.

——

Stefani Ruper: B) I said, in one swift and terrifying week, right? I accepted myself. Which is funny, because as true as that may be, that week was awesome, I was like, yeah, I’m doing this!

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Stefani Ruper: And then it was another; when was it, that was in early 2012. And it was still, it’s still happening. Right?

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Stefani Ruper: It’s still happening, and I have those weeks all the time, and I have good days and bad days, and also I said 10 pounds, and since then it’s probably been more like 20. Because again I’ve been doing this process over and over. And, even at that point, I was working on learning how to eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full. You know, I was working on accepting my body, but I really didn’t get… I want to say, I think I’m good at it now. I really didn’t get good at it for, I don’t know, another couple of years. You know, very close to this date. And I keep getting better. But I want to throw out there, this thing may have a certain starting point, but it doesn’t, so far as I can tell, have a certain ending point.

——-

Stefani Ruper: And I like both of them a lot. And so the whole time I’m working on this, I’m being torn in different directions, and sometimes I’m working on my philosophy work, and I’m feeling frustrated that I can’t be working on the book. And usually, it went vice-versa. And, the great Ron Swanson comes to mind here.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Stefani Ruper: Because he tells Leslie Knope that “You don’t half-ass two things, you whole-ass one thing.”

Liz Wolfe: Yes! {laughs} I love that quote.

Stefani Ruper: Yeah! And so, for a couple of years there, I was probably three-quarter assing two things.

 

And more!

Whoopah!

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Love is the New Skinny

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Blog | 17 comments

Love is the New Skinny

 

“Strong is the new skinny,” is what everyone says these days.  No longer do you have to look like a runway model! No longer do you have to starve yourself! Wow! Everyone is ecstatic.

Except not everyone is. Who isn’t? I am not. That’s because I know that “strong” means you still have to starve yourself (or at least be restrictive). And build eight pack abs on top of that. “Strong” sets an even higher standard that’s even harder to achieve. It’s unrealistic. It calls for amount of willpower. It demands an egregious amount of your time.

See “skinny”:

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fashion.info

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(Don’t argue with me: these women are skinny, okay?)

See “strong”:

(Search results from Googling “strong is the new skinny”):

strong-is-the-new-skinny

Resultswillvary.com

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superdietreviews.com

8tracks.com

8tracks.com

  breakingmuscle.com

breakingmuscle.com

 

Because when people say “strong is the new skinny” what most of them actually mean is “lean with lots of muscle” is the “new skinny.”

Not everyone distorts “strong” to mean “thin and muscled” like these women do. Some actually believe that physical strength — and not the physical, idealized body that comes from hardcore exercise — but actual physical power — is what is truly beautiful.

The inspiring shewolves of Wolf Pack Fitness are one group of incredible, powerful women like this. Many Crossfit women (hellooo Stacy Toth of paleo parents) are some others. Lots of women who do push ups or sling kettlebells in our own movement are others.

But that doesn’t stop the fact that the primary sentiment behind the “strong is the new skinny” movement is that beauty is all about the way that your body looks.

This is not an idea I like very much.

————–

What is beauty about?

Beauty–true beauty, the kind of beauty that stops your heart and makes the world go ’round–is about love.

It’s about compassion.

It’s about having the courage to affirm yourself and to affirm others on a daily basis.

It’s about daring to say yes to positivity and no to hate.

It’s about owning who you are and never backing down.

It’s about always apologizing when you should and never when you shouldn’t.

It’s about vulnerability.

It’s about the firm grip of your hand, the warmth of your hug, the welcoming light in your eyes, and the open laughter on your lips.

It is, as I have said, about love.

I highly recommend this speech by Lupita Nyong’o. What is beauty? she asks. It’s not the color of your skin, that’s for sure. It’s not your waistline. It’s your compassion. For yourself, your loved ones, and the world.

——-

If we are going to change our standards of beauty away from “skinny,” we may as well do it right and go all the way. Maybe a part of beauty is about muscles. Maybe some of it is health. Maybe it’s about your hair or your radiant skin. But maybe it’s about so much more than that.

Maybe it’s about a future in which the best, most admired, and most desired people are those with the biggest hearts.

I am more than okay with being attractive. I will continue to try to be so. I cannot help it – nothing will stop the human race from caring about aesthetic pleasure.  But being attractive is not what makes me beautiful. It is not what makes me desirable. It is one small component of who I am–only the surface of an entire, powerful being.

I will not try to be skinny. I will not even try all that hard to be strong.

But I will try to have a big heart, and to love myself, to love my family, and to love the world with the most open and daring compassion I can possibly muster.

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Community, prepare thyselves to be bombarded by a steady stream of “love is the new skinny” memes.

Please pin and share these as widely and freely as you like. Memes are, after all, the best way to share good ideas.

In fact, if you’d like to make your own, and share them on the Paleo for Women Facebook page, tweet them to @paleoforwomen, or tag me on Pinterest or Instagram, I’ll re-post them to make your voice heard.

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And my favorite:

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Sweet Plantain Guacamole by one of the world’s best human beings and paleo chefs, George Bryant

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Sweet Plantain Guacamole by one of the world’s best human beings and paleo chefs, George Bryant

 

Ladies. If you haven’t already, meet George.

George is the brilliant mastermind / chef / photographer behind Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations. He also happens to be one of my most dear friends, and one of the most open and outspoken advocates of body love in the paleo world. He struggled with body image and with bulimia for many years, and while a Marine, to boot. After Crossfitting for some time and going paleo, George found real health. He found allegiance to his body. He found radical, permanent self-love. You can listen to his story on my podcast here, or read it in his own words at his blog here.

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George makes food. But he doesn’t just make it. He creates it. He loves it. He perfects it. It’s always an enormous honor to be in his kitchen (helllooo paleo fx 2014!). He’s been blogging food and making apps and producing ebooks for years and years now, and is a pro.

And now, finally, he has joined up with the wickedly brilliant and beautiful Juli Bauer of PaleOMG to produce a hardcover, Barnes and Noble-esque cookbook called The Paleo Kitchen. 

 

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This book can be pre-ordered now, here, and I could not recommend it more highly. T’will be delivered June 10, 2014.

Also: in celebration of the book, George, Juli, and Pete Servold of Pete’s Paleo (another phenomenal paleo chef up to 1000 kinds of good in the kitchen) are teaming up to bring to you an incredible giveaway –

An all-expenses paid weekend hangout with the three of them.

George describes it like this:

A 2 night, 3 day trip to San Diego all expenses paid to hang out with us.  We will go shopping for food, cook up a storm, do some sightseeing and Crossfit if you want.  We will also be hanging out with the amazing Pete from Pete’s Paleo who will be teaching all of us how to shop at a farmers market, picking the freshest ingredients and developing a menu around them.  Pretty much, we want to make sure whoever wins has the best 3 days of their lives in San Diego and we eat lots of food with lots of laughs.  You even get to bring a friend.

All you have to do to enter is to pre-order the book from Amazon and tell George you did so @ here.

 

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So in celebration of the book and because George is kind enough to entertain my begging, he has shared his infamous Sweet Plantain Guacamole with me here to share with you.

 

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It’s easy. It’s amazing. It’s the perfect combination of fat and carbohydrates, both of which you need in order to be a fully nourished woman. And it is made, as such, as follows:

———–

Sweet Plantain Guacamole

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

———–

2 tablespoons coconut oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 large brown plantain, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons water

3 large avocados, cut in half, pits removed

¼ medium white onion, finely chopped (30 grams)

handful of cilantro, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno

juice of ½ lime

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

salt and pepper, to taste

———-

Place a small skillet over medium heat and add the coconut oil.

Once the coconut oil is hot, add half of the garlic to the pan along with diced plantain.

When the plantain dice begin to brown, salt them, and then flip to brown on other side.

Add the water to the pan and cover to steam the plantain. Once the plantain dice are soft, remove

from the heat and let cool.

While the plantain finishes cooking, scoop out the insides of the pitted avocados and add to a

large bowl to mash. Mash up the avocado with a fork. Add the onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime

juice, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. Mix well, then fold in the plantains. Chill in the

refrigerator before serving.

———-

And tada!

Brilliant. Simple.  Huzzah.

So remember, friends:

George. The Paleo Kitchen. Epic Giveaway for a weekend of learning and cooking and hanging with George, Juli, and Pete at George’s blog. Ends April 9!

 

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Body Love and Botticelli: How Ancient Art Gave Samantha (more of) the Power to Love Herself

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Blog, Body Image | 1 comment

Body Love and Botticelli: How Ancient Art Gave Samantha (more of) the Power to Love Herself

 

When I was 18 years old, I lived in Beijing for six months. It was… epic. For a lot of reasons. Least of which being all the beer pong. The nudist protest I made in a Chinese bar. Hiking the Great Wall.

Okay, maybe the Great Wall goes first.

Anyway.

Beijing was also my first experience in a world class museum. The Beijing version of the MET had an entire exhibit devoted to medieval and rennaissance depictions of women…. and I fell in love.

Being slightly overweight, young, in college, and feeling badly about myself but not understanding the worlds of body image, sexism, disordered eating, and the like…. when I saw paintings that glorified bodies that looked less like American ideals… bodies that were softer, pudgier, rollier, versions of American ideals – I realized just how deeply beauty norms are conditioned by societal preferences.

I realized that my body was worthwhile.

I realized that American norms didn’t get to tell me if I was beautiful or not (neither do the Greek or Italian ones, of course.)

I fell in love with ancient art that muggy afternoon in Beijing.

One of our community members, Samantha Williams, who is a beautiful woman and poet and soul and fire – has reflected on the same experience to a remarkable degree. I asked her if she would be willing to write a short piece for our blog that discussed her transformation and relationship to the art, and this is what she delivered.

So Samantha….

—————– 

“You could be a sister of the Graces,” my friend told me as we stood examining a print taken from Botticelli’s Venus and the Three Graces Presenting Gifts to a Young Woman.

 

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Botticelli, detail from Venus and the Three Graces

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Presenting Gifts to a Young Woman (1483-1486)

 

Although I could have deflected this compliment by mentioning numerous dissimilarities (for example, my face is much too round), instead I smiled and said, “Thank you.”  In general, my friend appreciates my appearance more than I do.  It is not my job to try to make his taste conform to mine.  Arguing would diminish his enjoyment and deprive me of the chance to bask in the glow of his sincere regard.

 

Sometimes it is easier to see myself as beautiful when I look through someone else’s eyes.

 

Intrigued by the figures in the painting, I went online the next day to learn more about the Graces, minor Greco-Roman goddesses of beauty, joy, and abundance.  My search for pictures of the mythical trio soon brought me to Botticelli’s Primavera.

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Botticelli, detail from Primavera (c. 1482)

I admired the easy flow of the dancing Graces.  And I noticed their curves.

Then I moved on to other representations.  While the body types varied, it seemed obvious that in each case, the artist felt that the women he had portrayed were beautiful.

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First-century fresco

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Raphael, 1504-1505

 Italian fresco, c. 1519

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Jacques Blanchard, Venus and the Three Graces Surprised by a Mortal (1631-1633)

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Peter Paul Rubens, 1635

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Carle van Loo, 1763

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French painting, c. 1765

Jean-Baptiste Regnault, 1797-1798

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Antonio Canova, 1814-1817

My quick search for depictions of Venus, goddess of beauty and love, also began with Botticelli.

 

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Botticelli, detail from Primavera (c. 1482)

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Botticelli, The Birth of Venus (1486)

 

I was particularly drawn to Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus because the goddess’s face is similar to mine, and I have spent more time bemoaning my “fat cheeks” than complaining about any other body part.  Like many of the other portraits I found, this one illustrates that the six-pack is not the only abdominal ideal.

 

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Giorgione, Sleeping Venus (c. 1510)

 

When I imagine myself among this company of beautiful women as another finely crafted showpiece in the human gallery, I want to treat my body with the love, respect, and care worthy of a work of art.

 

I suspect that these images of Venus and the Graces exercise their power not merely through the way they look, but also through the way they make the artist and the viewer feel.  The degree of appreciation is influenced by the attitudes of both the model and the perceiver.

 

When interacting with people or viewing pictures, we can apply a propensity to objectify, criticize, and find fault, or we can bring a disposition to accept, empathize, and celebrate.  I have noticed that my impressions of how my friends look are infused by my affection for them and by my memories of the times we have spent together.  I have come to associate their physical appearances with their characteristic traits of ability, intellect, and imagination.  Since paintings and sculptures often represent composite images created over multiple sittings with the goal of eliciting particular reflections and responses, such artworks may come closer than most photographs to approximating this deeply subjective dimension of human experience.

 

For me, exploring visions of beauty from other periods and places has reinforced the lesson that a woman who exudes vitality and delight can be attractive no matter what her shape.  We can all seek the beauty in others and share our unique graces with the world.

 

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