Archive for the ‘Sociology of the Body 2013’ Category

“My body is ____ to myself”

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Whether or not we care to admit it, our bodies portray—sometimes incorrectly—certain characteristics about ourselves to others.  Physical traits such as race, hair style, body type, and gender can convey your socioeconomic status or personality. These physical traits can also impact your self-esteem and influence the power you have over others. For example, most people view attractive people as more successful, intelligent, and powerful than those who fail to adhere to the standard definition of beauty/attractiveness. Researchers, like Ricciardelli, have shown that people value their appearance and are usually less confident when they feel unattractive. Every day we are concerned with and obsess over our appearance. Consequently, our bodies have become a fragmented commodity to commercial enterprises. When we do not fit society’s definition of beauty, we have the ability to correct many of the characteristics we deem imperfect. Additionally, if we want to express our identity, we can change many of our physical traits.

The statement “My body is ___ to myself” is a great way to begin thinking sociologically about the human body.  When I first started thinking about this statement, I wasn’t sure how I was going to fill in the blank.  Masculinity, Consumerism, and Appearance: A Look at Men’s Hair by Rosemary Ricciardelli helped me organize my thoughts regarding how we view the body form a sociological standpoint. I have decided that “my body is like a puzzle to myself.” I chose to compare my body to a puzzle because I feel that some of my physical traits (the puzzle pieces) symbolize something about my personality. These traits represent the puzzle’s border. I think my other less obvious characteristics (like my beliefs or odd sense of humor) complete the puzzle to illustrate an accurate picture of my “true” personality.