Monday, April 11, 2011


Most people have at least one body part that causes them to feel insecure. I have such an insecurity too and I have always kept it secret. Two people in the entire world know about it. I would have shared it more often if only I didn't know that whenever I do share it, people tend to laugh and dismiss it.

My insecurity has to do with the shape of my head. (And no, it isn't funny.) It is a very weird shape, folks. Of course, I'm lucky in that I have quite a lot of hair, so I just cover it up. The only hair-style that manages to cover the weird head shape successfully is having my hair down, so I hardly ever wear it any other way. 

More often than not, people have a scale in their head against which they measure whether one's insecurities are considered reasonable. Everything that has to do with weight takes pride of place on the insecurity scale. It is considered absolutely normal and even necessary to be insecure about one's weight being too high, too low, too moderate, etc. Noses and ears also make for acceptable sources of insecurity. The eyes, cheeks and foreheads are, however, much less acceptable in this sense. (Have you ever heard anybody say they were insecure about their forehead?)

I'm actually seriously bothered by the weird shape of my head. Nobody takes my insecurity seriously, though.


Pagan Topologist said...

I have known one other person with such an insecurity. At one time, he might have called it a worry that his health was at risk. because of his head shape.

Clarissa said...

Does a weird head shape put one's health at risk? I never thought about such a possibility.

Pagan Topologist said...

I don't think so, but the person I mentioned did think so for quite some time. He was worried that pressure on his brain could cause problems.

Tim said...

Maybe it can have an effect when wearing helmets. I don't think manufacturers produce helmets to fit for not-so-average headforms.

I have ugly feet, by the way.

Pagan Topologist said...

I have beautiful feet. They do not look like anyone else's of course. They are very wide (EEEEEE) in front and very narrow (A) at the heel

Clarissa said...

Mine are nothing to write home about. My husband's, though, are very special. I always tell him that his feet betray him as a very kind person. Only kind people have this type of feet.

Rimi said...

It's funny you say that, Clarissa (and your readers apparently agree), that most people have a bidy part they're insecure about. This idea is completely alien to me, and to my culture in as much as I know it. People will tut-tut over things that are usually considered deformities, like a shortened foot, or our erstwhile neighbour who had a small lump of flesh overhanging his left eye, and of course the entire family will moan about how a child runs about in the sun too much and is losing his/her lovely complexion, but that's not what you mean, right?

What exactly DO you mean? I really am not quite clear.

Clarissa said...

I think that this is part of the Western mind-body divide where people see themselves as inhabiting their bodies as if they were houses. These bodies do not form a whole with the minds of people. Rather, they are imperfect domiciles that we inhabit and whose imperfections we bemoan.

el said...

Rimi, it would be very interesting to hear more about body-mind relationship in your culture. Don't women in India get cultural messages "be beautiful", "be thin", "use make-up and even plastic surgery to combat signs of aging or giving birth"? Even "be thin" message alone is bound to create insecurities.

Clarissa recently wrote about Russian and Ukrainian cultures. I know about Feminist Blog Carnivals, but haven't heard about Cultural Exchange one.

Clarissa, I now got another idea for a post: body-mind relationship in Western vs other cultures. What does/would a different view mean at all and would it necessary mean more body variety acceptance? The answer to the latter is "no", I guess. F.e. instead of saying "beautiful mind in a bad house" people could say "it shows who he is inside too"(?) Can't think of better example now.

If body as imperfect house idea was created by Christianity, was there ever a period in Western civilization, when a different view prevailed?

Rimi said...

"These bodies do not form a whole with the minds of people. Rather, they are imperfect domiciles that we inhabit and whose imperfections we bemoan."

Are you serious! Goodness. I find that very very amusing But having seen first hand the crazy thinness drive in the west, amusement seems an inapproriate response, somehow.

El, I nearly started typing out a response, but it's going to be long and full of 'well, as far as I know's. Perhaps, if Clarissa is interested, I might send her a few paragraphs on the subject, and she can publish it here as a guest post.

Clarissa said...

If the thinness obsession was bad in the US, in Latin America and former USSR countries it is a lot worse, It just goes to extremely crazy lengths.

Of course, I'd love a guest post from you.