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Jul/Aug 18 - Milk & Honey > Women’s bodies and nature

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message 1: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 42 comments I’m intrigued by how much Rupi Kaur uses nature to represent women’s bodies or portraying female bodies as intrinsically connected to nature.

Is this empowering? At first I thought yes it is but I worry that she is potentially alienating trans women or even women who don’t have ‘typical’ female bodies or don’t celebrate the natural feminine form.

I also wonder if it’s just feeding into a stereotype, or is she using this stereotype in a positive way?

Any thoughts?


message 2: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1091 comments Mod
Hmmm. I don't see it as alienating.

Could you give an example?


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 17, 2018 09:43AM) (new)

May I ask a question: aren't females and males, men and women intrinsically comnected to nature?
Maybe she is only taking the example of women but could we extend it to other genders? :)

Sorry I am writing questions not answers :)


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 17, 2018 12:59PM) (new)

Emma wrote: "Florian wrote: "May I ask a question: aren't females and males, men and women intrinsically comnected to nature?
Maybe she is only taking the example of women but could we extend it to other gender..."


Ok, I see your point and I agree with you :) I guess I was not clear enough, I meant that maybe being intrinsically connected to nature does not depend on your sex or gender :)
I think my thought is more clearly transcripted now or maybe not, who knows ^^

Then we could argue that physically people are less connected in some societies but spiritually some of them still are etc... well many points to condiser I suppose. Another question: What is nature? Is it animal kingdom, vegetal kingdom, element kingdom (wind, water, earth so inorganic kingdom) etc...?
Sorry I am overthinking :O


message 5: by Pam (last edited Aug 17, 2018 09:15PM) (new)

Pam | 1091 comments Mod
Arthur wrote: "Ellen wrote: "I’m intrigued by how much Rupi Kaur uses nature to represent women’s bodies or portraying female bodies as intrinsically connected to nature.

Is this empowering? At first I thought y..."


Trolls like Florian? I think you are mistaken. Florian is one of the more congenial and pleasant individuals on this forum who often finds grace in all conversations.

I would like you to apologize.


message 6: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 42 comments Just as one example page 169 where the images depicts a very curvaceous female figure and the poem is very heterocentric.
Other poems celebrate the female form especially breasts and genitalia as natural - which could well be alientating if you have body image issues or weren’t born female but identify as a woman.

Personally I find comfort in the celebration of female bodies but I always try to consider other perspectives when I read anything.


message 7: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 42 comments Arthur wrote: "Ellen wrote: "I’m intrigued by how much Rupi Kaur uses nature to represent women’s bodies or portraying female bodies as intrinsically connected to nature.

Is this empowering? At first I thought y..."


Arthur this isn’t a dissertation - I don’t need to ‘work with it’ to generate a discussion. I object to the fact that my thinking is ‘nebulous’ - I clearly presented my question. If you needed more to go on then you should have simply asked for an example like others did.


message 8: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 42 comments Emma wrote: "One thing it reminds me of is how the artist Georgia O'Keeffe often painted nature (lots of flowers) that also looked very similar to vulvas. Her flower paintings often reminded me of connecting fe..."

Great connection Emma! I agree I think it’s very similar


message 9: by Ellen (new)


message 10: by Pam (last edited Aug 20, 2018 03:05PM) (new)

Pam | 1091 comments Mod
Ellen wrote: "Just as one example page 169 where the images depicts a very curvaceous female figure and the poem is very heterocentric.
Other poems celebrate the female form especially breasts and genitalia as n..."


Ah I see what you mean. I suppose that's goes to the heart of the transgender idealogy and it's inclusion into feminism thought.

I.e as cis women can we openly discuss the body that comes with us since birth?

- as your article points out, many cis women have body issues. Some of us hate our bodies because of an ideal we are chasing. Some of us love our bodies so as a testament to a confident love. And some are as the article mentioned- body neutral who haven't been blown away or apart by our forms. (I'm in this category)

I would say, and please correct me if this is an oversimplification, that one of the reasons why trans women convert is because they too are trying to chase that ideal womanly form. If their being screams be soft, be round, be curvy, as the "ideal" Venus then I think they may latch on to this identity.

And that's where the two ideals struggle. I think. Feminism gets to say that you can be flat, chesty, thick, thin, large, small, love handled - any body type and still be a woman. You can be a tomboy, a girly girl, or anything in-between and you're fine. There isn't one ideal woman. It's a spectrum. Whereas one part of the trans movement says to be a woman is to be pretty and where dresses or be soft and curvy or the stereotypes lauded to women currently. I.e to be a woman is to be an ideal. ( This is my interpretation, so please help me if I'm way off base)

Sorry long post: summary- is it wrong for cis women to write good things about their cis gender body, impo- no. Because I think the number of people in the body positive movement is in the minority for anyone who counts herself as female be they cis or trans


message 11: by Ellen (new)

Ellen | 42 comments Pam wrote: "Ellen wrote: "Just as one example page 169 where the images depicts a very curvaceous female figure and the poem is very heterocentric.
Other poems celebrate the female form especially breasts and ..."


I definitely understand where you are coming from - it’s a really complex issue and I think there will be a wide range of different attitudes around it throughout both cis and trans women.

I absolutely don’t see it as ‘wrong’ to write in this way. I personally identify with it a lot. However I am just aware that it is not a positive connection for everyone.

Just as another example Sara Pascoe’s Animal was hugely interesting for me in terms of explaining why women’s bodies have evolved the way they have - it gave me comfort to know that wide hips and body fat are natural and have a purpose. Yet I have friends who are very self conscious about the fact that they don’t have curvy hips and are very flat chested. So despite having model worthy figures they worry about their body being unfeminine, therefore Pascoe’s book, and presumably some of Kaur’s poetry may only reinforce the idea that their bodies aren’t naturally womanly enough.

I would add that in addition to what is covered in the article, there’s a fourth category which is a love/hate one - meaning women’s feelings about their bodies are highly complex and changeable on a practically momentary basis.


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 18, 2018 07:15PM) (new)

Ok, I am a man so I cannot speak that much about this topic not because I do not want but because I am missing so many information and I am kind of stranger to that specific subject (when you are not involved in a situation it may be difficult to see the full landscape).
However, in The Sun and Her Flowers I do remember that Rupi Kaur talks about "beauty myth" and related topics. I do not have any examples in the top of my mind and my copy is in my lab (no I do not read at work unless it is past 8pm and I want to do a break ;) ).
Once again I cannot write that much about this topic but I am drinking your words with great interest :)

Ps: I feel it may be quite difficult to cover everything and even if one has the feeling she/he is doing a descent work by including every single thing she/he is thinking of, some points are definitely missing. I am also thinking that we tend to write/talk first about what we know the most. Possibly I am wrong ^^


message 13: by Amy (new)

Amy | 1 comments I have struggled with body issues my entire life. I battled bulimia in my younger days and, while I am past the physical destruction, I still struggle with my mind. I find this work very freeing. I don’t know any women who do not hate something about their bodies. And yes, we are built differently from men for very good reasons. Our bodies do not have to look like a 10 yr old boy’s. Ideally, a 10 yr old boy with huge breasts. Men have owned us, controlled us and told us what our bodies should look like. I wish all women could value themselves for our wonderful qualities and not one of them, the way we look. I am sorry the author had to endure the things that she did but I am so thankful she has gotten past them. Thank you for writing this wonderful collection.


message 14: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Roscigno | 10 comments Love it too!


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