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Watching Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story got me thinking about how we view/deform our bodies and this continual theme in the class of real vs true.  In the film, the narrator described anorexia as seeing the self differently and unsatisfactory to what the self actually looks like, causing a lack of eating or other means of looking “ideal.”  I thought this was fascinating in terms of how Karen’s story was presented, through dolls.  So like Karen, we as viewers never actually see what she truly looks like, and reduce the body to plastic figures to dress, manipulate, etc.  There is a clear separation between real and true for us a viewers, we know Karen was not a doll, but it provides insight into Karen’s world and society standards and her desire of real to be true (and her anorexia keeping these two from ever uniting).

This also got me thinking about how we never truly see our own bodies in their entirety.  We look down and see our chests, stomachs, legs and feet at a skewed angle; we look in mirrors that warp; we examine pictures that distort.  But since it’s as close as we can get to knowing what we look like, we accept it, analyze the false image that we see, and sometimes shape our lives around it.  As someone who loves fitness and has been transforming my health over the past few years, I understand how easy it is to trust these false images.  It’s so hard to live life to feel good with the temptation of appeasing the mirror or camera.  Yes, photos and reflections are similar and helpful in assessing our physical state, but they’re just not true.  They capture a fleeting temporality affected by lighting, surroundings, quality of glass/lens, etc., displayed in 2 dimensions.  And just as we hate to be judged from one sentence we said in class, one message we sent online, that one time we tripped in the middle of campus, we should also hate to judge ourselves from that one photo, those 5 seconds in the mirror.  When we make these negative judgments of our physicality, we comfort ourselves by distracting from our current physicality–I’ll start going to the gym more often; I won’t have dessert the rest of this week.  But maybe it would be more productive to acknowledge how our physical view of ourselves is incomplete.  Like there is more to my mind than this blog post, there’s more to my body than how I looked in the mirror this morning.  The reality of the body is action, dynamics, movement, growth, decay, molecules, interior, exterior, forwards, backwards, up, down…  And a mirror, picture, or film cannot capture this.

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