Friday, March 29, 2013

Conscious Construction and Leg Shaving

In some schools of Zen, including ours, people talk of "conscious construction," that our entire world as we know it is entirely constructed by our mind.  You can get really deep into the analyses of this idea but at a most basic level it makes sense right?  We can never truly be in someone else's shoes, ours are the only ones that fit.  A great example is that if you ask several people how they remember a certain event they all attended together, they will all say something different.  Or if you feel one way about something that happened to you, chances are you will feel different about it 5 minutes later, 5 hours later, 5 days later, etc. and this has nothing to do with the event changing, you changed.  We bring all of our past (karma) into every moment and it colors what we see.

Bear with me here as I shine this light on the topic of feminism, sex and looking cute (yes I am a little obsessed with these topics lately).  I was talking with my husband about dressing sexy and wanting to look cute.  We may have different perspectives...I think I believe that the experience and pressures of appearance are different for men than women (some may disagree with me and that's cool).  Which brings me to one of my points of personal inquiry: what do I do with the specific baggage that comes along with being me and a woman?  When I want to look "cute" is this simply what men (and other women) have been telling me since I was born ("oh what a beautiful little girl you are!").  Is it possible to look cute, express myself in a way I feel good about, that isn't about being better than other women, consuming (buying and wearing) products made in sweatshops or trying to please some other group by "selling" my body and what it can do for someone?  As humans, how important is it to feel accepted and what does appearance have to do with it?

If I have large breasts does that mean I can never wear anything tight because it is provoking someone and their pornographic fantasy?  Now this may be too much information but what about leg shaving?  As many of you know, I haven't been shaving my legs for quite some time now.  One of the reasons is that it's time consuming, another is, why get rid of something I was born with, another is a big F*** you to people say women who don't shave are manly and unattractive.  BUT I am not at the point where I do it because I think it looks good....(blush, shame) It's easy not to worry about it in the winter cuz I always wear pants but as summer (bathingsuit season) comes I get a little anxious.  I am an Italian woman, which means I have dark hair and a good amount of it and I am not totally comfortable in a bathingsuit.  Now what do I do with that?  Who wants to be stared at, mostly by men, and looked upon with open disgust?  What makes me care about people who act like that?!?!?  

So I have this world view that is consciously constructed by my own mind and includes mainstream ideals of attractiveness.  I have a lifetime of baggage (ie. social feedback) about what is acceptable and what is not.  The wild card is how much control do I have over what I assimilate and what I reject.

The Feminist Current has a great blog post that sort of inspired this post in thinking about how all this objectifying continues.  This is a quote from the post, I definitely recommend you check it out.
"...women shouldn’t have to be sexy and naked in order to get the attention of the media (yet they do) and that this just perpetuates the idea that women are to-be-looked-at. Why do women (and not men) need use their “sexy” bodies to bring about awareness to serious issues like homophobia, dictatorship, sexism and racism?."


  1. Mother Nature has had a plan that has been in place for quite some time. The plan has been scrutinized by humans for quite sometime. The plan has been interpreted differently by many of these same humans. As examples: those who follow Islam; those who are Christian, those who are uneducated primitives, and Buddhists. Analyzing differences among these interpretations has provided fodder for philosophers and priests and monks and imams for quite sometime.
    As science continues to advance, many associated questions will no doubt be answered, a few will cause unease among these practitioners, to be sure.
    By the way, are those vegan dogs? And are the sisters twins?

  2. Memory and memories. As you say, people's memories of similar events can vary quite a bit. Science seems to agree with your interpretation. What is memory? A reconstruction, our own? Defense attorneys have paved the way for much of the way we "look" at memories, from a legal point of view.
    The "eyewitness" has proven so unreliable as to be almost useless for a prosecutor's case against any alleged perpetrator. After a few questions, the eye witness becomes confused, and often recants his statement. It is becoming increasingly clear that memories are,in fact, constructs, our own personal construct of events,etc, observed or 'sensed' in the course of daily experience.
    Soon, science will provide the basis for real memory, which then will be able to be manipulated even more than we do ourselves. Sounds exciting to me. I've been accused of having a very good(accurate) memory of long ago events; but now, I doubt those memories. That is a bit difficult.