Whilst I'm shut away in my room with my nose in books and the smell of coffee constantly lingering in the air, I've had little time to even think about writing a blog post, but whilst revising for my exam on the representation of women in Hawthorne's short story 'The Birthmark' and also re-watching the film Romance for my 2,500 word film essay, I got thinking about how women feel about their physical appearance and what kind of affect partners can have on this.
I don't usually discuss this kind of topic but whilst it's January and body image seems to be on the mind of almost everyone, I thought it'd be something a bit different that could get a discussion going.
In both the texts I've been studying, the women don't have much respect for themselves, particularly the protagonist of Romance, who feels physically unloved by her boyfriend and allows other men to objectify her, yet constantly criticises the way in which men treat her. I found this pretty ironic but perhaps it's just something I don't understand. Marie (the protagonist) blames her boyfriend's constant rejection of her sexual advances for her self-loathing and the disconnection she feels from her body, and Georgiana in 'The Birthmark' chooses to have her birthmark removed because her husband sees it as 'the sole token of human imperfection' - she was happy to do this because her husband loved her soul, he just didn't love her for her looks, and she of course, wanted to be perfect for him.
My questions, influenced by these two texts, are: do you feel your perception of your body rests upon how a male feels about it? Do you change things for a partner because it's what he likes? If your partner told you about a flaw or imperfection that had never bothered you before, would you do something about it to make them happy? And visa versa for males too, would you change for your partner?
I know in the past if a boyfriend has liked something I do with my hair, I do it more often, or if he doesn't like a piece of clothing I own, I wear it less often. I once stopped wearing quite so much make up for a boyfriend who liked 'natural' girls who later criticised me for 'no longer making an effort'.
So, when do you think changing the little things about yourself to please a partner becomes too much?
If this post appears to have somewhat of a feminist flair to it, it's proof that my revision is truly submersing me. Which, on the plus side, means it's working!