The political power of your body

Defending the unmodified body

We all feel pressure for our bodies to look a certain way: 70% of women say they feel pressure to have a perfect body, and two thirds of men feel ashamed of how they look. However, those pressures don’t affect everyone equally. The standards by which our bodies are judged reflect and reinforce other unjust societal hierarchies. Furthermore, the failure to adhere to society’s beauty standards is often interpreted as a deeper failure of character, encompassing our entire identity. By being aware of the sources of these pressures we can remind ourselves that the unmodified body is valuable just as it is, writes Clare Chambers.


Which part of your body would you most like to change?

Most of us have an easy answer to this question. Perhaps it’s your buttocks or thighs, your belly or nose; do you want fewer wrinkles, different hair? In fact, if someone were to answer “nothing, I’m perfect just as I am” we’d likely dismiss them as arrogant or comp

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation