When I stumbled across a screen shot of Margot Starbuck‘s book “Unsqueezed: Springing Free From Skinny Jeans, Nose Jobs, Highlights and Stilettos,” I knew I had to have a copy. So I did what any book-addicted sexual intimacy blogger would do. I contacted her and begged for a copy to review. (She obliged. After all, who really wants an annoying blogger begging for anything?)
My disclaimer right up here near the top is that Margot herself admittedly hates the words “body image.” (Sorry Margot… I had to throw it in the headline so I could capture women’s attention. Sounds kind of ironic put that way — that I am trying to capture someone’s attention with how something appears.)
Truth be told, many women confide in me that “body image” is what often sabotages sexual intimacy in their marriage. It is a big deal to a lot of wives, many of whom question their desirability in the eyes of their husbands. As a writer and speaker on sexual intimacy, I can’t help but look closer at anything written on this topic.
Suffice to say, this book is irresistibly good. Margot peels back the layers of our fixation on our bodies — and the toll such fixation takes (not just on us individually, but on a grander human scale as well). And just when I thought she had taken me as far as I really thought I could handle, she edges a bit further. Always a sign of a good writer.
Take a gander at these words of wisdom:
“I’m not even convinced that our beauty matters to God quite as much as we think it does. It seems like we’re the ones who get all jazzed about the importance of our own appearances, whether outer or inner. Then most of us just end up stuck, jammed somewhere between the culture’s unattainable standard of outer beauty — which is so very easy to buy into — and the pat assurance that God thinks we’re knockouts on the inside — which, if we’re honest, is actually much harder to believe.
“I’m just afraid that when we put all our eggs in the beauty basket, even the spiritual eggs, we miss the big point of what God has in mind for these bodies. God just seems to be dealing in an entirely different currency than we’ve been working with, until now, when it comes to the value and purpose of bodies.”
Exceptionally conversational in her writing style, Margot probably couldn’t hide her realness if she tried. My ears and heart migrate toward this kind of authenticity faster than a 6-year-old can suck down a Slurpee. On the flip side, when I meet or read about people who try to convince me they “have it all together,” I make mental notes to never have lunch with them. Or be in prison with them. I’m just saying — I can relate to realness. I think you can too.
So kudos to Margot for keeping it real, not afraid to bare her own insecurities about her body and appearance. I was laughing out loud when she mused about the irony of obsessing over what she was going to wear to a particular speaking engagement — where she would be encouraging women to not get hung up on how they look. Priceless humility and humor all wrapped into one delicious bite.
Margot compels you to look beyond your own circumstances and to entertain the idea that there are more significant matters at hand than society-defined hotness. Her heart for the marginalized in society — locally and globally — emerges throughout the book. She stirred dialogue in my head that I don’t even think was on my radar.
“We realize liberation as we embrace, with our bodies, the thing for which they were made: relationship. Can you even imagine a world in which the importance given to our appearance fades beside the shiny real purpose of our bodies, which is being in relationship with God and others?”
That, my dear friends, is on page 18 of the 235-page book. Yeah, it’s that good. In another instance, she points out how Jesus himself was not particularly concerned with his own appearance.
“Instead of attracting us with the good looks, there was something else about this guy that drew people to himself. There was something about the way he moved through the world. This is certainly true in my own encounter with Christ. His gaze and his ear were already tilted in my direction. I didn’t have to tap him on the shoulder to get his attention, or get all dolled up, or make any embarrassing phone call I’d later regret. What attracted me to Jesus was finding out that, in his sacrificial love, he was already for me.”
My only disappointment about this book is the title Unsqueezed. (I know. It’s a very minor disappointment). The more I read the book, the more I hungered for a title that captured the tremendous depth lingering just behind the cover. (Sorry Margot. I’m not sure if you or a fancy marketing guru penned the term Unsqueezed).
Obviously, the title is not a deal breaker. My encouragement to all of you (whether you struggle with your appearance or not) is to snag a copy of Margot’s book. And if you know of other women who are in the heat of this battle, will you buy them a copy? Maybe you and a bunch of your friends could read it together.
Check back here at my blog in a few days, okay?(I think you can do that RSS-thingy in the upper right side of this page, so you won’t miss a thing). I begged Margot for a guest post, which will be coming up soon. (Yes, she obliged me on this too. See how annoying I can be?! You’ll be glad I asked, cuz the post is really really good. Stay tuned.)
Copyright 2010, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.
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8 thoughts on “Battling Body Image? Read “Unsqueezed””
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I know first hand how body image (sorry for using the term) can get in the way of sexual intimacy. Fear and shame are such powerful forces and make intimacy impossible – and not just sexual intimacy either. And we know that fear and shame never come from God. The defeat of our negative view of ourselves (whether it be inside or out) comes from having our minds transformed concerning who we really are and who God sees us to be. I believe a husband should also play a key role in combatting those negative voices their wives hear every day. Perhaps, as the author of this book poses, we should get past our preoccupation and hang-ups with physical beauty, but until that becomes a reality, husbands need to be vocal in their admiration for their wives’ beauty.
It’s interesting that one of my most-viewed posts ever was the one that I did on this topic many months ago.(http://surrenderedmarriage.blogspot.com/2010/06/body-image-battle.html) In it I encourage husbands to daily go head to head with the forces that accuse and shame their wives daily. It still gets a lot of hits.
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On the other hand, as Aristotle would have said, all things in moderation. While it is bad to obsess over one’s appearance, it is equally bad to completely let oneself go. A husband can scarcely be blamed for losing interest in his wife if she isn’t making the slightest effort to take care of her appearance and fitness (and the same is true going the other way, of course).
I’ve seen some women reject the importance of “body image” so forcefully that they seem to think their husbands are obliged to find them attractive no matter how little effort they put in, no matter how many pounds they gain, no matter what they wear or how they groom themselves. The husband is expected to “look past all that”, and I think that’s an unreasonable expectation.
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Just found your website today, and I love it. But I do want to say that the title of Margot Starbuck’s book is not a “disappointment.” I think that “Unsqueezed” means just what it says–NOT forced into skinny jeans, nose jobs, highlights, and stilettos BY THE WORLD (& Satan)! If we as women would resist more of the media’s obsessive reporting on whatever is the latest way to change us, we could counter the hold that Satan has on us and our “body image.” (Which, being in my 60s and post-menopausal, I struggle with often.) I hope to read her book soon!
Thanks K.D. for the comment! Appreciate you stopping by!
Blessings to you as you read Margot’s book… it’s fabulous!!
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