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Body

  • Having a lean and hungry look was frowned upon in my Italian neighborhood where a girl was considered too skinny if she could make her knees touch.

  • She was short and round, and looked like someone whose eating habits had long ago outstripped any fat-burning activities.

  • His main problem was apparently whether to wear his belt above or below his paunch. Above was said to indicate optimism, below a sign of depression.

  • Mr. Richards is a tall man with what must have been a magnificent build before his stomach went in for a career of its own.

  • ... I've got a stomach now as well as a behind. And I mean — well, you can't pull it in both ways, can you? ... I've made it a rule to pull in my stomach and let my behind look after itself.

  • I do think we should be provided with a new body about the age of thirty or so when we have learnt to attend to it with consideration.

  • The grossest form of this injury of the body to ornament it, is in tattooing. Next, the piercing the ear all around its rim, piercing the nose and the lips to introduce rings or bars of jewelry ...

  • You washed those parts quickly, without looking at them. They had no names. Good people were required to refer to them with prepositions, rather than straightforwardly with nouns, as with decent things like tables and chairs. 'Down there.' 'In between.' 'Behind.'

  • ... everything from television to fashion ads has made it seem wicked to cast a shadow. This wild emaciated look appeals to some women, though not to many men, who are seldom seen pinning up a Vogue illustration in a machine shop.

  • Mary first met us in the avenue. She looked so fat and well that we were made very happy by the sight of her ...

    • Dorothy Wordsworth,
    • 1802, in William Knight, ed., Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, vol. 1 ()
  • Not one woman over seventeen has any faith in her skin tone, and no woman over thirty can ever regard her upper arms with equanimity.

  • We have no faith in ourselves. I have never met a woman who, deep down in her core, really believes she has great legs. And if she suspects that she might have great legs, then she's convinced that she has a shrill voice and no neck.

  • He's got so many love handles he needs a bookmark to find his shorts.

  • Throughout their lives, women try to pummel their bodies into some phantom ideal shape that exists only with a lot of airbrushing. ... I don't blame men for this. Men seem to go for us no matter what size and shape we are. I blame capitalism. No, really. The consumer must constantly be in a state of anxious low self-esteem so that she will constantly buy lipsticks and girdles to make her feel cuter.

  • The body is wiser than its inhabitants. The body is the soul. We ignore its aches, its pains, its eruptions, because we fear the truth. The body is God's messenger.

  • Flesh is merely a lesson. We learn it & pass on.

  • It is eleven Year since I have seen my Figure in a Glass. The last Refflection I saw there was so disagreable, I resolv'd to spare my selfe such mortifications for the Future ...

  • ... it's perfectly possible to hate one's fat and to love one's body at the same time.

  • How do you think it would feel to be obliged to ask for a seat-belt extender on an airplane? For the unfashionably bulgy, life is a series of small humiliations.

  • The body's language is stronger than sounds shaped by the tongue and teeth.

  • And I believe that the physical is the geography of the being.

  • The body, after all, older and wiser than soul, being first created, and, like a good horse, if given its way would go home by the best path and at the right pace.

  • ... the body is simple as a turtle / and straight as a dog: / the body cannot lie.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "A shadow play for guilt," To Be of Use ()
  • For nothing like the weary step / Betrays the weary heart.

  • If you'll let me have my way first with the sick bodies ... you can have your way later with their souls. That's only fair and right; though I shall have the advantage of you, the bodies being existences in actual fact and the souls mere figments of your imagination.

  • ... a woman obsessed with her body is also obsessed with the limitations of her emotional life.

  • Whenever women have made any social gains, whether it's being accepted as athletes or moving into the professions, it's going to be contradicted with an image of woman as small, diminished, reduced, brought back to a childish body. The result is that a lot of extraordinary power is going to be diverted into making oneself smaller than one is meant to be.

    • Kim Chernin,
    • in Natalie Angier, "Fashion's Waif Look Makes Strong Women Weep," The New York Times ()
  • The mind and the heart sometimes get another chance, but if anything happens to the poor old human frame, why, it's just out of luck, that's all.

  • Quite early in life they had acquired rolls of flesh at the back of their necks and round their hips, and middle age brought them a lumpish look as if they had been stuffed by an unskillful upholsterer.

    • Rebecca West,
    • "On a Form of Nagging," in Time and Tide ()
  • A curved line is the loveliest distance between two points.

  • these hips are big hips / ... / they don't like to be held back. / these hips have never been enslaved, / they go where they want to go / they do what they want to do. / these hips are mighty hips. / these hips are magic hips.

  • Oh, darling, let your body in, / let it tie you in, / in comfort.

    • Anne Sexton,
    • "Little Girl, My String Bean, My Lovely Woman," Live or Die ()
  • My body, now that we will not be traveling together much longer / I begin to feel a new tenderness toward you, very raw and unfamiliar, / like what I remember of love when I was young --.

  • Don't talk to me about gravity. When I get out of bed in the morning, I have to be careful not to step on my breasts.

  • I started to experience what I call the Seven Dwarfs of menopause: Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleepy, Bloated, Forgetful, and All-Dried-Up.

  • So the legs are little short, the knees maybe knock a little but who listens?

  • Show me a woman content with her figure and I'll show you a seven-year-old girl. Everybody else is engaged in the war against flab.

  • ... her large hips fluttered as if a bird, imprisoned in her pelvis was attempting flight.

  • Coulanges climbed upon his chair; this, I think, was a dangerous attempt for a little man, as round as a bowl, and not very alert. I am glad he did not meet with a fall in solemning my health ...

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • 1689, Letters of Madame de Sévigné to Her Daughter and Her Friends, vol. 8 ()
  • After thirty, a body has a mind of its own.

  • A woman has all too much substance in a man's eyes at the best of times. That is why men like women to be slim. Her lack of flesh negates her. The less of her there is, the less notice he need take of her. The more like a male she appears to be, the safer he feels.

  • A woman's body works as if it knew something she didn't, and does not have her best interests at heart. If you need to look your best it will deliver you a pimple; if you don't want it to, your period will start early; if you want a baby badly your body refuses to give you one; if you are content in your life, lo, you are pregnant.

  • ... a woman's sense of time must be quite different from a man's. Her sense of continuity is internal and natural ... She connects directly to the source of time, and the moon that pulls the tides around the world also pulls the hormone tide within her; her months are marked off without need of calendar. She carries her months, her years, her spring and winter within herself.

  • Those who claim the body is only a vehicle for the soul have obviously never been sick for a long time, or pregnant. One's vision of the world depends very much on the physical conditions through which one sees it.

  • He was a short man, well below average, and he walked with his chin up, gazing about as though searching for his missing inches.

  • The body remembers what the mind forgets.

    • Gloria Hull,
    • "Young Girls' Blues," Healing Heart: Poems 1973-1988 ()
  • Be bold and love your body. Stop fixing it. It was never broken.

  • She belonged to a generation of women who had been well fed on meat and potatoes and some of their bodies could not forget this.

  • ... the body, seeking truth, sends a signal. But decoding it, interpreting its meaning, and knowing how to proceed from there is another matter entirely.

  • ... when my friend Pammy was dying at the age of 37 we went shopping at Macy's. She was in a wheelchair, with a wig and three weeks to live. I tried on a short dress and came out to model it for Pammy. I asked if she thought it made me look big in the thighs, and she said, so kindly, 'Annie? You just don't have that kind of time.' I live by this story.

  • ... I had to face the facts, I was pear-shaped. I was a bit depressed because I hate pears. 'Specially their shape.

  • The mind has great advantages over the body; however the body often furnishes little treats ... which offer the mind relief from sad thoughts.

  • I preach freedom of the mind through freedom of the body; women, for example — out of the prison of corsets.

    • Isadora Duncan,
    • 1922, in Louise Bernikow, The American Women's Almanac ()
  • I can't quite summon up the nerve / To bare my pale, imperfect torso, / Till all around me I observe / Shapes like mine — or even more so!

  • Height isn't something you can have and just let be, like nice teeth or naturally curly hair. People have this idea you have to put it to use, playing basketball, for example, or observing the weather up there. If you are a girl, they feel a particular need to point your height out to you, as if you might not have noticed.

  • To lose confidence in one's body is to lose confidence in oneself.

  • What did a few ripples in the flesh matter when, all too soon, now or later, that flesh would be making its return journey to dust?

  • ... this body of ours has one fault: the more you indulge it, the more things it discovers to be essential to it. It is extraordinary how it likes being indulged ...

  • The flesh is as spiritual as the soul, and the soul is as natural as the flesh.

  • [She] was in her fifties, one of those women who hasn't had a waist for years and who wears a belt to remind her where it used to be.

  • Balance is compromise. Of the muscles.

  • A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

  • Good posture is the one most important thing anybody can do now to look better.

  • Sometimes I think the resurrection of the body, unless much improved in construction, a mistake!

    • Evelyn Underhill,
    • 1936, in Charles Williams, ed., The Letters of Evelyn Underhill ()
  • Body my house / my horse my hound / what will I do / when you are fallen ...

  • Don't get me wrong, I'm not ashamed of my body, I just don't see any reason to not cover it up as much as possible. ... I'm someone who considered becoming a nun, for the outfit.

  • Her body seems to me to have suffered, to be marked with life, but nothing it knows is ever admitted to her mind.

  • ... the art of movement does not deny or separate the life force from its bodily component. ... The dance traditionally fuses the feminine and masculine elements of experience. It emphasizes the truth and power of the physical body to house and express spirit.

    • Fanchon Shur,
    • in Ellen M. Umansky and Dianne Ashton, eds., Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality ()
  • 'I've always been a body-worshipper,' said Mrs. Copperfield, 'but that doesn't mean that I fall in love with people who have beautiful bodies. Some of the bodies I've liked have been awful.'

  • Everyone wants to see your breasts — until your baby needs them.

  • Not even a hand-stitched suit could hide a body gone ruinously to seed. I was tempted to offer some fashion advice, but I didn't think he'd welcome the news that this year, bellies are being worn inside the trousers.

  • ... all the small squalors of the body, known only to oneself, insignificant in youth, easily dismissed, in old age became dominant and entered into fulfilment of the tyranny they had always threatened.

  • Scars are stories, history written on the body.

  • ... spirit and body differ not essentially, but gradually ...

  • Why should we pamper our bodies for the worms that will devour us?

  • How many people realised that body and mind were two separate entities that had to be reconciled, enemies that had to learn how to come to terms, lovers that could not exist without each other?

  • 'I'm falling into disrepair,' she told the children. 'I've outlived myself.'

  • This body is the seat of all good and bad.

    • Yeshe Tsogyel,
    • 8th cent., in Keith Dowman, Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel ()
  • This morning it occurred to me for the first time that my body, my faithful companion and friend, truer and better known to me than my own soul, may be after all only a sly beast who will end by devouring his master.

  • If you're buying into that perfect body image thing, then you're just helping the enemy.

  • Men ought to be more conscious of their bodies as objects of delight and women less so.

  • Life is not a dress size.

  • We must pay close attention to the signals our body sends — the aches and pains, digestions and indigestions, increased energies and exhaustions. Our body sends us signals about the correct 'spelling' of our lives. These sensations are the sum of complex inner computations that we must learn to interpret.

  • We have so many words for states of mind, and so few words for the states of the body.

  • I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.

  • Happiness ... is shucking off the body. I have known it. I've been outside mine. My freed soul looked down at this body which is blood-nourished like a tick in a dog's ear. There was nothing it wanted less than to return to it. That is why it did.

  • Over the years our bodies become walking autobiographies, telling friends and strangers alike of the minor and major stresses of our lives.

  • I was steeped in denial, but my body knew.

  • People used to say to my friend Mary, a quadriplegic, 'You still have your mind.' She would say, 'I still have my body.' The world tells me to divorce myself from my flesh, to live in my head. ... I didn't want to be fleshless.

  • Ro doesn't stand like Brent or Dad. His hands hang kind of stiffly from the shoulder joints, and when he moves, his palms are tucked tight against his thighs, his stomach sticks out like a slightly pregnant woman's. Each culture establishes its own manly posture, different ways of claiming space.

  • It has been said that the body is like an automobile — it's yours, but it isn't you.

    • Doris Day,
    • in A.E. Hotchner, Doris Day: Her Own Story ()
  • Nothing is more revealing than movement.

  • Movement never lies.

  • The body says what words cannot.

    • Martha Graham,
    • in "Martha Graham Reflects on Her Art and a Life in Dance," The New York Times ()
  • The gesture is the thing truly expressive of the individual — as we think so will we act.

    • Martha Graham,
    • in John Heilpern, "The Amazing Martha," The Observer Magazine ()
  • The body is a sacred garment. It's your first and your last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor, and with joy and with fear as well. But always, though, with blessing.

  • No animal ever has an ugly body until it is domesticated. It is the same with the human body.

  • Stand up! Keep your backs straight! Remember that this is where the wings grow.

    • Martha Graham,
    • to her students, in Russell Freedman, Martha Graham: A Dancer's Life ()
  • The body is shaped, disciplined, honored, and in time, trusted.

  • There are only two secrets to a slimmer shape ... High heels and shoulder pads!

  • Volumes are now written and spoken about the effect of the mind upon the body. Much of it is true. But I wish a little more was thought of the effect of the body on the mind.

  • We set the treatment of bodies so high above the treatment of souls, that the physician occupies a higher place in society than the school-master.

  • We have women in the military, but they don't put us in the front lines. They don't know if we can fight or if we can kill. I think we can. All the general has to do is walk over to the women and say, 'You see the enemy over there? They say you look fat in those uniforms.'

  • Muscle has memory: the body knows things the mind will not admit.

  • Bodybuilding is about making oneself seem larger than life. It's about creating the illusion of perfection.

  • Mind and body are not to be taken lightly. Their connection is intimate and mysterious, and better mapped by poets than pornographers.

  • She wore a crisp red blouse, silk, and a high-waisted Lycra skirt that could be worn only by a woman who was a stranger to childbirth and chocolate.

  • The two women gazed out of the slumped and sagging bodies that had accumulated around them.

  • There were certain hours in every life, she told herself, when the soul judged the body. Judged and forgave, or judged and condemned.

  • ... young Plotnik [looked] not only peculiarly clammy, but as though someone had put him together and then forgotten to tighten the screws.

  • The body has its own way of knowing, a knowing that has little to do with logic, and much to do with truth, little to do with control, and much to do with acceptance, little to do with division and analysis, and much to do with union.

  • I'm afraid to start plastic surgery. And my breasts are so versatile now, I can wear them down, up, and side to side.

  • I must, I must, I must increase my bust.

  • You have to have a damn good figure to show off a girdle. You have to have the kind of body that doesn't need a girdle in order to get to pose in one.

  • Being a physical person, as a woman, and knowing how to move your body, how to balance, how to run, how to turn, how to be in confrontation whether physical or mental is a very empowering thing. It gives you a tremendous amount of confidence in everything you do.

    • Dawn Riley,
    • in Christina Lessa, Women Who Win: Stories of Triumph in Sport and in Life ()
  • Emotion always has its roots in the unconscious and manifests itself in the body.

  • I'm waxed clean — hairless as the day as I was born. But don't say 'Tia has no pubic hair.' That's so clinical. Use a nice euphemism. Say 'She's mowed her secret garden' or 'She's cleared the way to the Promised Land.' Because that's what it is, right?

  • My face and rump were famous! I could honestly say that I'd been blessed with an intelligent derrière. Most people's were only good to sit on!

  • Scars are just another kind of memory.

  • These aren't hot flashes, they're power surges.

    • Anonymous,
    • in Ellen Goodman, syndicated column ()
  • Life contains these things: leakage and wickage and discharge, pus and snot and slime and gleet. We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget.

  • Our skin mediates the most important transactions of our lives. Skin is key to our biology, our sensory experiences, our information gathering, and our relationships with others. Although the many roles it plays are rarely appreciated, it is one of the most remarkable and highly versatile parts of the human body.

  • She's a good person to hug, because her body fills up all the empty spaces.

  • I'm leaving my body to science fiction.