When Our Body is Not Ours

Irmia Fitriyah
Posted September 3, 2010 from Indonesia

Body is not only biological –a physical material. Not that simple. It’s more complicated than the appearance itself. Like many aspect of our life, it is socio-culturally constructed.

A friend of mine, a-34-year-old-woman from middle-class family, is an energic-active woman. While she was earning her master degree in psychology, she became insurance agent and yoga instructor. Now, she has good job in a wood-company, and still teaches yoga in her spare time. She enjoys her life.

Everything about her looks fine. She has good taste in fashion. Every dress suits on her, and makes her look fabulous, though she’s not the type of branded-people who put a lot of makes up. She’s just a simple, good-looking cosmo woman.

This is the image she builds –as a cover of her sadness because of the myoma she has in her womb. Her obgyn said she might not be able to get pregnant. That fact put her in deep sorrow. She’s 34, has myoma (in the most important part of her body), and (still) not gets married. A-hard-formula. Because, she, I, or most people grow up in a culture, which educates women that a perfect woman is the one who can deliver a child.

Further, media, (mostly) with its advertising ‘teach’ us daily about what is considered to be perfect. A picture of a-wonderful-happy mommy holding her baby as depicted by (most) baby-product advertising deliver clear message that woman and baby are (always) related to each other. It seems that a baby gives highest happiness to a life of a woman. (I always think why less men act in baby-product advertising?)

People believe in the message. And, (still) this is the easiest way for us to get our (practice) ‘education’. Media. So then, my friend, and perhaps a lot of women are trapped in this kind of world.

Our body in fact is not ours (personally). It’s determined by the media (advertising) –the-imagined-perfect-world.

Well, my friend, she’ll get married this November. Her conscious mind believes that the older she is, the harder she will find a man. No men will accept her bodily situation (her illness, her age, and perhaps her body-shape). So, while there’s a man who can accept the situation, just get married. At least, she’s married . Although it’s a marriage without children. But still, there’s a society expectation that she can fulfill –a marriage. Though indeed, deep inside herself, she’s not ready for the marriage –she’s not in love with the man.

My friend’s story is just a mild example of how women lost their integrity about their own body. I’ve heard, I’ve faced those victims who suffered of their own body, because their choices, their voices are taken.

It’s never easy being a woman … wherever we live … in whatever circumstances …

But, there are (always) people who care… who fights for the most personal side of our life –our body.

So, fight for it! For those who care… But, mostly for those whose choices are taken.

(We are the owner of our own body!)

03 September 2010 05:30 pm

Comments 5

  • Jade Frank
    Sep 03, 2010
    Sep 03, 2010

    Dear Irmia,

    Thank you for bringing up this important issue, which I think spans every culture in this world. For some cultures, there are more severe stigmas attached to childless women, but I think at some level, each woman feels the pressure of bearing children and that it's attached to her worth in society.

    We must continue to prove to the world, that a woman's worth is not based on her fertility level, the number of sons she can produce, or the health of her uterus. But that as women, we have just as much value within our selfless acts of compassion, the entrepreneurial drive and achievement within us, the sharpness of our mind, the creative beauty of our art, the peaceful solutions we devise, and if we are physically able to be mothers and want to raise children - only then should be valued as mothers.

    In friendship and solidarity, Jade

  • Irmia Fitriyah
    Sep 03, 2010
    Sep 03, 2010

    Hi Jade:

    Thanks for your nice comments :)

    I brought this issue because I just want to show that no matter high your education (like my friend, she has master degree), still, it is not enough :)

    Learning is everday life activity, and we need to keep our mind open :) That's my belief.


  • Vivian Emesowum
    Sep 03, 2010
    Sep 03, 2010

    Tears drop from my eyes as I read this story cos I had a similar experience in life.I was in agony for years, was confused about life. My body was not truly mine again and I when through all these as a SINGLE. I refused to accept when people say singleness is a state of condition. A single woman is stigmatized for no judge cause.

    When I discovered at 24yrs that I had a growth, I was not worried but when it began to cause me pains of varieties- emotional, psychological, physical and medical all as single. That same issue of child bearing came in, the doctor's report was unless you have a surgery you cannot give birth cos the number is much and the positions bad.

    Time to made a decision set in and I decided to break the promise of keep sex till after marriage so as to get pregnant. Do you what? I got pregnant with big sizes of fibroid. Medical personnels that handled my case were all astonish at it. But it was God. The period of my pregnancy was life and death. Always in pains, it was a pre term at 8months. After delivery, I was still looking like a 7months pregnant woman. I had no choice that to go for surgery after 6months of delivery. To God be the Glory, the operation was successful. All these as single, thank to my mum, she was there all through encouraging me. One year later after the surgery (this year) I got married not to the father of my baby but someone else who was there from the begining but I never loved him.

    "Life is a teacher, the more you live the more you learn". One thing was on my mind when all these was happening, I will make it so I can encourage other women cos I know alot will be passing through the same ordeals or even worst. The vunerability of women comes in various ways.

    Among all, Women's health is a priority issue." It is only a healthy women that can speak for her Rights and for others".

    I want my experience in life to pull me out to speak and not push me in. Irmia, am so happy for this issue you rised up. Each time I narrated my story, am happy cos I know am encouraging others. I do not have the capacity now, but my dream and desire is always to be in the midst of young women, girls sharing ideas, knowledge, empowerment and others. Ready to give a helping hand in words to those who are dicourage. What you tell yourself matters and not what people, the media, friends, family and those around you say. "Your own words matters so much and they can keep you moving."

    Am happy, I discovered worldpulse, it is a happy place to be with beautiful women with beautiful minds.

    Sorry my story is too long but I love writing and I have a passion for women with health problem. Guess, you will like to know the end of my story. Am a very happy woman today with my husband, I did not marry the father of my baby becos both of us was AS without knowing- another areas of girls education."know your gene type". My baby did not make it and so I walked out of the relationship.

    Child bearing is now a serious issue. I do not want to go into that becos am still writing my article on it. For me, every women must not gave birth, but every women can have a child. There are so many abondoned child in orphange homes. If my body can not permit me to have a child then I can adopt a child and that becomes my own for life. I will definitely be the only mother the child have ever known.

    Irmia, am sure your friend will find love one day in her home just as I have and other things she believes and hope for will take place for good

    I love worldpulse, it truly a place to share....


  • Irmia Fitriyah
    Sep 03, 2010
    Sep 03, 2010

    Vivian, you're a couragous woman! Thanks for your story. Hugs from me.

    And, I agree with you: "Every women doesn't have to give birth, but every women can have a child". That's so true. Giving birth should be woman's choice, not naturally attached to us (women).


  • Vivian Emesowum
    Sep 06, 2010
    Sep 06, 2010

    Thank you irmia, i just wish women every woman can find joy and happiness with themselves at all time. I truly want to continue to tell my story to every woman. WE (WOMEN), we got to be strong, bold and couragous in any situation we find ourself.

    Thank you for bring up the story.

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