Thursday, October 24, 2013

Body Image and Angela Carman

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Last weekend I was engaged in a rather heated discussion with a man on a friend's Facebook post over body size and beauty.  He was insistent that a large woman wasn't beautiful or sexually appealing and that the men who thought so were somehow twisted.  Being a large woman myself, which is something you can't really tell from my profile pic, I insisted that it doesn't matter what size we are, we're beautiful.  Fat chicks need love too!

Which brought me to my female lead character in my novel, Farmer's Daughter.  Angela Carman is regarded as beautiful by nearly everyone in the novel.  She is between 5'7" and 5'8", slim and physically fit (which makes sense since she has a black belt in karate).  Why did I do this?  Did I fall prey to the media need to have a physically appealing female lead?  Am I as guilty as the man I was arguing with about what physical beauty is?

Uncomfortable thoughts.  Granted, I made Angela to be what I myself want to be.  What I am in my head.  It may be that my own discomfort with my own body makes me hesitant to try to write an obese character.  So often, I am unable to see my own beauty, just like Angela.  Angela's own body image will become more of an issue in later novels.  Does she have an eating disorder?  Will she ever believe herself to be the Angel that Craig calls her?

And how will Craig handle her issues?  Will he become frustrated?  Will he always be patient?  My own husband gets a little frustrated with me, because I don't always believe him when he calls me "Cutie" and "Gorgeous".  Am I really beautiful to him?  Or is he just trying to make me feel better?  Although I had not met my husband when I first began to write the character of Craig, I was better able to fine tune his relationship with Angela after I had some of my own experiences.  His acceptance of me will probably seep into Craig's character.

Time will of course tell, as we only see the merest blush of what their future together holds in this first novel.  I'm excited as I explore this world that has opened up to me, and can't wait to share all the nooks and crannies of it with everyone.  And as I become more comfortable with who I am, physically and spiritually, the more interesting their lives will be I think.

Because Angela's beauty, as with my own and your own, is far more than just what is on the outside.  She is a strong woman facing the weakest part of her, facing the darkness inside of her and battling demons she's been afraid of for far too long...and by doing so, she gives others the courage to do the same.

#robinjanney #farmersdaughterrobinjanney #bodyimage #truebeauty #courage

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