When I was on the verge of puberty, my sister Judy (17 years older than I) gave me a book about women’s bodies and how attitudes, trends, styles, etc, have changed over time. In the beginning end papers was a photo of a plump female figure carved from limestone. Always a lover of history, I was immediately fascinated and later learned this little figurine was known as the Venus of Willendorf (later changed to the Woman of Willendorf). At only 4.4 inches high she lacks any facial features and may not exactly depict modern day feminine beauty, but it can’t be denied that she exudes a strong personality.
I never forgot that image, and as I grew to embrace an earth-based spirituality, Willie, as I came to call her, became my favorite depiction of the Earth Mother. I got a T-shirt. I got figurines. I got a necklace. I had her image tattooed on my left leg. When I learned a cousin was traveling to Vienna, Austria, I begged her to send me photos of the actual figurine, displayed at the Naturhistorisches Museum.
My cousin came through and I was THRILLED at the series of photos she sent me! (see above).
In my younger years I had a few brushes with anorexia and now, after a myriad of up and down weight cycles, my physique resembles that of my beloved Willie. Health issues arise because of it, but strangely (or maybe not so strangely, since Willie represents feminine strength and power to me) I feel EMPOWERED being a “woman of size.” That’s right–I DO take up space, so MOVE OVER! When I was of average size and working with the public, male customers would call me “babe,” “hon,” “doll,” and the like. When I resemble my little Paleolithic icon, men address me as “Ma’am.”
No, I don’t play the diet game anymore. I do expect there to be further health issues as I age, but that’s to be expected anyway. If I DO lose weight, that would be great too. But no matter what size I am, Willie will always be my role model.