I keep seeing this image (and others like it) floating around the paleo-sphere. I find it incredibly discouraging. Paleo is frequently portrayed as a philosophy that values strength above all else in women, and yet the images of women that accompany so much of the paleo rhetoric I run across are impossibly, perfectly fit, with unnaturally massive breasts and dangerously low body fat. This is a perfect example. What woman in her right mind would go hunting in such a skimpy ‘outfit’? That hair, while perfect for being dragged back to the cave by Grok, would be a huge liability while trying to hunt (or do just about anything other than posing provocatively by the water hole). Did breast implants exist in the paleolithic era? Because any woman with body fat low enough to have that level of muscle definition would have long since lost her breasts. The message I get from images like this is that if I eat and live like a cavewoman, I will look like this. Not true. If I ate and lived like a real cavewoman, I would look more like this:
I get so frustrated that a philosophy that talks such a good game about valuing women for their strength and abilities still objectifies our bodies so blatantly. Spend a few minutes surfing paleo blogs and you will see image after image of women in bikinis and booty shorts, many even naked. Sure, they’ve got visible abs, which sets those images apart from the images you’ll see in fashion magazines, but in the end it’s the same old story. Women’s bodies are being exploited to sell a product, and in the process a message is being sent to women: this is how you’re supposed to look to be desirable. You’re supposed to have a well defined 6 pack, biceps and lats to rival a young Arnold’s, and a single digit body fat percentage. Oh, and God help you if your boobs aren’t enormous and perky. Because if cavewomen could look like that, Lord knows you can too. So get to work ladies!
Sigh. We can’t win. No matter what.
Women: eating real food and challenging your body physically every day will give you a strong, healthy, beautiful body. But unless you’re willing to invest in invasive surgery and devote almost all of your waking hours to planning your diet and working out, you’re more likely to look like the beautiful woman in the second picture than the caricature in the first. That’s fine. It’s more than fine. It’s wonderful.