Real Beauty: A Healing Story About Body Size

To take pleasure in a world filled with many kinds of beauty is a joy in life to which all women are entitled. To support only one kind of beauty is to be somehow unobservant of nature.
–Clarissa Pinkola Estes

After a lifetime of being shamed for the lush abundance of her body, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves, made a pilgrimage to her ancestral village in Mexico, where she made an amazing discovery.

If you sometimes struggle with issues around weight and body size, this healing story will give you hope and comfort.

On the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Ms. Estes found a race of large, strong women who patted her, fussed over her, and told her she was not quite fat enough. Had she been ill? Did she eat enough? They told her she must try harder, ďfor women are La Tierra, made round like the earth herself, for the earth holds so much.ď

If your weight puts you at risk for serious health problems, that is one thing. But if you, like so many of us, are shamed by media advertising so you will be motivated to spend money trying to change your shape to attain an impossible ideal–thereby making somebody a fortune–take heart. All over the world, at this very moment, women of abundant size are loved and respected. Can you walk like one of the large-bodied goddesses whose statues have been unearthed throughout the world? Can you love your healthy flesh? What an act of pure, subversive self-love that would be!

By Cait Johnson, author of Witch in the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).


Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago


Edvanir L.
Edvanir L4 years ago

I have an issue with this kind of article: Many women choose to believe they are heath and don't even bother to go to the doctor. I know a woman in her earlier 40's who just had a heart attack. She has been obese her entire life, but didn't make any real effort to change this, because she though was health. Now what??

I know some women can be healthy being overweight health, but it should be good to emphasize that. Also, many don't even know the difference btwn being overweight and obese. This is dangerous.

Leanne B.
Leanne B5 years ago

I enjoyed this post thank you.

Patricia H.
Patricia H.5 years ago

thanks for sharing

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

thanks for posting

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Rivka Weinstein
Rivka Weinstein5 years ago

A woman's true beauty is not skin-deep. A woman who is confidant in her skin is free to show her true beauty- the love, warmth, sense of humor, intelligence, curiosity, and acceptance that she holds deep inside.

New G.
W. C5 years ago

Thank you.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

S N.
Silvia N6 years ago

Accepting oneself is hard, especially if you grow up being told that it is not okay to not be skinny, emaciated, a size 0. I think we need to have everyone accept size, period. It has gotten so bad; we cannot discriminate against sex, skin color, religion or sexual orientation but it is still very much accepted to discriminate against size. Look in movies; the larger person is mocked or portrayed as the ugly person, and always found eating the weirdest things. I eat far less than my skinny brother but I do come from good country stock, am tall and wide but proportional (hourglassed/pear shaped).

Screw BMI, measure the much more accurate Hip to Waist to see if I have health issues!