In Praise of the Soft Belly

For the first two decades of my life, I was socialized exclusively as a woman. I received plenty of messages about my body and the bodies of other women, particularly about what we should think and do about our stomachs. Stomachs were fat, and we were told to get rid of them. I, for one, don’t buy it. This, then, is an homage, a counter-argument, and a feminist reclaiming of the sacredness of the body all in one


This soft center

is where I carry my wealth

You can’t eat money,

but this body that my ancestors have shaped,

this body that has evolved over generations

this body has a belly


This belly is the belly of survival

It is food when there is no food

It is the sleek extra layer that keeps me from freezing in the winter

This belly may be unpopular today

But this belly is a sign

that I know how to get through

It is a back up plan for hard times

Built right into my flesh

And I won’t shrink it or shame it or starve it away


And when I am afraid of what this belly means

This vulnerable piece of myself at the center of my being

Then I will remember that this belly is a gift from the long line of women coming before me


About Melissa ra Karit

I'm a queer, poly, genderqueer Witch. I'm a sex-positive feminist, an activist, and a writer. I believe that when we attend to our individual good, we approach the world with good in our hearts and change the world for the better. Opinions expressed here are solely my personal opinions, and do not represent the views of any organization with which I am affiliated.
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