Nip Talk: Italy, Spain, Poland, Canada & Lithuania Joins For A Body Talk
Remember our fun conversations about the body? This time it’s extra fun because we are bringing you a full new batch of experiences all the way from Italy, Spain, Poland and Canada! Meet Ottavia, Elisabeth, Anna & Emily with her mum Marion! Applause!
What’s the situation with style and fashion stereotypes in your countries?
Ottavia (Italy): I guess Italy has a culture where everyone cares about their appearance. Starting from fashion, you don’t feel free to wear whatever you want, because whatever you will go, you will see everyone looking at you, judging what you wear & what you don’t. They always talk about that like it’s a joke, but it’s never truly a joke. (But what about the compliments? Do people tell you if they like the way you look?) Yes, maybe. In my experience, I always wore what I wanted and when I was 13, high waist was not in fashion & I was wearing a lot of vintages, all of my friends were like OMG, what are you doing??? and I just smiled and ignored and now they are doing the same thing because it’s in fashion.
Elisabeth (Spain): Well, it’s not fashion, it’s just a trend. Fashion is another thing). When I was 18, in Spain we had two types of understanding fashion: people who are following trends and wearing the same things & those, who take it as a culture and wants to understand how fashion works in a deeper level. In high school, my friends did not understand my looks and haircuts, but now they look similar I did back then without even realising it.
Ottavia(Italy): It’s the same with body shapes. When you are in your country, you are always judged more than anywhere else. Because people abroad don't know you and your background. I feel body shamed in Italy’s thin body cult. And tan! I swear, in the summer it’s crazy! You just see sausages rolling on the beach.
Does body talk exist in your families?
Anna (Poland): In my family, there was never any conversations about body or sex. I think it’s quite common in Poland that people don’t talk about this. We don’t have sex education in school, so the only source of information is the Internet. Or, if you don’t have an access to the Internet, it could be shitty magazines where girls ask if they can get pregnant with a blowjob or older boys who act like experts without really knowing how things work. I got my period when I was 10 and it was like a tragedy. That was the only time me and my mom talked about it.
The world of dancers
Ottavia (Italy): While having my dance education, I had a lot of friends who had different problems - if you don’t have a specific diagnosis from a doctor, you always have to fit the standards of the school what’s beautiful and what’s not. I think I was also influenced by this environment, where I was living for 4 years. I was always on a diet. Because in a dance class you have those sick teachers who touch your thighs and saying that it’s too much of a fat here. The average look is being super thin and full of muscles.
ARE YOU CLOSE TO YOUR MOTHERS?
Anna (Poland): No.
Elisabeth (Spain): Yes. I talk about really personal stuff with her, she wants to be involved, but she always respects my privacy.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR DADS?
Elisabeth (Spain): It’s a big thing actually. There was a time when he started to ask these direct question, like if I’m still a virgin and I was like WHAT? I didn’t feel comfortable. After my parents divorced my father started to act more freely with himself, even walk naked around the house and I was shocked because he used to be so private with himself. I understand that is absolutely normal to act like that but it’s also quite strange to see your parents changing the way they think.
Ottavia (Italy): I’m close to my parents, but the risk of being too close, I guess is that they stop respecting your privacy. I wanted to keep the right distance. When I was 7, we were watching a TV show and I heard a word “condom”, so I asked my mom what was it, so that was my very first sex talk. So later I was the one who later explained everything to my friends! Also, I remember when I was 15, I had a boyfriend who was 20 and I was off to meet him when my dad asked me to come to talk, he was sitting on my bed, all red and uncomfortable (he is very shy) but the minute I heard the word “protection” I wanted to run away, but he insisted that I need to hear everything. It was the longest 5 minutes of my life.
Anna (Poland): When I was in my first relationship, my father always used to tell me “be smart”, which was the code for any uncomfortable topics. But he never told me HOW to be smart. Now that I’m older he sometimes tells me those mystical sentences, like when we were having a discussion about abortion in Poland he said that if I ever have any problems with this, he is here to help.
IS IT OKAY TO TALK ABOUT THESE TOPICS OPENLY AMONG YOUR FRIENDS & PEOPLE YOUR AGE?
Ottavia (Italy): I come from a traditional area, where even people my age are quite close minded and it’s still a taboo to talk about sex. I feel free to talk about everything with my international friends but with people from home, I usually keep silent. (What about LGBT+ topics?) It’s getting better, but still complicated. There was one guy who came out a few year ago and when he told me, I was like, oh cool (I kinda knew that already) but then his other friends who knew him since childhood, said that maybe it’s just a phase, which is just a stupid thing to say.
*Justina interrupts* Sometimes I feel afraid to talk about LGBT+ problems with my friends or relatives, just because I am scared to discover that they are close-minded or even homophobic. It’s bad because you need to talk about it and if people are against, your duty is to educate them.
Anna (Poland): I actually lost a few friends like this. I was thinking, it’s weird to lose someone because they are homophobic, but at the same time it’s a very good reason - if you keep digging, what kind of human are you, if you are nice to me but hate other sexual orientation or other race, or you think that women should earn less, then I’m like okay bye! (and what about your talks with your friends?) It’s more like on a joke level or via talk about the political situation. I think the most taboo problem is that there’s no conversation about venereal diseases.
Elisabeth (Spain): In my case, it depends on a context where I am. I was attending a Catholic high school, so everything was hidden. Later I went to an art school and I met a lot of people who were different and open about everything.
IS THERE A MAN/ WOMAN FIGURE IN YOUR COUNTRY WHOM YOUNG GIRLS/ BOYS WANT TO BE? (A PROFESSION, WHY ARE THEY KNOWN FOR?)
Ottavia (Italy): I guess now everything is way more international and very unified with American standards. But in Italy maybe it’s Chiara Ferragni? Seems like everybody wants to follow and know everything about her.
Elisabeth (Spain): As I said before, it depends on the context you are in. If you are in an artistic field, it would be someone more opened. Like now it’s this fuss about being a feminist and when you walk in the supermarket and you see women empowerment everywhere. Suddenly from shaving, we went to no shave at all and loving ugly things. It’s just the mindset that we have.
Our conversation turns towards a discussion about shaving. Emily and her mom, Marion from Canada, join us.
Marion (Canada): I’m Mariane and I’m way older than all of you. You talking hair? Wait until it moves to your chin, that’s where all the hair comes when you get older. Legs - not so much - easy! It’s because everything goes up to your chin! So life is good and you don’t care anymore, you just have a moustache. Trust me.
We wanted to ask you both about, as we call it, the body talk. You, Mariane, should have had it with your daughters. We want to hear about it!
Marion (Canada): I don’t know about the body, but about anything, like homosexuality, because I’m very frank and every time I’d start you guys would be like “NO NO NO!!!We don’t want to hear!” Because I have three daughters, Emily is the youngest. So they never wanted to hear. And I remember when my oldest daughter had her period, she was crying and I said “No no, it’s beautiful, it’s a part of being a woman.”, but she was so unhappy.
Emily (Canada): I don’t remember talking about it with my sisters, I just remember you using the language like “private parts” naming our body parts until 5th grade, when in school they start an education like “You have a body and all these crazy things are going to happen..”.
Marion (Canada): I talked a lot about drugs and birth control when you were in high school. Also, you guys are using alternative forms of birth control and I have three daughters and just one of them is planned. So I said - just be careful! My husband left all the body talk to me. You see all those idealised feminine forms through the history and art, now it’s a certain look, in the 60’s it was Twiggy and etc., so you can never escape it.
Anna (Canada): I have an example of this in Poland. I’m not into celebrity gossips, but there was this girl who is a personal trainer and wife of one really popular football player & they recently had a baby. She’s super fit and mastering karate and she posted a picture of her soaked in sweat and a crop top so you could see her after pregnancy belly. And suddenly, people started to shame her because of her body, saying that “it’s not beautiful”. So I think that now people are just shaming anybody for having any kind of body! If you are overweight, you are lazy, if you are skinny, you don’t eat enough. Some men are proud of their so-called “beer belly” meanwhile most of the women are afraid to wear two piece bikini.
Marion (Canada): As you getting older, there is also a health risk. You need to think that the more weight you have, the bigger possibility to have a heart attack. Having fat around your internal organs is dangerous.
Anna (Poland): Sometimes you see campaigns of plus size girls saying “LOVE YOUR BODY!” which is just one type really, so does that mean that if I’m skinny I can’t love it? If you are talking about body love then you should show more than just one body image, no matter what kind of image it is.
Emily (Canada): Also think about pornography, how it changes our expectations about sex and gives this unrealistic body image.
Marion (Canada): You think it’s just pornography? I think it’s Hollywood too. Like I wouldn’t define a beautifully one love scene as pornography, but even there everyone is perfect, their bodies are gorgeous, they make all the right noises.