“Joyous Body” According to Estes

I have been reading ‘Women Who Run With the Wolves’, and feeling Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ words deeply and soulfully.

I am currently reading chapter 7, called ‘Joyous Body: The Wild Flesh,’ in which she discusses women’s body image and the importance of acceptance. Regarding wolves, she writes:

“They all have their own body configurations and strengths, their own beauty. They live and play according to what and how they are. They do not try to be what they are not….

Yet, despite their beauty and ability to stay strong, wolves are sometimes talked about in this way: ‘Ah, you are too hungry, your teeth are too sharp, your appetites too interested.’ Like wolves, women are sometimes discussed as though only a certain temperament, only a certain restrained appetite, is acceptable…. 

When women are relegated to moods, mannerisms, and contours that conform to a single ideal of beauty and behavior, they are captured in both body and soul, and are no longer free.”

Regarding all the recent online acerbity toward women’s bodies, this passage particularly struck me, though it would have resounded anyway. The entire chapter is SO good, read the rest. Buy the book (actually, buy several and you will have the perfect birthday present for any of your friends).

We do not conform to a single idea of beauty or behavior, and that is the right way of things. Every body is different.

Read this absolutely beautiful list of 20 ways to love your body, from the National Eating Disorders Association’s website:


I am feeling so good about having a joyous body! Genetically-speaking I am exactly how I am meant to be. I dance, I eat healthy (and chocolate), I hug and dig and run. I am exactly how -I- am meant to be. So are you.


4 thoughts on ““Joyous Body” According to Estes

  1. ooooh I love this book, still one of my all time favourites, and have given it as gifts to other women too, I read it almost 13 years ago, but you have inspired me to revisit it, it taught me soooo much about myself at the time and i know there will be more wisdom for me now. I remember resonating with the ugly duckling story and still tell the coyote dick story, so funny. Thanks for posting this to remind me of her wisdom and for sharing it with others, it is a vital book for women to read 🙂

    • Yayyy! 🙂 (I am juuuust past the Red Shoes, as of last night. Most of them so far I have understood, but I feel like I am going to need to revisit that one. Still a lesson-in-progress!)
      Yes, it is truly vital. She has so much important wisdom to pass on, which all women need. I think this book would be highly beneficial for high school students to read.

      • Definately, all teenage girls should be equiped with her wisdom as they embark into womanhood. I remember the red shoes, and now own several pairs, but you really make me want to read it all again now. soooo much to read, but I know it will renew me with strenght and courage all over again 🙂

      • 😀 Oddly enough, I felt intimidated by the length, but now I am zooming through it. And I feel myself growing healthy.

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