Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Negative Body Images in Women

by M. J. Joachim

Negative body images have plagued women in our society for centuries. Culture defines whether a person is too fat or too skinny, often to the detriment of the individual who is neither of the two. Designers make clothes catering to the demands of society, with seldom a care in mind to make clothes designed to fit real women, living real lives, working all sorts of different jobs in communities where looking like the expected norm is all the rage.

The expected norm – size 0 to 6 models who could make anything look good? I used to be one of those women, not a model, but I could eat anything I wanted and still keep my girlish figure, until I had kids, that is. Now I’m a middle-aged average sized woman, and my best choices for clothes are baggy or yoga pants. I’ve outgrown the skinny clothes of my youth, and I’m not ready for the old lady clothes in the woman’s department.

Men have it so much easier. Give them a shirt, tie and pair of jeans and trousers – all sizes available, even for large and tall. Women have it a little tougher, considering our shapes and sizes often dramatically change through the years, and after bearing children. Don’t even get me started on the undergarments we’re supposed to wear, or pantyhose and heels!

I have long held the belief that men invented the bra and pantyhose, in an effort to please their own personal desires. Women liked pleasing men, and knew that by doing so, we might have some small hope of remaining in their good graces. I’m not down on men. Please don’t get me wrong, but I do know that men in all cultures have set the standard for how women should look and feel about themselves.

Turns out a woman invented the corsette, followed by another woman who invented the bra. Go figure. But a man invented pantyhose. I knew I was onto something! The purpose was to make us look more beautiful for men, btw, by supporting our breasts and making our legs more satisfying when the age of rising hemlines became fashionable.

Men, you are absolutely wonderful, and I’m not about to promote a hate on men dialog in this blog. However, the history of women looking beautiful for men has gone too far. We need to look and feel beautiful for ourselves, which in turn will make us all the more beautiful for you. 

Confidence, self worth and acceptance, intelligence – these are the things that make everyone feel better from the inside out. Without them, there isn’t a bra or pair of pantyhose in the world that will make a woman attractive for any man. How else do you explain all those exquisitely dressed woman who don’t get a second glance, and all those misshapen women who are their husband’s pride and joy, or the secretaries who are trusted more than their own spouses?

It’s because woman with positive self images have done away with negative body image messages, and rebutted the crap society throws their way about them. They’ve spent the extra dollars to make themselves feel better by the way they dress, according to their standards, without worrying about whether or not a man approves of their choices. It shows in how they carry themselves, and expresses itself in colors and styles that reflect their personal flair. 

As for the women who could be, but aren’t anyone’s pride and joy, perhaps it’s because they have a small attitude problem, something no amount of self confidence or education will cure. Some women have attitude problems because they’re too self confident, which somehow led to arrogance and a desire to control. They can be positively relentless, especially when they have so many demands, milking society of the very essence of human dignity and respect. A high quantity of self-centeredness also comes into play.That’s another blog post about the woman I refused to become, even if given the chance.

It’s not about me, and I do wear the proper uncomfortable undergarments as required by society norms – not to please the man in my life, however, but because it really is nice to support one’s breasts and wear high heels once in a while. Society wore off on me a bit, but the message that I need to be fixed never will. Women come in all shapes and sizes; each and everyone of us is beautiful, provided we don’t cross the line, turning into one of those other women who obviously give women a bad name.

Regarding the negative body images – turn them off already! You are better than that, and you are beautiful! Believe in yourself, feel good about yourself. Write yourself a positive message every day. Stick a note of praise and acceptance on your mirror, in your car and on the fridge. You are a gift to this world. Don’t ever let anyone take that fact away from you. Believe in yourself and know you are good enough, no matter what size or garment you choose (or don’t choose) to wear!

I hope you’ll share your opinion about this bit of a rambling blog post today. Once I got started, I simply couldn’t stop typing, and I’m eager to learn what you have say about it. Thanks for stopping by and joining in the conversation.

M. J.

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Photo credit: Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640), Venus at Mirror, PD-US & PD-Art

By the way, there are a whole lot of ideas in this post that lend themselves to a plethora of alphabet topic ideas. Imagine the possibilities and how much traffic you'll get, just by writing a short post on what makes a woman beautiful, or how to find the best sized bra for your figure. Quick and easy posts that will be so much fun to write...c'mon, you know you want to!

M. J.