I am 50. Which means my teen years were spent in the 80’s. The years after the Twiggy look. It was the years of breast augmentations and the need for “perfect” proportioned bodies, think 80’s Playboy girls. I have never felt my body was adequate. I would have fit better into the Twiggy look. I’m 5’7 and was 110-115 lbs and small chested. I always struggled with my body image. Then in the 90’s I had my first baby. With that came stretch marks. While I was happy with my larger nursing breasts, I fretted over stretch marks and cellulite. Then came second and third babies leaving my skin stretched, loose, scarred with extra pounds and that dang evil word cellulite. No one we saw in media had these issues. We saw beautiful models who even came through pregnancies unscathed! So what did we do…hid our scarred scary looking bodies. No one wanted to see that horror. That’s how I/we felt.
Now I had an exceptional husband who told me(and still does) he loved my “marks” they were a testimony to what we created together, what my body brought into this world and that he loved looking at me! Time and time and time again he told me this. But I was so ashamed that I would stay covered. Quickly hiding under a towel, keeping the lights off, wearing “mom” bathing suits, and “mom” shorts. (What does that colloquialism tell you about the body shaming in our society?!)
Then in mid 2000’s I had a teenaged daughter. How does one raise a daughter to love her body as it is when you’ve never loved your own? When you’ve spent all her formative years hiding your skin and complaining about “flaws”? I tried hard to stop using negative body speak. I tried to listen to my husband and work on loving my skin. But it was hard. And she was faced with the new version of media’s portrayal of the perfect female. Which, sadly was coming largely from the porn industry Which, sadly was coming largely from the porn industries easily available view of women and social media’s ability to post “perfect” pictures.
As a mom of a teen daughter I tried hard to not cave to the “media speak” about women’s bodies. I tried to raise my boys to not think about women as objects. But the media’s version seeps in, it is everywhere. My children are grown but I see the battle with self image. Because now it’s even moved into the male space.
It is truly disgusting.
But women and men are speaking up! Taking a stand against media’s portrayal! Using sources like Instagram to say enough! To be bold and brave and show true natural feminine women with all their life giving marks! Brave women and men speaking up for real bodies! All shapes, all sizes, all skin! Speaking up for healthy versions of a human body whatever that is for each person.
I am thankful for Instagram accounts like @thebirdspapaya
@daniel_euan_henderson supportive with a bit of flare and comedy
Note: There is nothing wrong with being healthy and disciplined! I’m not trying to shame people who are blessed with natural “perfect” bodies or work hard for healthy tone bodies. I applaud all who want to be healthy. But healthy looks different on every person. The point is no body shaming any body! We are all created beautifully unique!!