Body Image

We women have bodies in every size and shape. The range of hair color is amazing. Eye color, too. So why are we never satisfied with what we have, with the way our bodies look? We are short and tall, thin and not-so-thin, have hair that is blonde, brunette, black, red; that’s wavy, curly, or straight. Our eyes are brown, blue, hazel, green, violet, black. Whatever we have we want something different. If we’re short, we wish we were tall; if we have straight hair, we wish it was curly; if we have curly hair, we wish it was straight. Some of these things we can change; colored contact lenses, perms, straighteners, hair dyes. But our bodies are something different. We can’t be what we are not, even though there are those out there who tell us we can.

And I’m not totally blameless here, either. I’m short and wished I were taller. I’ve never, ever, had a perfectly flat belly. I’ve fought my weight since puberty. Then somewhere around the age of 50, I began to truly understand that I would never have the body I thought I wanted. My body is determined to stay the shape it is and nothing I can do will change that.

I came of age in the 60s, when Twiggy was the latest thing in fashion. Her boyish body made all of us feel fat, even if we weren’t. Fashion model figures are unobtainable for almost all of us, so why do we still try? The few top fashion models are fortunate that they have the body shape and bone structure to look the way they do. And they have to work hard at maintaining that famined look. I was happy to see there is an 80 something fashion model who is still working; that there are more models out there with curves instead of sharp angles; and there are now plus-sized models who are well-known.

Change comes slowly to society, and it has to be demanded by the majority, and it has to be sold as absolutely necessary. I often ponder some of the things we women are expected to do and be. Who decided that hair on women’s legs and underarms was a bad thing and should be removed? Who decided that women wearing dresses or skirts had to wear stockings or pantyhose, or tights? And who decided that women’s breasts had to be confined and constrained in corsets and bras? Who came up with the idea that women had to wear makeup to look good? Many of us have bought into these ideas and now can’t imagine not doing some of these things. We were raised to think these were good; not doing them was bad. I admire the women with enough courage to break the mold. They are the women we should appreciate as good role models.

I have learned to love my body. It is the only one I will have in this life and still works wonderfully well considering how old it is. It isn’t perfect by society’s standards, but it’s perfect for me, and that’s what’s important. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never have a model’s body; that I will never be tall; that clothes never fit quite right. But I can also alter clothes so they do fit well; I can carry myself with good posture and grace; I can continue to eat healthy foods and exercise with the goal of being fit. I have this one body, this one life, and feel blessed to have it.

Rant about clothes

Why is it that clothes manufacturers can’t get their act together enough to make sizes consistent? I used to know what size I wore but not any more. I hate trying on clothes. I used to be able to look at a piece of clothing, check the size, and buy it if I liked it and it was my size. What happened?

I know my body has changed and nothing fits quite right any more. But please, why aren’t the sizes consistent?? And what’s up with the petite sizes?? They are supposed to be for women 5’4″ and under; well, I’m 5’2″ and some of the petite pants are a good 4″ too long. I can buy my size in one style, but the same size in a different style from the same manufacturer doesn’t fit.

And while we’re on the subject of clothes, how come the clothes I want to shrink a little won’t, and the ones I don’t want to shrink, do?

And don’t get me started on ‘low-rise’ pants. Who wants to see my skin? I don’t even want to see it, so let’s go back to having pants that fit at the waist, not 4″ lower than that! Do you know how hard it is to find pants that sit at the waist? Unless they’re elastic waist of course, with strings to tighten!

American women like to look good, don’t we? How do we get the manufacturers to listen to us older women who want to look good but don’t want to look like we’re trying to look 20?

And let’s not even talk about bras! Underwires that by the end of the day feel like they’re cutting off circulation; styles that don’t support those of us who need some help in that department, full-coverage bras that don’t, straps that either slip down the arm or dig into the shoulders. I think the places that say come in for a free fitting just want you to keep coming back to buy more bras because the ones they sold you don’t fit! And the same issue with sizes works with bras – they are not consistent!

And I discovered it’s not just me. Here’s a couple of links I found:

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