|This is me in a recent shoot at The Boudoir|
So I thought I would get a bit personal tonight...
Images of female bodies are everywhere. Women—and their body parts—sell everything. Popular film and television actresses are becoming younger, taller and thinner, in many cases skeletal. Women’s magazines, the internet and social media are full of articles urging that if the general population can just lose those last ten kilos, they’ll have it all—great sex, great personal life and a rewarding career. And although, I do not believe this, it is extremely hard not to get sucked in.
Why are standards of beauty being imposed on women, the majority of whom are naturally larger and more mature than any of the models?
The stakes are huge. On the one hand, women who are insecure about their bodies are more likely to buy beauty products, new clothes, and diet aids. It is estimated that the diet industry alone is worth anywhere between 40 to 100 billion (U.S.) a year selling temporary weight loss (90 to 95% of dieters regain the lost weight).
On the other hand, research indicates that exposure to images of thin, young, air-brushed female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women and girls. I, myself have struggled with a lifetime of body issues and self esteem problems, including a two year battle with bulimia. Which not only affected me, but my relationship with my ex-partner, my family and of course, my relationship with myself.
The American research group Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. says that one out of every four university-aged women uses unhealthy methods of weight control—including fasting, skipping meals, excessive exercise, laxative abuse, and self-induced vomiting. The pressure to be thin is also affecting young girls: the Canadian Women's Health Network warns that weight control measures are now being taken by girls as young as 5 and 6. Personally, I tried everything... some tricks worked, some did not, my substance of choice was laxatives and my illness ultimately came to a head when I made myself throw up for the first time and I looked at myself in the mirror with horror and disgust. I'm not saying I recovered straight away... it took me months of depression to actually tell someone about my illness, and then multiple psychologists, as well as a roller coaster ride of emotions to get me to where I am today.
|Tell me... what is wrong with this picture? Nothing.|
Overall research indicates that 90% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance in some way.
Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that media images of female beauty are unattainable for all but a very small number of women. Researchers generating a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions, for example, found that her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel. A real woman built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhea and eventually die from malnutrition. Ha! So take that Barbie-doll wanna-be's.
Television and movies reinforce the importance of a thin body as a measure of a woman’s worth. Which helps no one.
Although, there have been efforts in the magazine industry to buck the trend. Advertising rules the marketplace and in advertising thin is "in." Twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8 per cent less than the average woman—but today’s models weigh 23 per cent less. Advertisers believe that thin models sell products. When the Australian magazine New Woman recently included a picture of a heavy-set model on its cover, it received a truckload of letters from grateful readers praising the move. But its advertisers complained and the magazine returned to featuring bone-thin models. And big business wins again! What a big surprise.
The barrage of messages about thinness, dieting and beauty tells "ordinary" women that they are always in need of adjustment—and that the female body is an object to be perfected.
I am now here to make a rebuttal! If you'v read my previous posts, you know that I'm a member of The Bad Ladies a troupe of extremely sexy and unique women, all of whom are extremely curvaceous. Being apart of this amazing group of women and apart of the Burlesque sub culture, has done wonders for my self esteem and my body image. Burlesque is a sub-culture that embraces curvy women, and when I get on stage, or speak to the people who have come to watch us and the other dancers, I get such a rush! It has made me so much more confident in myself and as a result, I have not had a relapse for 4 months now... and I feel great!
So great that I have actually started to do a little bit of plus size modelling, and yes, I still feel that insecure about myself that I am compelled to add 'plus size' every time I refer to myself as a model as I really don't want people to think that I think that I am a regular model... (so obviously, I still need to work on my issues).
The key is confidence, every time I walk into a room full of strangers or I go on stage, I mentally say to myself... "You are sexy, intelligent and worth it" and even if there is a tiny part of me that doesn't believe it, the rest of the world does not need to know that.
So, to the media, social expectations, and the skinny orange barbie dolls that line streets in today's day and age, I say Real women are curvy, real women have breasts and sag with age and have imperfections and I love them!
So, my facebook page is: