What do you see when you stand naked in front of the mirror? I first see the lumps & bumps that I’m not happy with. The over-large tummy, the too-small breasts.
Then, if I make the effort, I start to see the beauty in my body. I’m sure that’s the case with most women, in most parts of the world.
The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, which interviewed 10,500 females across 13 countries, found that women of all ages, all around the world have what they’re calling “low body esteem”.
- A shocking 89% of Australian women said they would cancel plans, job interviews or other important engagements simply because of how they look.
- In Japan, just 8% cent of women like the way they looked.
- Surprisingly, the less ‘modern’ societies did better with 64% of women in South Africa saying they have high-body esteem. Russia, Turkey and India all fell within the 40% range, while China, Mexico and Germany had around a third of participants accepting their bodies.
- The US came in behind Australia — with 24% of women saying they have “high body-esteem”.
- And how about the UK? Only 20% of us feel good about our bodies. Just 20%…
But before we dig any deeper & start that self-critical conversation that we’re all so good at, let’s think for a moment: how did we get here?
Every day & every moment, we’re bombarded by images of women’s bodies everywhere we turn. Not just any bodies. These are young, thin, large-breasted, small-waisted, long-legged, non-brown, non-black, non-disabled bodies. Bodies that are toned, super fit, hairless & most often so airbrushed that they don’t look anything like what we see in the mirror.
But what we all forget is that these women are not real. (I work in advertising and trust me when I tell you even the models I see don’t look like they do in print – even after hours of retouching.)
Sadly, however these airbrushed images have such a powerful impact on our subconscious. If that’s what we see every single minute of every single day, that’s what we believe is the truth.
And I’m sure every one of us, consciously or subconsciously, compares ourselves to the covers of fashion magazine, catwalk models and celebs to find ourselves lacking.
So is that the only way to be? Are we to go through life feeling un-beautiful, un-worthy, un-sexy? Nope…
It’s a long old road. It’s taken us years to get here & it’s going to take time to change things in our own minds.
Perhaps the answer is to start small. The next time, you find yourself standing in front of a mirror, silence that self-critical voice telling you that you need to lose weight (that’s mine, by the way.) Focus instead of how the light falls on your hair. How your eyes shine when you smile at yourself.
And do smile at yourself…because look, you are beautiful.
WOMEN’S BODIES IN THE KAMASUTRA
Leafing through the pictures in an illustrated Kamasutra, I find myself astonished at how full & female women’s bodies are in the book. (It’s worth mentioning these Indian erotic paintings were added to the more recent versions of the book rather than in the original by the author Vatsayana.)
All the women in the paintings have big bottoms, full breasts, lush pubic hair, un-styled hair. No size zero airbrushed models beloved of magazines here.
Also not one of these women is thinking: “I really need to go to the gym today.” Or while clutching her lover’s face as she straddles him: “I really must get my nails done”.
Nope, they’re too engrossed in making lustful love, enjoying the pleasure that their bodies were designed for.