Tag Archives: body image

Fen-tastic

Right, so cheesy pun there. Rihanna has never been on my radar much; her music wasn’t particularly to my tastes, though I had nothing against it, and I thought she was beautiful and clearly talented but was not a fan girl.

Something that I have noticed recently, however, and perhaps I would have noticed this earlier if I had actually been a fan, is how independent she is. She’s a savvy businesswoman – her makeup line Fenty has changed the game by simply acknowledging that women of every shade should have makeup that suits their skin. Other brands have widened their ranges over the years, but Fenty set out to cater for every shade from albino to the darkest black from the outset. No tiptoeing around the edges, they just dived right in and what I find striking is that every woman has at least a couple of shades that might suit her. Everyone.

But what really impressed me recently was her body positivity, revealed in an interview for Cut Magazine in which she was asked about her approach to clothing:

“Well, I actually have had the pleasure of a fluctuating body type, where one day I can literally fit into something that is bodycon, and then the next day — the next week — I need something oversized; I need a little crop here and a high-waist there to hide that part, you know?

I really pay attention every day when I go into the closet about what’s working for my body that morning. I feel like that’s how everyone should go after fashion, because it’s an individual thing. And then, if you take it further, it’s like: What week are you having? You having a skinny week? You having a fat week? Are we doing arms this week? We doing legs this week? We doing oversized?

I love to play with silhouettes as well, but I think it’s important to make sure that you wear the thing that works for your body the best, and that’s flattering.” – Rihanna

There’s something beautiful and so very rare about a woman who is at peace with her body and makes the clothes fit her frame, rather than the other way around. I love that Rihanna is a positive role model and yes, she has stylists and custom made clothes, but while her wardrobe is out of reach, her attitude is something we can all adopt.

I remember falling in love with my thighs a few years ago. Not because they’re lovely  – far from it. But because they’re mine. They’re huge and strong and curvy and have cellulite but they are mine.

Since I was a teen I have hated my legs, especially my knees. But as I got older and my body changed, I found that my thighs bothered me the most. I steered well clear of tight jeans and skirts and sought to cover up my lower half whenever possible.

And then one day, at the grand old age of 30, I just stopped*. I looked in the mirror and liked what I saw, because it was very me. Men may hate or love them, and thick thighs are currently in vogue thanks to Nicki Minaj, but I try to make how I feel about my body my plumb line for self-confidence. It doesn’t always work, but like Rihanna, I find what makes me feel cute (nice underwear especially) and rock it. I’ve found the looks that flatter my shape and feel good – they aren’t always in fashion, but I’m true to my style.

 

*being in my thirties is amazing. I think I’ll have to write about it sometime.

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grown up?

I feel like I’m never done answering that question, it’s never settled.

Lauren Laverne wrote a lovely article last week on aging and gracefully “accepting the counsel of the years” – but not giving up who you are:

“So often, when women talk about ageing, we really mean how we look – but the process is also about who we become. It’s about how we live. To be optimistic, to face the future with open eyes, heart and mind, and without clinging to the past – those are my goals.” – Lauren Laverne

I’ve found my thirties unsettling and thrilling.

I love the feeling of settling into my body. I remember a point last year when I looked at my thighs – really looked – and thought, these are mine, they are large and shapely and I love them. I’m embarassed to say that it’s taken me that long to make peace with my body. Yes, I still want to be fit. But the primary goal is health rather than aesthetics. I want to be stronger, more flexible, to build a strong framework on which to wear the advancing years; a strong foundation to age (dis)gracefully with.

My skin has changed. My hair and nails have changed. I wasn’t really prepared for how different I would feel in myself. Not in a bad way, but it has been unsettling.

But that’s just the outside. I love the feeling of settling into myself; knowing myself so much better, feeling more confident and sure of what I’m about. I know what lights my fire and what diminishes me – what I can and cannot – or more importantly will and will not do.

I’m still learning, growing, changing. I have some lovely friends who are younger than me – just knocking at 30, and those who are closer to 40 – who I can look up to. They are vibrant and fierce and brilliant, wonderful role models to aspire to.

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Real Beautiful

Capture“It is real, it is honest, it is gorgeous” is how Marie Claire described the unretouched photos of Cindy Crawford that leaked last week. They weren’t supposed to be seen, but I have to tip my hat to Marie Claire’s communications team for classy handling of the affair.

They’re right, though.

At 48, she looks amazing. And real. Apart from a lucky few, most women have rounded tums and dimply thighs. We bear the scars of life: childbirth, bumps and scrapes, age.

One of the best things about being over 30 is settling into myself. I wish I had done it sooner. More than anything now, I just want to be strong and flexible so that my body can go the distance into old age. Our bodies are phenomenal, from the tips of our fingers to the organs inside – so much happens automatically that we take for granted.

So much time is wasted in an adversarial relationship with its quirks or in pursuit of an ideal, when your body is uniquely yours.

Real.

Honest.

(and quite possibly) Gorgeous.

 

 

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Apparently women with a larger bottom are smarter and healthier.

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Woman by Natalie Angier

womanI’m only in chapter 1, but Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier is tickling all my funny bones. Her tone is poetic, irreverent, teasing, exultant, cheeky, provocative – and utterly hilarious. She makes science so much fun. I think I’m going to love this. If you enjoy the witty style of feminist sites like The Hairpin, I heartedly recommend this book.

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