We women love our bodies, don’t we? No matter how young and lovely we are, or how old and rippled we have become, we can gaze in the mirror, comfortably and with affection. Not!!!!
Women are usually unsatisfied with our body image. At what age does self-deprecation, or self-loathing, begin anyway? In the 1950’s I was a teen. I didn’t like my legs and of course I wished my breasts were larger, and my neck was too short, but other than that, I felt I was quite acceptable. I think I even liked my looks. I thought I had ‘good bones’, high cheek bones, strong jaw, good teeth. I remember liking my mouth with its full and nicely shaped lips.
After years at Girl Guide camps, and summers taking swimming lessons, I was even comfortable in open change rooms, disrobing, getting into or out of my bathing suit. Not comfortable really – I forced myself, and took pride in not succumbing to the modesty that insecure girls exhibited as they headed to the toilet closets to change. I bared myself with a studied nonchalance. Making this point was important to me. I could not have told you why back then. It just seemed right, normal.
For decades, movies provided glimpses of thigh, a suggestive mammary curve just visible in a side view . More recently, full frontal nudity has become common place. We saw this mostly with female actors, but eventually men too began displaying all their glory.
About the same time men in the buff became more common place, another new trend emerged. Aging, or less than perfect, bodies proudly began putting themselves out there. It was wonderfully honest and relatable. Remember ‘Calendar Girls‘ … those ripe, mature women disrobed? Memorable. And will we ever forget plump, middle-aged Kathy Bates stepping into the hot tub with Jack Nicholson in ‘Schmidt’? That was a defining moment for me and I imagine for most women. She exhibited a raw and wonderful sensuality in a comedic setting. We were beginning to get the message. It was OK to like ourselves and to like the packaging.
Zoomer magazine’s April 2012 issue had a surprising cover that caused a second glance. Canadian icon, fifty-year-old singer, songwriter, comedian, Jann Arden’s Rubinesque shoulders, upper chest and arms were completely bare. Inside the magazine, Bryan Adams, rocker/photographer, captured Jann, stretched out, nude. It was an amazing two-page, centerfold. This round, plump woman was the anthisis of the expected and traditional reed-thin, girl models.
Jann stated in the accompanying article that she was frustrated with body image in mainstream beauty and fashion.
She was quoted as being, “passionate about the fact that most of us normal women are marginalized and set aside for not looking a certain way.”
Jan confessed, “For the first time and perhaps the last, I took my duds off. Scared? Yes, but somehow relieved to be able to say, ‘…. Love thyself right now. Don’t wait until it is too late!’ So, at 50 years old, my butt and all the bits and pieces attached to it are out there walking the walk.”
You go girl! And Zoomer editors … that cover shot and centerfold was a fabulous decision!