Why We Should Be Positive About Our Bodies – To Our Sons As Well As Our Daughters…

Link

Article Originally posted here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rita-templeton/why-i-want-my-sons-to-see-me-naked_b_5797920.html

“I live with a houseful of boys: four, to be exact. But they’re still relatively young — so there are no nudie mags stashed between mattresses, no stealthily-accessed porn sites that someone forgot to erase out of the Internet history, nothing like that. As much as I’d love to think my kids won’t be curious, I’m well aware that won’t be the case: those things are looming and will probably start happening much sooner than I’d like. (I mean, if I had my druthers, they wouldn’t even think about sex until they were like 25.)

But before all that happens — before they’re exposed to boobs that are as round and firm as cantaloupes and pictures of taut, airbrushed, dimple-less butts — I’m exposing them to a different kind of female body.

Mine.

Ours is not a modest household. I don’t lounge around in the buff like my boys do (and I spend more time saying, “Put on some pants!” than anything else) — but I’ve never refrained from changing clothes in front of them, or leaving the door open when I shower, or nursing babies without a cover. Because I want them to see what a real female body looks like. Because if I don’t — and their first images of a naked woman are the impossibly perfect physiques in those magazines or those movies — what kind of expectations will they have? And what woman could ever live up to them?

Between you and me, I’m dismayed, big time, by my post-baby body. But for the sake of my boys — and my future daughters-in-law — I lie through my teeth. When they ask about my stretch marks, I tell them proudly how growing a baby is hard work, and that they’re like badges I’ve earned (gaming references always hit home with dudes, no matter what you’re explaining). As much as I’d like to cringe and shrink away when they touch my squishy belly, I let them squeeze my flab between their curious fingers. Do I hate it? Yes. I want to wail, “Leave my fat alone!” and run for the nearest oversized T-shirt (or, like, the nearest liposuction clinic).

But I don’t. Because for right now, for these few formative years, my flab is their one and only perception of the female body. And I want them to know that it’s beautiful, even in its imperfection.

2014-09-11-Templetons.jpg

I tell them how strong my body is. They see me work out. They see me make healthy food choices, but still indulge my love of baked goods. And though — like most women — I might inwardly beat myself up over my jeans getting too tight, or groan in frustration at the numbers on the scale, I’m never anything but proud of my body in front of my boys. Even when I feel the complete opposite inside. Instilling a positive body image is not an issue reserved for people with daughters — and for boys, it involves not only making them confident about their own bodies, but also letting them know that real is beautiful when it comes to the opposite sex.

I don’t want to do them, or any women they might happen to see naked in the future, the disservice of telling them that saggy boobs are bad or that a little bit of flab is something to be ashamed of. I want them to know that this is the norm, not the nipped-tucked-and-digitally-enhanced images they’re going to be bombarded with. Sure, they’ll gawk at those bouncy boobies and flat stomachs and perky butts… but I have hope that, deep down inside, they’ll know that isn’t the standard to which they should hold women’s bodies. Like, ever.

There will come a time when I cover up when they’re around. I’m sure at some point I’ll hear, “Ugh, Mom, put some clothes on!” or that they’ll learn to knock before barging into the bathroom (which sounds heavenly — I’m not gonna lie). But until then, I’ll let them run their fingers along my stretch marks, and grin and bear it when they squeal with delighted laughter at the way my butt jiggles when I walk across the room to grab a towel. Because while they’re young, I want to plant the seed — so that when they’re older, and their wives say, “I wish my thighs were smaller,” my sons can say, “They’re perfect just the way they are.”

And mean it.”

 

Our Body Image Is Not Our Kids’ Problem

Thought this might resonate with a few people.

Even women who aren’t bigger more often than not have hangups and reservations about their bodies. How often do we delete photos other people have taken of us (or refuse to look at them) because we don’t like what we see?

But perhaps we don’t see what the person taking the photo sees. Have a read:

Exposed by my children for what I really look like

Flipping through the pictures on my phone, I see it.

My first reaction is shock. Who took this hideous picture of me?

Self-loathing and disgust swell up and threaten to bring me to tears.

Just as I am about to hit delete, my boy walks in the room.

“Do you know anything about this picture?” I ask him.

I turn the screen so he can see it. He smiles huge.

“I took that of you in Tahoe,” he says. “You looked so beautiful laying there. I couldn’t help it mom.”

“You need to ask me before using my phone to take pictures,” I say.

“I know,” he says. “But mom, seriously, look how pretty you look?”

I look at the picture again and try to see what he sees.

My daughter walks over and takes a look.

“That could be a postcard mom,” she says smiling. “You’re so beautiful. I love it.”

I take a deep breath.

This is exactly what I needed.

My default mode is to see and focus on the flaws and imperfections. I’m starting to see a bit more.

I still see my dimply, fat thighs.

I also see a mom collapsed on the shore that just explored the lake for hours with her children.

I still see chubby arms.

I also see the arms of a mom that just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn’t hurt.

I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.

I also see an adventurous mom that loves her children something fierce.

Like many women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life. It’s not something that will ever go away for me. I don’t have a naturally slim body. Never have.

Right now I’m the heaviest I’ve been in 10 years. Yet…

I have not let my weight stop me this time. I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public. I’m running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.

Yes. You heard me.

“I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and bright.”

Well…not exactly. But something like that.

Is it because I’m getting older? Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look? Or maybe it’s because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes.

Really, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t hate my body anymore.

That’s huge for me to admit and hard to even wrap my mind around.

I’m not giving up on exercising and getting healthy. Those are things I will continue to strive for because I want to be around awhile.

Right now though, I just want to love my body where it is. I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.

Thank you kids.”

Read the original post at Bridgette Tales

 

New Page – What To Wear When in Labour

Simply Be Nightshirts

Help!? What Do I Wear in Labour!?

Lots of women are truly stumped when it comes to working out what they’re going to wear in labour.

If you thought the suppliers for maternity wear were few – options for plus-size nighties and such are even fewer!

Especially if you don’t want them to look like you’ve borrowed them from your 90 year old granny!

But Big Birtha has some ideas, and some links to suppliers. Click here: Help!? What Do I Wear in Labour!?

 

Plus-size, pregnant and proud?

Would you like to share your pregnancy experiences with others in a TV documentary?

Barcroft Media

Barcroft Productions is looking for pregnant women with high BMI to take part in an observational documentary following the final weeks of their pregnancy.

See the attached:

Pregnancy Poster (102.5 KiB)

If this applies to you, and you think you might be interested, please contact Claudia Guerrette at Barcroft as soon as possible to discuss further or to ask more questions about the production.

claudia.guerretta@barcroftproductions.com
Office +44 (0)207 033 1032 ext. 324
Barcroft Productions
Studio 14, Shoreditch Stables
138 Kingsland Road
London

In case anyone is wondering, Big Birtha doesn’t have any connection to the documentary makers or the production, other than being approached to participate. So I can’t give any assurances on the likely editorial nature.

The Plus-Size Barbie Controversy

So, ‘Plus Size Modeling’ started a campaign on Facebook – asking whether people think companies like Mattel should make plus-sized versions of dolls like Barbie.

Of course, it’s a publicity stunt. But a publicity stunt that 40,000 people ‘liked’, and which has garnered a considerable amount of press, especially in the US.

The image used was nothing new – it was actually the winning entry to a 2011 Worth1000.com photoshop competition to digitally ‘fatten up’ celebrities. Funnily enough, the photo has been mistakenly attributed to Mattel, with some people thinking that there are plans afoot to create such a doll. Curiously, or perhaps wisely, Mattel seems to have stayed completely quiet on the matter.Real Size Barbie

This isn’t the first (and I’m guessing it won’t be the last) time that attention has been drawn to the unrealistic proportions of Barbie; we’ve had artists compare Barbie to real women: http://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/the-code-word/what-would-barbie-look-like-in-real-life/

We’ve had doctors compare Barbie to real women, even to the extent of calculating that Barbie would not have the requisite amount of body fat to menstruate. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7920962.stm

Is a Barbie Body Possible?We’ve had eating disorder sites deconstructing the media’s treatment of women and obsession with size, and studies showing that girls exposed to Barbie as opposed to a more realistic sized doll had less self-esteem about their bodies, and a stronger desire to be thin. http://www.rehabs.com/explore/dying-to-be-barbie/

Valeria LukyanovaMore worrying is that we’ve even had young (and not so young) girls go to drastic lengths to make themselves look more like dolls. Valeria Lukyanova has reputedly spent $800,000 on plastic surgery to make her look more like her idol.

And yet, Barbie dolls are still on sale 55 years on, and people are still buying them. It’s hardly surprising – after all, the images we see in magazines of models and celebrities are more representative of Barbie’s dimensions than they are of the real female form.

But which came first, the chicken, or the egg? Did generations of children growing up being marketed the implausibly proportioned Barbie learn to love the lean, or is Barbie merely holding up a mirror to the attitudes already prevalent in society, and giving consumers what they want?

Let’s be brutally honest. I’m not convinced a plus-size Barbie would be anything more than a flash in the pan. So what’s the answer, I wonder?

I think it has to start with campaigns like the one above. If photographs are digitally enhanced, they should say so. And, more’s the point, the disclaimer should be required to be of a size that people can actually read it.

Aerie Lingerie

Or even better, retailers should have the confidence to mount campaigns like this US lingerie brand. And we consumers need to vote with our feet and our wallets to support them (hell, not that I look a jot like her, but it’s a step in the right direction…).

And finally, perhaps rather than dolls, we should be buying our daughters these:BooksBooksBooksLego Girl

colouring pencils

Doctor Kit

The legacy we leave our daughters…

I try my very best to only project body-positive attitudes in the presence of my daughter.

Even when she points out my wobbly bits.

Really, I attempt to minimise discussion about image at all, and instead focus on other qualities, trying hard, being clever, being kind, good manners etc. But with the best will in the world I can’t remove all the other influences in her life, even if some of them are ultimately negative, and nor should I attempt to.

What I can do, though, is try to inspire her to see herself in as positive a light as possible, through making sure she sees me see myself in as positive a light as possible.

And here’s why:

https://medium.com/human-parts/bf5111e68cc1

It’s a very poignant letter from an Australian book called ‘Dear Mum: a collection of letters from Australian sporting stars, musicians, models, cooks and authors revealing what they would like to say to their mothers before it’s too late, or would have said if only they’d had the chance, with profits going to the Australian National Breast Cancer Foundation