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Audi made this request:
I’d love to see you do a piece about embracing our bodies and faces as we age. It bums me out to see so many attractive women succumbing to the pressure to look “younger” through cosmetic surgery and Botox and all that. You’ve written a lot about loving your body the way it is now, rather than the way you imagine it will be in the future — how about the other tack; loving your body now and not the way it used to be when you were younger?
I love my body now, at 38-almost-39, more wholly and truly than I did when I was younger. I seem to become more comfortable and more confident as I age, not less. And I know that to be true for many women.
But I also feel myself becoming more attuned to negative messages about aging: Fine lines, dull skin, loss of muscle tone, gray hair, all these trappings of a mature body that society has deemed shameful pop up on my radar now more than ever. Some of these traits are starting to show up in my own body and some are yet to arrive, but the messages about their insidiousness are penetrating my consciousness now when they used to just bounce away like so much noise.
Just as the diet industry exists to make us feel like we’ll never be thin enough, just as the cosmetics industry exists to make us feel like we’ll never be pretty enough, anti-aging products exist to make us feel like we must, must, MUST remain young-looking forever. And while we can choose to change our body masses through food and fitness, choose to highlight certain aspects of our faces with makeup, we can’t truly control how the passage of time will affect our physical forms. Botox and facelifts, anti-aging creams and treatments, these things encourage us to pretend to be other women, younger women, women we simply are not. Encouraging women to take actions that will “turn back the clock” encourages them to feel dissatisfied and uncomfortable in their bodies, encourages them to postpone contemplation of age and aging, encourages them to feel bitter and envious when they encounter young or younger-looking women.
That said, I can’t completely disregard all anti-aging measures, just as I can’t completely disregard all weight loss programs or cosmetics. I would never say that all women who go on Weight Watchers are betraying themselves or all women who wear mascara are sell-outs, and I’d never say that all women who dye their gray hairs are cowards. It’s about choice. Each woman must choose how she presents herself to the world, physically, emotionally, stylistically, wholly. The important and often-overlooked step in making decisions about changing your body is asking WHY: Why do you want to dye your hair? Why do you want to spend $150 on a pot of eye cream? Why do you want to appear younger? You may find that the answers have more to do with your peers, your family, relentless advertisements for anti-aging products, or messages from movies and TV than your own inner musings. Consider carefully before taking action, and ask these questions of yourself:
Our bodies are in a constant state of flux, no matter our ages. Some changes are easier to track than others, and the changes that begin to appear after a certain chronological age may seem more pronounced and alarming. But that’s because of the constant stream of alarmist messages that’s piped into our collective consciousness.
It’s also because women who struggle with body image generally begin their struggles early on. We look back at photographs of ourselves at age 16, 17, 18 and remember HATING our lovely, developing bodies. We look back and wish we’d appreciated what we’d had when we were younger. But the hard fact is this: Until someone builds a time machine, we can’t go back and shake our teenage selves out of that self-loathing. Until someone discovers the fountain of youth, we will never again look like we did as young women. So we must leave the past, and embrace the present. Loving your body is about loving it NOW, as it is today. Your today-body is just as beautiful as your yesterday-body, just in different ways and for different reasons. Identify those ways and reasons, and you can move yourself toward aging gracefully.
Image courtesy Peter Dahlgren
This is a refreshed and revived post from the archive.
The post Aging Gracefully appeared first on Already Pretty | Where style meets body image.
One of the most powerful things that I do to reinforce my personal body love journey is to seek out positive representations of fat bodies. I live in a culture that barrages me with negative images of, and messages about, fat bodies. It’s important to me that I counteract that.
I was thinking about it today because the Adipositivity Project Annual Calendar is out [link NSFW unless your work is really cool), and, as always, it is awesome! I was lucky enough to be an Adiposer for the awesome Substantia Jones’ fabulous fat positive project[NSFW] and it was an amazing experience..
It inspired me to take pictures of some of the positive representations of fat bodies that we keep around the house…
I was also reminded of these soft sculptures by Yulia Ustinovaon Facebook today (and thus reminded that I desperately want one!)
What are some of your favorite representations of fat bodies? Please feel free to leave links to them in the the comments!
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Book and Dance Class Sale!I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!
Book Me!I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!
I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com
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