Susan's Blog

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Skin Deep

Ned told me about this website, The Shape of A Mother. Amazing! This is because we are often discussing our bodies and joking about them, and what time and use have done to them. Most of us probably have an ambivalent attitude towards our bods, kind of love/hate. I think that’s where I am, anyway. I think that being able to work out like I did at age fifteen has affected my outlook positively, however. While most women seem to hate their stretch marks, and take the fashion magazine view of them, as a thing to hide, I kind of like the way they shimmer in certain lights. I now see them as stripes I have earned, from carrying my boys for 40 weeks. You look at the Shape of A Mother website and you see that so many of us hate our bodies. It is horrifying that this is so. Why are we so self-conscious? Why does everyone scrutinize and judge everyone, particularly women?

The other day while walking on the beach, in my bikini, my father said to me, “Don’t you hate seeing those fat women, or even not so fat women, in bikinis?”

I thought, “Oh my God, he is giving me a message!” I took a deep breath and recovered quickly; it did not matter if my father thought I was fat and shouldn’t be in a bikini. I did not agree with him, even if that were what he was trying to say. My therapist would be proud, and I said, honestly, “No! I love seeing women in bikinis! I think it’s great if a woman feels like showing off her skin. I always feel happier in a bikini. I don’t know why; maybe because Ned likes it so much.” He must have loved that!

But it’s true, and not only with women. I love looking at everyone on the beach: old, young, dark, light, fat, thin. The endless stream of epidermis is fascinating to me.

I also love the new trend of pregnant women wearing bikinis and tight clothing and showing off their huge bellies. Why the hell not? Your body is your body; it is you. You’d better start loving it because it’s the only one you’ve got!

9 comments

What I love is the fact that there were probably a number of pear- or apple-shaped men in swim trunks on that same beach. Sure, maybe they weren’t in Speedos, but I’m constantly amazed at the lack of shame men seem to have as they lug around enormous bellies, sagging skin, hairy backs and sometimes man-breasts while women with much less extra fat or flab are supposed to scuttle and cover.

We are just so used to seeing men in what is comfortable – low-riding plumber pants, shorts, no shirt in heat – that it just doesn’t register. A woman, on the other hand, is only supposed to expose flesh for appearance’s sake. I’ll bet most men don’t even think about the double standard after a while – I know a lot of females don’t.

— added by Anonymous on Monday, July 24, 2006 at 9:41 am

I hope this is a trend that lasts forever!

— added by MaNiC MoMMy™ on Monday, July 24, 2006 at 11:03 am

So funny you write this – Just yesterday I was at the beach and pulling my usual self-conscious crap and I happened to look around and thought – Wow! There is not a perfect body here. And that’s NORMAL. I was kinda shocked. It felt good.

— added by misha on Monday, July 24, 2006 at 6:04 pm

And the thing is, once you really let the idea sink in that we DON’T have to look like skinny magazine people, you can really find a lot of beauty in what you see. We are taught to HATE fat,for example but sometimes, it is quite compelling to look at, male or female. This is the first year that I just told myself, “I don’t have to look fifteen to be in a bikini.”

— added by Susan Senator on Monday, July 24, 2006 at 6:12 pm

Anonymous said it perfectly. There are so many variations in shape that you will never find in any of the ‘celeb’ magazines and supposedly societies ideal. And the men. The men are apparently permitted to let it all hang out and not give a wit. But women? We are expected to hold the ideal. Enough of THAT!

The day a man can birth children he can walk around proudly displaying his man boobs, hanging gut and back hair!

And until that day I will proudly hang out with my three kids in my bathing suit 30lbs over weight and have FUN dammit!

— added by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 2:37 am

Know what, I am proud of you too! Women are notorious for not having confidence in our bodies. To heck with that.
I’m a good 20lbs over the weight I want to be. I have very large breasts that until this year I tried to hide. Thanks to an ex-boyfriend I have scars from shoulder to knee. And guess what? Now I just don’t care.
I’m proud of my puppy fat because it’s all from giving birth to my daughter. These breasts are a sign of my fertility and ability to feed my daughter. These scars are proof of what I’ve survived.
To heck with what others think. I’m going to wear my bikini and have fun and look like a woman!

— added by Jen on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 2:37 pm

That website is making me reconsider the plastic surgery with the surgery I need to correct my separated abdominal muscles (I carried twins past 38 weeks), but I’d be happier without a long vertical scar. It’s not like I had the sort of C-section that leaves you with that kind of scar (and which a couple of my friends who had monoamniotic twins have, for the C-section reason).

I love seeing all the endless variety of scantily-clad people, male and female. It’s amazing to see all the differences, and all the different ways of being beautiful.

I’m glad Ned loves seeing you in a bikini and that you love wearing them because he loves seeing you in them. :)

— added by Julia on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 9:18 pm

I mean, I love seeing the variety of scantily clad people on the beach. :)

I also love pregnancy pics.

— added by Julia on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 9:19 pm

Love some of the pics of big fat and/or pregnant women showing off their huge sexy bellies. You go, you gorgeous, fat ladies. love each and every one of you. Fat big bellies rule

— added by Anonymous on Sunday, May 6, 2007 at 7:34 pm