I’ve learned that someone else’s opinion of my body doesn’t matter.
A serious condition that’s way more than skin deep.
Even as a home-owning adult, I feel like a child.
In a move designed to cater for the diverse female body types of Australia, Target has announced the introduction of size 16 mannequins. They were released on Thursday, September 10 in Target’s Chadstone store, and will be placed in over 49 stores nationwide. These ‘normal’ sized dolls are an attempt to acknowledge that many women other than sizes 6-8 buy clothes, and give larger ladies a sense of body confidence not previously afforded to them.
Sounds great! What could be better than encouraging women to be proud of their bodies, whatever the shape or size?
I’ll tell you what’s better; encouraging women to eat healthily, exercise more, and not be complacent about a body that’s beyond the bounds of a healthy BMI.
I am all for average sized mannequins. If you looked up the definition of “average female body type” in the dictionary, there would be a picture of me. My shirt/dress size is a 10, my pants size is a 12, and I am 5 foot 5 and a half. However; I go to the gym regularly, I avoid sugary food, I don’t drink, and I watch my portion sizes. Why do I do this? Aside from the fact that I really, really like Zumba, I would LOVE to fit into clothes that are size 8-10, rather than 10-12.
This isn’t because I have some terrible body complex; on the contrary, I am really happy with how I look. But I know that if I kicked a couple of kilos, I would be more comfortable in more clothes, and have less trouble shopping for them. That’s it. Simple. Tiny mannequins don’t make me anxious; I will never be a size 6 as I don’t have the bone structure. However, they do motivate me to get fitter and healthier than I already am. Surely this is a good thing?
Let’s look at what Target Australia’s Managing Director, Stuart Machin, had to say. “The average customer is a size 14, so it’s baffling that the Australian retail industry still uses a standard size 8 mannequin…We want to change the way Australian retailers represent women, and we hope that these mannequins will help to start a new conversation in the fashion industry. We know how important it is to be accessible for real Australians. We’ve always tried to cater for all sizes – from introducing our petites line with our Dannii for Target range right through to the Belle Curves collection that caters for women up to size 26.”
Whoa! Back up a bit! Firstly; if the average customer is a 14, then why not have size 14 mannequins? That is usually a perfectly healthy size. I know my booty expands to a 14 around Christmas, and I’m the poster-girl for average. Secondly; what does Mr. Machin mean by “real” and “everyday” women? Last time I checked, women were trying to move past being defined by their body type. It should have nothing to do with what makes us ‘real’. Reverse body shaming, anyone?
Here’s the thing; size 16 – 26 is not a ‘body type’. I know many women who are this size and are perfectly happy, but they would be much, MUCH happier if they dropped a few pounds. Yes, some women have medical conditions/chronic injuries that unfortunately effect their fitness, but most do not. There is a temptation to get wound up in the ‘love your body’ movement, but it should not be an excuse to maintain a less than healthy lifestyle.
Love your body by keeping it as fit and healthy as you can. Size 16 mannequins may give women a better shopping experience, but they do not give us incentive to avoid the obesity crisis. True body confidence comes with a healthy lifestyle and a healthy mind. Remember; the two are not mutually exclusive.
Thighs, bums, hips, boobs and bellies – cellulite has a tendency of popping up all over the place. Much to our dismay, around 90 per cent of women, and virtually no men, have cellulite somewhere on their body. So ladies, you’re in good company!
Unfortunately there’s no quick fix and as much as cosmetic companies would like us to believe – short of going under the knife – getting rid of cellulite isn’t as easy as a trip to the chemist.
Cellulite is formed by fat cells found underneath the top layer of skin that have meshed their way in between the connective tissue, or collagen, that attaches your muscle to your skin. Sadly for us, the structure of our connective tissue is different to mens, hence why we’re so susceptible to cellulite and they’re not.
In other news, dermatologists believe that genetic factors can exacerbate the look of cellulite (thanks a lot mum and dad), so unfortunately cellulite is more noticeable on some of us. The good news is, you’re not alone and you’re certainly not doomed to be sporting a cellulite infused ass for the rest of your life. Here’s how to get rid of cellulite for good!
Exercise, exercise, exercise!
You can firm your butt and smooth your thighs in less than an hour a day with these quick and easy exercises that will banish your cellulite for good.
Walk it off
Brisk, daily walks are not only great for your health, it also helps to slim down your thighs and firm the skin around cellulite prone areas. Alternate your pace between fast and slow to get the most of your workout.
Work it off
Thigh raise: Lying face down, raise your legs —from just above your knees — so your feet are a few inches off the ground. Bend your knees, keeping them off the ground, and hold that position. Start with five seconds and gradually work up to 15 seconds. Slowly unbend your knees and, with control, lower your straight legs to the ground, then repeat.
Thigh chair: Stand about a foot away from a wall with your feet straight ahead. Slide your body down the wall, until you are sitting with your thighs perpendicular to the surface. Hold this position for between 30 seconds and two minutes.
Sumo squats: Stand with your legs a little further than shoulder width apart and face your toes outwards. Slowly lower your lower body, keeping your back straight, and pushing your butt out as though there is an invisible chair beneath your bum. Hold this squatting position for 10 seconds then repeat 15-20 times. That’s one rep, repeat this three-four times.
You can try spending a lot of money on skin firming products that promise to get rid of your cellulite, and while they will make your skin supple and smooth, it won’t visibly reduce the appearance, or actually get rid of your cellulite. Exercise is the one sure-fire way to ensure you become confident in your own skin.
Image via Womens health
I have what is commonly called a ‘ghetto booty’. It gets comments wherever I go. Co-workers have literally lined up to give it a cheeky pinch – at my invitation, of course. People are astounded by its firm feel and perky look. I call it, “The Girls” and joke that everything that was supposed to go to my boobs went to my behind. What’s unique about my body is the proportions. My top half is a size 8-10. My bottom half is a 14. My figure is like something out of the Victorian era and I own it.
However, it’s only over the last two years that I have developed body confidence. I used to do everything to disguise my rear. Long skirts, A-line dresses; I didn’t own a pair of jeans. I constantly lamented the fact that my bottom was not proportionate to my top. This is because, for much of the 2000s, it was the height of fashion to have a flat butt. Australia has a beach culture, so go figure.
At the end of 2012, something happened that changed my life. By some wonderfully bizarre twist of fate, I started working on a film in the USA. I arrived a few days before filming, and around the hotel I wore tights and circle skirts. However, being on location required something more practical, so I took a deep breath and did something I hadn’t done for years…donned a pair of jeans.
Nobody noticed what I was wearing, until, walking past the hair and makeup trailer, I heard: “Dayumm, girl, what’ve you been hiding underneath those dresses?!” It was the head hair stylist, an African American gentleman, and one of my favourite people in the film crew. He was looking at me with a combination of awe and wonder.
“What do you mean?!” I asked.
“Girl!” he repeated, throwing up his hands, “I did not recognise you! I thought, ‘Who is that girl built like a brick wall?!’” By now, some of the other makeup artists had emerged and were nodding enthusiastically.
“Yeah! Why you been hiding that?!” one of the girls asked.
“Hiding what?” I replied.
“That BOOTY!” another continued. What followed was a storm of praise, because in America, especially in African American culture, having a ghetto booty is the most desirable thing a girl can possess. They told me that I had literally been sitting on my greatest asset (pun fully intended). And I had NO IDEA. I went back to Australia with a spring in my step. A world of self-esteem had opened up – although I still disguised my posterior during 2013.
But then… 2014 happened.
All of a sudden, booties were everywhere. Nicky Minaj was grinding up a storm. Kimmy K broke the internet with her gleaming derriere. Twerking was the new Macarena – and I took full advantage of it. I tossed my long skirts and worked the short dresses. I lived in jeans and high heels. I will now wear anything to make my butt look more prominent and when somebody stares at ‘The Girls’ with that bewildered, trance-like expression, I stick it out and swagger.
I’m not saying that thin bodies aren’t desirable. If you’re blessed with lovely petite hips, that’s fabulous. Own it. But holy hell, am I glad the tide has turned. Let’s be honest; it’s not enough to just say: “Love your body no matter what.” The road to body-confidence is longer than that. If society, for whatever reason, is now (finally) celebrating varied body types, I’m rolling with it. So ladies; whether you’re a willowy waif, or you’ve got a booty like a Cadillac, work it with pride.
Image via Emaze.com
When it comes to the way we look, too many of us focus on what we don’t like about our physical form. For some, this starts in adolescence or childhood, and sadly for many people it lasts a lifetime. With self-loathing, the risk of obsession about physical appearance and diseases like anorexia increase, and a quest for perfection can take hold.
The only thing is perfection is an unattainable goal. You see, no-one is completely perfect, therefore people are setting themselves up for failure. Don’t assume for a moment this is just a female thing, either. More and more males are feeling the need to search for perfection as well. One of the most famous cases of poor body image was Micheal Jackson; born a handsome young man, his quest for perfection became a psychological illness and he altered his physical appearance to extremes.
The main problem we are facing as a society is that this quest for perfection isn’t going to end any time soon. Children see their parents and adult role models yo-yo diet, swallow body transformation products, go under the knife and continue to complain about their looks. If adult role models continue to expose the next generation to the idea that we all need ‘fixing’, it’s going to be an endless cycle.
One of the most effective ways of learning is via observation, so the only way children will learn to feel comfortable in their skin is if adults learn to accept their own. The million dollar question on everyone’s lips, however, is how do we do that?
For many people, maturity, experience and an accompanying change of attitude has a lot to do with it. For example, many older people or survivors of disease like cancer learn to appreciate their physical form and even embrace their unique imperfections. Instead, being healthy becomes far more important than losing weight or changing appearance in the name of vanity.
This doesn’t mean that these people neglect their looks – they still continue to groom and take care of themselves, but they view their physical imperfections in a positive way rather than a negative. For many, it’s a triumph of surviving past experience and the journeys they’ve encountered throughout their lives. This shift in attitude toward their physical imperfections is the most significant difference between a having a healthy or poor body image.
Body image isn’t just about weight or size, which many people wrongly assume. It encompasses an individuals complete physical package such as hair colour, facial features, length and girth of the torso, arms and legs, wrinkles acquired and the effect gravity has on our bodies as we age.
People with a positive body image don’t feel the need to hide their imperfections from the world. For example, they may decide to keep their gray hair instead of colouring or neglect to hide scars, sagging skin or stretch marks. These people are comfortable in their own skin and have a sense of self satisfaction with who they are and how they look.
Alternatively, people with a poor body image don’t have this emotional freedom when it comes to appreciating their physical form. They restrain themselves from wearing certain clothes, hide particular body parts and can even become recluse in fear of being judged by the way others see them. An important thing to remember, however, is that self-criticism is generally far worse than any criticism from others.
Changing Your Attitude Toward Physical Imperfections
Changing a negative body image to a positive one is an important step in becoming self-satisfied and happy with oneself. It also significantly reduces the risk of mental illnesses such as eating or appearance disorders.
One of the easiest ways to change your attitude about your appearance is by using some simple Cognitive Behaviour techniques and exposure exercises. For example, if you refrain from wearing something that you think will expose your imperfection and draw attention to it, try doing it. Start alone in the comfort of your home and when you’re ready, expose your imperfections to others like family and friends. Pretty soon you’ll be more comfortable with your body and will be able to embrace it rather than hide it.
When doing this, think to yourself: What’s the worst thing that can happen? In many cases of poor body image people assume negative repercussions when none really exist. Only after you try it out and expose yourself to these consequences can negative thoughts be disproved.
Occasionally people may receive negative comments or remarks when doing so, but don’t let this deter you. It’s how you feel about your body that really matters, so try it out and see how you go. You might find you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the emotional freedom and self confidence which a positive body image contributes to.
Images via quirkycoffeechic.blogspot.com
One of Australia’s hottest in-demand exports, Natasha Oakley (pictured) – the LA-based, Sydney born swimwear model, fashion and lifestyle blogger and entrepreneur – has been announced as the body of Veet’s new Natural Inspirations range.
The rising star, who is fast becoming a global social media phenomenon with more than 657,000 followers on her Instagram alone, is passionate about empowering women to feel great. Her site, http://abikiniaday.com, which she runs alongside her best friend Devin Brugman, tackles the big issues of positive body image and confidence.
Idolised worldwide for her natural beauty and relaxed, beach-chic style, Natasha, 23, counts model, presenter, designer and producer among her many talents and credits. In addition, Natasha and Devin created their own swimwear label, Monday Swimwear – inspired by their constant search for that everyday, stylish yet comfortable ‘go-to bikini’.
With her entrepreneurial spirit and promotion of positive body image, Natasha is striving to be an inspirational role model for young women.
Leading depilatories expert Veet’s new hair removal solutions for all skin types, and for face and body, contain shea butter, aloe vera and grape seed oil for all skin types. The Natural Inspirations range includes Wax Strips, $12.79; Sugar Wax, $15.49; Face Wax Strips, $11.49; Cream, $9.49; and an In Shower Cream, $15.99.
Here, Natasha talks her fave Veet products and how to get bikini confidence and beach-ready this spring/summer:
What are your Veet must-have products for summer? The new Natural Inspirations Range contains three depilatory creams and three wax products, all of which smell divine. However, I have always only ever been a wax girl so for this summer I highly recommend Veet’s Natural Inspirations Wax Strips (for body or face) and the Natural Inspirations Sugar Wax (both pictured below), or if you are at home with a bit more time for DIY hair removal, I would suggest using Veet’s Electrical Roll-On Kit.
What do you love most about Veet? Apart from how well their products work, what I love the most is the convenience of the wax strips while travelling! They are so light and convenient to pack – I just remove from box and place the flat strips in my bag.
How can women best prepare for bikini season? Working out regularly is important, but I also feel confident in my bikini from little things like manicured nails, waxing with Veet for silky smooth skin at the beach and keeping your skin exfoliated and moisturised. Finding the right bikini is also very important – remember to find the suit that fits your body type best and don’t be afraid to go up or down a size from your regular size, just ensure the bikini is comfortable and not squeezing anywhere so it will be as flattering as possible to show off your naturally beautiful figure.
What body confidence tips do you have for young women? Confidence not only comes from embracing who you are and understanding that everyone is beautiful in their own way, it comes from leading a healthy balance lifestyle. If you are working out, eating correctly and maintaining a positive outlook on life, everything falls into place and with it you will feel more confident within yourself. Also remembering to never compare yourself to others, which can be hard as we all naturally do, is a key to confidence. If everyone was the same, the world would be boring – individuality is a beautiful, natural thing.
What bikinis are best suited to each different body shape? The article on my blog http://abikiniaday.com/what-is-your-body-type-and-which-bikini-should-you-be-wearing/ is a must-read for all women.
What bikini trends are hot for summer? The latest trends I saw recently at Miami Swim Week are neoprene, zips, mesh panelling and also a newer trend, rashies!
Can every woman wear a bikini? Yes! It’s about knowing you body type, what suits and fits you best and rocking your bikini bod with confidence!