Self-confidence-2

I Get More Action Since Gaining Weight Than I Ever Did Skinny

Turns out it really is what’s on the inside that matters most.

April 13, 2016

13 Unexpected Ways Getting A Boob Job Changed My Life

Whether going bigger or smaller, there’s bound to be a few shocks along the way…

February 16, 2016

The Greatest Love Of All: How To Foster Self-Love

“Learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all” – Whitney Houston, Greatest Love of All

Learning to love yourself as the imperfect being you are sometimes ain’t easy to do, but do it we must for the sake of healthy personal relationships and our ability to make smart, healthy choices.

RELATED: Get Commando Fit This Year

After all, if you can’t love and respect yourself, how can you expect others to do it?

And I’m not talking about vanity or narcissism, I’m talking about the kind of self-love that spurs you to make healthy life choices and treat yourself with loving kindness. Experts say developing a healthy level of self-esteem will help us to be less sensitive and more able to accept constructive criticism, express ideas in a calm way, be less dependent and more likely to have our needs met.

We’ll also inevitably be much healthier, happier humans, thus improving and strengthening our personal relationships. Maybe it’s a hard life lesson that comes in your 30s – at least, it was for me.

Learn To Love Yourself

The minute I truly learned to be comfortable in my own skin and accept and enjoy my singleton status, I met my husband soon after.

Coincidence? I don’t think so. But it was a hard-fought lesson; instead of looking for someone to fill a void – a self-love deficit, if you will, as I had done in the past – I made the conscious decision to really work on developing my inner happiness and self-love on my solo journey.

self-love, self-esteem, self-acceptance

A clinical psychologist, who wishes to remain anonymous, says our level of self-love is inevitably shaped by childhood upbringing and experiences, as well as personality traits.

“Life can be difficult for someone who has low self-esteem, for example: someone who doesn’t like him/her self, judges him/herself harshly and expects bad things to happen often. Expectations of negativity can be self-fulfilling, so if you anticipate that there will be lots of criticism and stuff-ups in your life, then these things will often happen. You’ll question your own judgement and will consequently make poor decisions that lead to negative outcomes,” she says.

“Conversely, if you have a healthy level of self-esteem, you’ll be able to face the challenges and difficulties that life throws at you in a positive way. You’ll have more faith in your own choices and decisions. You’ll be able to assertively stand up for your rights without being aggressive and without allowing yourself to be taken advantage of or pushed around. You’ll feel comfortable with who you are and like yourself, so you’ll be less susceptible to depression and anxiety.”

self-love, self-esteem, self-acceptance

But how do we foster such self-love and inner confidence if it’s lacking? Here are some handy expert pointers:

  • Be kind to yourself. If something goes wrong, don’t beat yourself up. Ask yourself what you could have done differently and determine to do better next time.
  • Avoid people who pull you down – those who are critical and negative towards you. Seek out people whose company you enjoy and in whose presence you feel good about yourself.
  • Give yourself positive messages, don’t self-criticise. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, such as: “I’m always messing up, I’ve failed again”, challenge this and change your thinking to something more positive like: “I’ve made a mistake, but what can I learn from this? How can I do better in this situation next time?”
  • Learn to see difficulties as problems to be solved rather than catastrophes. Develop your problem-solving skills and you’ll have more confidence in yourself and your ability to cope with difficult situations, thereby developing your self-esteem as a result.

Of course, if this all seems too difficult to achieve on your own, seek help from a professional relationship counsellor or psychologist.
Images, in order, via www.thetruthaboutbeauty.co.uk; www.freespiritgirl.com and pixabay.com.

September 20, 2015

5 Steps To Living Life Like A Celebrity

Celebrities live an envious lifestyle that makes us all feel just a little bit bitter when we have to stand under a shady looking shelter waiting for a bus that may never show whilst the likes of Katy Perry and One Direction are being escorted to their destinations in private planes, helicopters and glamourous limousines. Wouldn’t life be easier if we were all rich and famous? Here are five simple steps that will have you feeling like a true celebrity in no time.

1. Get the look

Celebs always look flawless. They may have a team of beauty professionals on stand by but you can easily achieve the same look without all the extra fuss. Take a picture of your favourite hairstyle to the salon and don’t be afraid to ask the hairdresser for their opinion as they are likely to know what will suit you best. For the ladies, makeup can be a real life saver, especially on those bad skin days. You don’t have to wear thick layers of it to look like a celebrity, just a small amount is enough. Choose a shade of foundation that matches your natural skin tone and a subtle ‘smoky eye’ look is ideal and often sported by celebrities such as Cheryl Cole.

2. Shop till you drop

Fashion idols such as Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian all have one thing in common – they know how to shop. You don’t need to spend a fortune and you can even find some great bargains online or on the high-street. For the latest designer trends though, you may need to take out a quick loan from Car Cash Point but hey, it will all be worth it when you get a call from Vogue and they want you to feature on their next cover (that might be a slight exaggeration but there’s no reason why you can’t dress like a model in a glossy fashion magazine)!

3. Be confident

Confidence can make a huge difference to someone’s persona. Cosmopolitan says that ‘a smile conveys confidence’, which means that the more you smile, the more confidence you will radiate to others. By smiling a lot, you can even trick your brain into thinking that you’re happy so why not give it a shot?

4. Showcase your talent

Celebs are all famous for one reason or another and usually this is down to a particular talent or skill. Dolly Parton is famous for her country singing, David Beckham for his talent on the football field and Kim Kardashian is famous for her… um, well, you know. The point is, find your talent and showcase it. Enter competitions, get your name out there and you could be gracing the O2 Arena and signing autographs by next month.

5. Live it up

Celebs are always living it up at expensive restaurants, extravagant hotels and on exotic islands. According to Huffington Post, John Waters (the filmmaker) insisted that ‘wanting to be famous is everyone’s unspoken desire’. This gives the impression that whether you want to admit it or not, life would be far more tolerable if you were famous. Follow suit and take a break somewhere beautiful where you can walk about in sunglasses, sip champagne and carry your tiny little dog in a massive pink handbag. Why not?

September 8, 2015

5 Self-Help Books Every Woman Needs

In need of a some new books to help change your perception on life? Who doesn’t! Sometimes we all require a little extra guidance, and the best way to get some is to sit back and relax with a self-help book.

RELATED: Why Power Naps Are Clinically Proven Health-Boosters

Choosing just one book to start can feel a little daunting at first, but we have hand-picked some of our favourites for you below.

Choosing just one book to start can feel a little daunting at first, but we have hand-picked some of our favourites for you below.

The Kindness Pact, Domonique Bertolucci

8 promises to make you feel good about who you are and the life you live. A great book if you’re unsure of where to start and need to reflect on your own actions.

In need of a some new books to help change your perception of life? Who doesn't! Sometimes we all require a little extra guidance, and the best way to get some is to sit back

Six Pillars of Self Esteem, Nathaniel Branden

If your self esteem needs a reality check, then this straightforward book is the best one for you. It clearly explains how anyone can master great self confidence at any age.

5 Self-Help Books Every Woman Needs

10% Happier, Dan Harris

Who else is a victim of their thoughts, even at the best of times? Take control of your life and make your thoughts work with you, rather than against you. A delightful little read on how to make the most of your life.

5 Self-Help Books Every Woman Needs

Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done, Adrian Tannock

As women, we often have more than we bargained for on our daily schedule. If you’re always leaving everything to the eleventh hour, this will will change your views on almost everything.

5 Self-Help Books Every Woman Needs

The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook, Martha Davis

Finding it hard to practice what you preach? This interactive workbook will help to realise your goals and make the most of what you read, without making it feel like a waste of time.

5 Self-Help Books Every Woman Needs

What are some of your best self-help books?

Image via Womens Health Mag, Buzzfeed

July 23, 2015

How To Boost Your Self Confidence

Let’s face it… there’s no quick fix which will automatically give you good confidence overnight. There are a few different factors which contribute to having a great self-esteem and even better confidence, one of which is age. If you’re looking to boost your confidence in the long-term, then the following tips might be of good use to you and your friends!

RELATED: The Greatest Love of All – How To Foster Self Love

Get healthy

How many men and women are actually happy about their body? It’s probably hard to find someone who likes everything about themselves… and if you do, that’s great! Keep fit and healthy by nourishing your body from the inside out – we’re not suggesting you #cleaneat and exercise every single day. Try and incorporate a few different super-foods into your diet, and see what works.

Fake it

For many of us, good confidence comes from sucking it up and pretending that we already have it. This is just a fact of life! Make more eye contact, contribute to a conversation and let your voice be heard.

Take up a hobby

Hobbies are a great way to meet new friends, stay healthy, and interact on a weekly basis. This might be a little tough if you’re a new mum, but search for activities which will work around you and your newborn. Then you will have something consistent to look forward to, and build a new network of friends along the way!

Positive thoughts

This might be a little difficult for all the pessimists out there (don’t hate, I’m also one!), but positive thoughts go a long way. Rather than dwelling on all the negative, think and partake in activities which will actually make the most of your time. Sitting around on Facebook complaining about others isn’t exactly an attractive trait… right?

Learn more

Education is always important, long-after you’ve finished university, Tafe or even a vocational course. I certainly didn’t enjoy university (the first, or second time), but maybe a short course is exactly what you need. If you’re scared to go it alone – bring a friend! You will learn so much more about yourself, and have some fun doing it.

Look the part

Sometimes a big part of feeling good on the inside, is looking good on the outside. Re-vamp your wardrobe, sell a few of those clothes you never wear, donate the rest, give yourself a face mask, take a bubble bath… these are all great ways to pamper yourself during a rough patch.

What are some of your tips to boost self-confidence?

Image via Softpedia

June 2, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Could You Go Makeup Free For A Day?

Do you think you could go makeup free for 24 hours?

Makeup Free Me is a charity movement that seeks to empower Aussie women to develop and nurture positive body image.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of makeup but by going makeup free for a day, Makeup Free Me hope to promote positive body image – especially as only 4% of women think of themselves as beautiful!

We chat with Makeup Free Me founder Merissa Mathew on how the idea came to her, and why she quit her job to champion this amazing campaign.

1. How did the idea of Makeup Free Me come to you?

There’s a saying ‘be careful what you wish for’. In my case it was ‘be careful what you pray for’ because I said a prayer and it was at that moment that this idea came about. The funny thing is that prior to starting this campaign I never left the house without makeup on. In fact, when the idea came to mind I started laughing out loud but I released later that my own insecurities was what made me perfect for this venture. Since then I have gone out a few times without makeup on and its refreshing, freeing and scary all at the same time. I’m only now learning how to love me, the natural me.

2. What was the process of quitting your job to focus on this full time like?

Two weeks after my ‘aha’ moment I resigned from my job and I left the next day. It was the most surreal feeling as I’ve never done anything like this before. Whilst there has indeed been sacrifices (like not having any income as yet) I’ve never looked back and I know that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing in life.

3. Do you think most women use makeup to enhance their features or to hide behind it?

We undertook a brief survey last year and the results showed that more women wear makeup to cover up their blemishes than to enhance their features. Two other key findings were that many women feel more confident when they are wearing makeup and that being beautiful is about being confident. If we link these two findings, could this mean that many of us women feel that being beautiful is about being confident and to help us achieve that confidence we need makeup? Interesting!

4. Most of us wouldn’t leave home without makeup – how do you encourage women to just try doing it for a day (or longer)?

I am in the category of ‘most’ as I struggle to leave the house without makeup on. I trialled a makeup free venture to the shops the other day and guess what? No one looked at me different, no one treated me different and I can’t explain the freedom I felt. I would encourage women (like me) who would struggle to leave the house without makeup on, to try going makeup free for a short period. Maybe a trip to the shops or a drive to get petrol. I’d also encourage women to take on this challenge with their girlfriends. It’s more fun and of course you feel much more supported when you do it with your girls.

5. What are the best ways to encourage positive body image in our daughters?

I think it is important to teach our girls that it’s not about comparing weight, shape or size as one particular body can’t be compared to another. Rather it’s about enabling our bodies to be in the best possible condition that it can be in for our age and stage of life. We also need to teach our girls about what is real because like us, they are exposed to so many advertising images that distort what they think is the ideal body to strive for.

May 21, 2015

5 Lessons We Can All Learn From Designers

We engage with the work of designers in almost everything we do. I’m writing this from my desk with a coffee cup to my right, my favourite hand bag to my left, and my computer screen in front of me – all branded and designed for the user. As you read this there will be design all around you too – an ad on the screen, the texture of the seat you’re sitting on, the look and feel of the shoes you’re wearing.

RELATED: Finding Inspiration for Innovative Business Ideas

Our engagement with the work of designers is often unconscious, but if done well the message gets through. So if design is fundamentally about creativity and communication, there are lessons to be learnt for all of us. Here’s five to get you started:

Be curious and engaged

To communicate effectively requires understanding. Become a keen observer of current events and trends – be curious and dive deeper into the issues so you can provide your own unique perspective.

Understand your creative process

While it’s nice to think that a “big idea” will just come to you one day, the reality is that behind every “eureka” moment is a lot of hard work. Discover how you learn and create best – maybe you need to mull over an idea for a few days until it’s sharpened, or you might draw out ideas through brainstorming with others. Whatever your creative process is; understand it, own it, and don’t be afraid to take hold and run with new ideas when they come to you.

Think beyond the people you know

Talking to new people, asking questions, being interested and curious about what they have to say, are all part of the recipe for successful communication. Try starting a conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to before, they may offer you a new perspective that leads you to a new idea. Understanding the way different people tick will help you reach new and existing audiences.

Be confident and open to new ideas

Everyone has unique skills to offer, you might not be a designer but what is it that you have to offer that is different to those around you? Don’t be afraid to own the skills you have and the work that you create. However, embracing critique is important too –we are always learning.

Collaboration leads to innovation

The flip side of having unique skills to offer are the things you can’t do so well. Recognise what these are and reach out to those who will compliment your skills. Collaborating with others will help push ideas further, leading to better results.

Images via http://www.rednovalabs.com/designing-for-web/

By Dr Nicki Wragg, program director of design at Swinburne Online and senior lecturer of the design honours program at Swinburne University. She graduated in 1989 and worked in the areas of brand identity and publication design. Nicki completed her doctorate in 2012.

February 12, 2015

Why Do Men Think Mature Women Are So Hot?

Hey ladies, do you want to know what men find super hot … Older women! It doesn’t matter if it’s young men or older fellas; the older, more mature woman is highly admired and lusted after in a big way. Sure, there have always been the odd Mrs Robinson or cougar dotted around, but the way men are swooning toward mature women, you don’t have to degrade yourself or dress like a teenager to hook up. In fact, men would rather women dressed their age, add a little sophistication mixed with sexy and they turn to putty.

It’s interesting that 40+ year-old women are now considered in their prime, whereas years ago the same women would have been put out to pasture. If she was single, she wouldn’t have been going out to places where single men were and she certainly wouldn’t have been encouraged to be sexy. That was reserved for younger women.

Feminism has certainly had a lot to do with the shift and men have been discovering just how much mature women have to offer. Instead of only having younger women to choose from they can now venture into uncharted territory and it seems they are delighted with society’s progress.

So what is it about the older women that men are finding irresistible? Well, it’s a combination of factors and it seems experience is pretty high up on the list. Rather than hunting down the vestal virgin, men actually seem to prefer a woman who knows her way around the house, garden, kids, life and – of course – the bedroom. They aren’t looking for the mummy thing either. Mature women seem to be more experienced in all aspects of living and for lots of men, that’s a big turn-on.

Another thing is, the older women generally doesn’t have time to stalk men either. They have a life filled with responsibilities and the last thing on their mind would be to hunt down Mr. X from Saturday night, text or call continuously and basically turns a one-night stand into a 3-month stalk! Of course not all younger women do this, but they generally have more time on their hands and for some players out there, that’s a scary thought.

Now the older women I’m talking about aren’t the ones you’re likely to see on Bogan Hunter either. Sorry ladies. Men like older women who are self-sufficient, self-reliant and who respect themselves. By that I mean the ones who won’t drink the bar dry, dress to impress rather than look like they are ready to perform at a strip club or get paid at the end of the evening, know how to hold a conversation, are comfortable with who they are, generally don’t have body image issues, have read a few books rather than the latest copy of Dolly and especially the ones who ooze confidence. The number one tip for all the ladies out there; a confident woman is a sexy one!

Don’t mistake confidence with sleaze or desperation though. Men still like to be men, regardless of their age and go on the hunt. If you throw yourself at them, there’s no thrill of the chase. Most men would figure that if you are throwing it out there for them, you have probably thrown it out there for everyone. Feminism might have made some mighty shifts, but the psyche of men in their quest for a mate, certainly isn’t one of them! You might be hot, but you will still need to play the game.

All that being said, if you are single and have the qualities discussed above, plus have a little mileage on the old clock, you my dear are a hot commodity. Don’t think for a second you aren’t as sexy as you were 20 years ago. In the eyes of many men you are like a fine wine and have gotten better with age. Next time you head out for a night out, slip on a mix of sophistication and sexy and violâ, you’ll be beating men of all ages off with a stick and remember you can afford to be fussy.

Image via i2.wp.com/www.verysorry.gr

November 27, 2014

The Science Of Self-Esteem

Nicole Kidman announced in an interview she has finally embraced her curls. Frankly, Nicole didn’t need to tell us she didn’t like her natural hair – we can see the way she flat irons it so much, her hairline is receding. She has cosmetically altered her lips, her cheeks and her breasts. It is alarming to us when women, who have made millions of dollars out of their beauty, hope to look more beautiful. We assume they have infinite confidence. Self-esteem starts to look like the Yowie – everybody knows it exists but nobody has ever seen it. So how do we get self-esteem? And, more importantly, how do we lose it?

In times of doubt, people often reach for self-help books in search of encouragement and the use of self-affirmations. These books sell the idea you can raise your self-esteem by repeating a certain phrase, like a mantra. “I am loveable. I am attractive. I am healthy.” According to a recent study in Psychological Science, these statements actually have the opposite effect. People with low self-esteem feel worse after repeating them.

The problem is, if we don’t believe it, our brains work twice as hard rejecting the statement. You may say, “I am loveable” but if you don’t believe you are, the brain replies, “No, you’re not. If you’re so loveable, why are you lying in bed repeating this lame mantra. If you were loveable, you wouldn’t be alone in bed!” For every positive statement we don’t believe, the brain launches a counter-attack.

You can’t trick the brain into believing the opposite, but you can reason with it and come to a happy compromise. When these statements of positivity are tailored to the individual and the quality is something the individual values, the phrases can be repeated to good effect. For example, if I were to compliment myself on my wonderful driving, I wouldn’t feel any better about myself, because I don’t care about driving well. I just want to arrive somewhere uninjured. If I compliment myself on how wonderful I am at writing, I will feel the warm fuzz of an ego boost because I care about writing well and my mind will entertain the possibility that it is true.

Another important discovery about self-esteem is that most of it is based on what the culture values. We see fluctuations in young women’s self-esteem when they look at women in magazines. Overweight women’s self-esteem plummets when they view photographic models of any size and underweight women’s esteem increases, regardless of the models’ size.  A slender body type is what the culture values at the moment and so overweight women will never feel good about themselves no matter what size the woman. Thin women just walk around feeling smug, regardless of the magazines. Researchers discovered that what is culturally valued overrides our own personal values.

So the brain is judging those qualities we are actually good at and if that quality is actually valued in society, you find the sweet spot of an affirmation that will actually work. “I am loveable” just isn’t going to cut it. “I am really kind to my family.” “I am a great communicator.” “I have a great sense of style.” Find something you do well and pay attention to it. Appreciate that it is both true for you and objectively true. Then put that phrase on high-rotation but try to keep it on the inside.

Try it, it’s science.

By Vivienne Walshe

May 12, 2014

Shy? 4 Easy Ways to Be More Confident

Shy? You’re not alone! Most people admit to being introverts than extroverts, but there are ways you can improve your confidence whether you’re going to a job interview or want to speak up more in your relationship. Here are some easy techniques to help overcome shyness.

Posture

We always think new clothes or makeup can make you feel better about yourself. Yet, we tend to overlook the one thing that can make a difference in how confident you feel no matter what you wear. That is your posture. People who stand and sit up straight are seen by others as being more confident and in control. Start by consciously sitting and standing with better posture, lifting your shoulders down and back, keeping your eyes focused on the horizon ahead of you, and soon good posture will become second nature.

Breathe

Learn how to calm yourself down by focusing on your breath. Slow down the rate of your breathing, becoming conscious of each in breath and out breath, and you will feel your overall mood calm down. That’s because by slowing your rate of breathing you are also giving yourself some time and space to absorb your surroundings in a non-threatening way. It’s a means of forcing you to relax. Before you walk into a job interview, take several slow in breaths and out breaths. Confidence and calmness go together, so practice using your breathing.

Just smile

The best way to improve your attitude is to smile! That may seem like corny advice, but it’s a tried-and-true meditation technique that works. No matter what you’re doing right now, smile softly, and it will instantly lift your mood and make the people around you happier. People who have blank expressions on their face, or worse, look angry, will keep people away from you, while confident people are quick to smile, and makes you look more approachable.

Be complementary

Try this easy technique: say something nice to the next person you talk to. It might be complimenting their shoes, their haircut, or the dinner they just cooked for you. Many shy people complain that they just don’t know what to say in social situations. When in doubt of what to say, find something to praise. You’ll usually hear something nice in return, which is a great confidence booster.

The key to overcoming shyness is practice. By practicing good posture, smiling, calm breathing exercises and complementing others, you will find your shyness stops defining you, and you’ll feel more confident in your day-to-day situations.

What techniques have helped you overcome your shyness?

March 13, 2014

Sex and Confidence

How much time do you spend thinking about yourself during sex? And I don’t mean in the positive way. Do you have sex in certain positions because it’s more flattering, or sometimes find yourself seeing how your body looks through the eyes of your partner? Ever worried about how your belly looks while you’re getting busy? You might be engaging in habitual body monitoring.

Confidence is like oxygen, it affects us without us even knowing, and when we’re running low on it, our brains don’t work too well. Frankly, it’s a fact of life that we will be judged upon our appearance, but when we start judging ourselves about how we look it can have dire consequences. Excessive self-monitoring not only attacks your confidence, but affects your ability to think critically and can devastate your sex drive.

A way you can tell if you’re body monitoring, is to be aware of your thoughts: do you often see yourself through the eyes of someone else, or change your posture/clothes etc. in case you’re being looked at? Do you spend a lot of time concerned about a specific area of your body such as your thighs, belly or breasts – thinking how they could be better and ways to improve them?

These thoughts can significantly inhibit your ability to become sexually aroused and enjoy physical pleasure; after all, confidence and good sex are inextricably linked, so if you want to have better sex, you need to work on your state of mind first.

Body monitoring has serious consequences beyond the bedroom, with links to depression, anxiety and eating disorders. If you feel it’s affecting your life, look into it and talk to someone. There are some habits you can develop to help you ditch the criticism:

  • Recognise when you’re seeing yourself as someone else would see you or focusing on your body in parts to be critiqued
  • Re-evaluate your perception, consider your positive attributes and achievements rather than your appearance
  • Resist the urge to critically evaluate others from their appearance (this reinforces self-monitoring)

Studies have shown anxiety about your physical appearance influences your ability to become aroused both physically and mentally. Which is understandable: it’s hard to have fun doing the horizontal hula if you’re too busy worrying about your wobbly bits. Our sexual desire is hugely impacted by our perception of ourselves and how we think others see us. So if we’re spending all our time worrying about how we look, we’re never going to get the perks of satisfying hanky-panky.

Sex reduces stress, it builds intimacy, bombards you with feel-good chemicals and it’s meant to be fun! It can cure headaches, reduce depression, lower blood pressure and improve sleep. It’s a good thing, and it’s made to be enjoyed, and you deserve to enjoy it. Not because you spent a fortune on lacy lingerie that pushes you up and holds you in at right places, but because it’s a lovely thing and you’re a physical being and you deserve to feel awesome. So if you want better sex, it’s starts with your brain.

Kate Jones blogs about writing and pop culture at Calvicle Capitalism.

January 17, 2014

The Problem with Spanx

Women pay 200 dollars to wear a beige body suit under their clothing. Basically it sucks the fat in or as women tell themselves, ‘smoothes out the skin’. If you put your arm around a woman wearing one, it feels like there is a thick bandage under her dress. That’s when her head spins round, because she knows the jig is up and she blurts out, “I’m wearing Spanx!”

I don’t care what women do to their bodies if it makes them happy. But Spanx denies us the pleasure of seeing what real bodies look like and that is too bad. Have you ever had a man tell you he thinks the fat around your belly is delicious? He wasn’t lying to you. I remember the first time I saw a woman with a little pot belly on screen was in the French film, Betty Blue. I was a teenager who thought only perfect beauty makes sex ‘sex’. A man had his head between her knees and as she gripped his hair, I thought ‘she’s got fat on her stomach and he hasn’t thrown her off the bed in disgust and walked out. How can that be…?’

I once had a boyfriend suggest I do something about the little mound of wobbly flesh on my stomach. He wasn’t lying, either. That’s the thing I’ve noticed about men, if you asked ten of them if your bum looks big in those jeans, you’ll get the same response, ‘of course not’, but they are having ten private thoughts. Based on the various things I have heard men and lesbians say over the years, I can only conclude people’s preferences are based on a kaleidoscope of memory/mummy/media-images…and how they feel about the words coming out of your mouth.

‘I like a woman with fat on her arms…I am not a boob man…I like it when they are so ripe, they’re bursting out of their clothes…Large breasts intimidate me…She has to be skinny, because I’m fat…She has the most beautiful breasts I’ve ever seen and I’m not a boob man…She has great glutes and over-developed trapezium…’ Okay, this last comment was said to me as I walked in front of a perfect stranger. I said thank-you, because the attention to detail seemed flattering. Then I went home and looked up ‘over-developed trapezium’. Not really a compliment.

If you’ve ever been to a Korean baths, then you have seen the moving tableaux of what women really look like. Hips and breasts and cellulite and flesh everywhere, dipping in and out of the pool. I remember seeing a woman with so much hair – it looked like a black Pomeranian had bitten her pubic bone and stayed there. We don’t get to see these shapes in magazines or on television because actresses wear Spanx. Every single one of them. Yes, even her. And her. They are moving product and they understand the job description. They can also be found at charity events liberating women from the oppressive Hijab, whilst shallow breathing in their Spanx.

My concern is – could Spanx bring the animal kingdom to its knees as people take home a skinny and find out she’s a boom-boom? The banging and wrestling sounds from the bathroom, as she tugs the body suit off and stuffs it into her purse might be the give-away. The problem here is the guy who went out looking for a big-bottomed beauty walked home empty-handed and now boom-boom is in the double-bind of having to pretend she’s a skinny, without any clothing on. I believe you can ‘think yourself thin’ but not five self-hating minutes in a dude’s bathroom. She fudged the details a little and hoped he wouldn’t mind. But in that fudge, denied herself the chance to find someone who loves her body as it is.

Instead of thinking the entire sexual mating game is getting played out on your torso – I hope women realize the pre-occupation with perfection is a much bigger turn off. It might be the moment he put his hands on your hips and discovers the surgical bandage. What we really respond to in other people is their self-esteem. We see them as they see themselves, for the most part. And self-esteem is one of those things that is hard to get and easy to lose. Personally, I have found the very best way to develop self-esteem is to reduce those moments in the day where you hate yourself. I’m going to go ahead and suggest flailing around on a bed, squeezing loose flesh into a body-length corset, isn’t a self-loving moment.

When I look at a woman’s body, I look at how she gets in and out of a chair; her core strength. You’re noticing it, too. If a person heaves forward and grasps the table to get up, either they are nursing a back injury or have zero core-strength. Unconsciously, I think I’ll have to let this one die by the side of the road, she won’t make it.

I don’t really think that, but my issue with Spanx is it does nothing for muscle tone and injury prevention. It’s like the guys at a gym wearing weight-lifting belts. These belts reduce their intra-abdominal muscles and unless they are representing their country in the Olympics, make them look like a numbnut. I guess they look in the mirror and see Mike Tyson winning the heavy-weight division but if you need a belt to squat the weight – it’s too heavy for you. It’s also impossible to flirt with a man wearing one and I have tried.

I heard a story about a woman at a wedding who drank too much, went to the bathroom and as she wrestled out of her Spanx, fell over and knocked herself out. Her sister had to escort her through the wedding reception, blood pouring down her face. That kind of walk of shame can echo through the next decade. The other problem I have with Spanx is they now come with a pee-hole, which seems worse.

Vivienne Walshe is an Australian playwright and screenwriter. Her plays have been highly awarded and published by Currency Press. As an actress she appeared on The Secret Life of Us and many other television shows and performed in plays at the Melbourne Theatre company, Sydney Theatre company and Queensland Theatre company.

What do you think about Spanx – friend or foe?

December 31, 2013

Confidence vs Arrogance: Is he arrogant or just confident

Arrogant or just confident. Which one is the object of your desire?Have you heard any of these before?

Confident

“Do you like my new Giorgio Armani pants?’ They were a pretty expensive but it’s worth it for the quality. And I get so much more wear out of them.”

Arrogant

“I can’t believe that the new spring/summer Giorgio Armani collection hasn’t arrived in Australia yet. What the hell am I expected to wear? I’ll have to fly to Milan to get my hands on the new season myself.”

Confident

“We’ve just nabbed the Jones account at work. We’ve worked so hard on it, including more than a few all nighters. I’m stoked. ”

Arrogant

“The Jones account finally came through but I knew it would. I mean, I’ve worked like a dog on this. If it wasn’t for me they wouldn’t have had chance. I better get a serious bonus for this.”

Confident

“I’ve just started back at the gym. I’m really starting to see results now.”

Arrogant

“The guy who runs the gym keeps asking me to enter the body building competition he’s running. I mean, as if I would. I don’t need to get up on a stage to prove myself. It’s obvious that I’m in good shape, you can tell just by looking at me.”

“I’m thinking of buying a house. I’ve got a nice little deposit and with last month’s pay rise, paying off the mortgage will be a breeze. It’ll be good investment property.”

Arrogant

“I should probably buy another house. I’ve got enough money tied up in shares already so I may as well add another property to my investment portfolio. Of course I’ll be buying it out right, so I’ll be making money on it straight away. I’ll probably keep it for five years then sell it. I don’t really need the money. I just like the sport of it.”

Confident

“My ex-girlfriend was a really good looking, but it was her personality that attracted me. It’s a pity it didn’t work out in the end, it wasn’t meant to be, but hey, the good thing is that I’m here talking to you now.”

Arrogant

“My last girlfriend was a model. Actually so was the one before that, and the one before that. I guess I have this thing with models, they’re just really attracted to me. So I hear your best friend is a model? Why don’t you ask her to join us for dinner?”

 

January 4, 2000