the fertility advocate

Talking, writing, educating, and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years

When the feature on the Today Show was all about how brave Glamour Magazine was in showing a supposedly “Plus” size model posed bare and smiling – revealing (insert shock here) a “stomach and thighs” I was stunned. But not perhaps why you might think. Frankly I am not all whoo hoo!

I am not patting Glamour Magazine on the back and cheering! Why do they deserve a feature on The Today Show simply because they showed a BEAUTIFUL woman in their magazine who is the size of the average woman in the United States showing a fold of flesh in their magazine? For me – all of this hoop la only reinforces how sick our society has become, and how damaging all of this is to women’s souls.

This gorgeous model is a size 12 to 14. That is the first size that disappears in the department store. It is the size of most of us – and this model had a body that most of us would envy. She is beautiful. It is all so very sad for the average young girl and woman in our culture. Our level of body shame is off the charts and eating disorders in the United States among middle age woman is at a record high. But we want woman to feel sexy – right?

Do you need to wonder why so many women are shut down sexually in our society? Showing a woman with flesh and daring to say that she is beautiful is NEWS. If it is news…should we believe them that the standard of beauty in our culture is shifting?

How did our culture do this to women? How did we allow this to happen? When did a woman with a soft belly become some kind of freak to the degree that we have to show the world that it is “really okay” – don’t advert your eyes in horror! This is what a normal woman look like!

We live in a time that it is news worthy that a fashion magazine would do the “unthinkable” and show a woman with a fold of flesh around her belly and thighs that look strong enough to walk up a hill! And a soap company makes all of the media outlets for daring to show all kinds of women in Campaign For Real Beauty.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I get that this current trend at self congratulations and celebration at allowing women to see images of other real women as a kind of reality check is a wonderful thing. Fine. I am clapping.

It’s just that I am so angry over all of it. I am so furious at a society that has so worked over women by creating impossible standards of beauty that few of us can achieve- and then wonders why so many women suffer from anorexia and bulimia.

I feel sick when a famous reproductive endocrinologists that practices in Los Angeles, tells me that the single best thing that some of his infertility patients could do to improve their fertility is gain ten pounds, and how his patients would rather die! Because being fat in this country is to be judged in ways that naturally thin people can only imagine.

I have been working on making peace with the woman in the mirror for a life time.

I have spent a year looking at myself naked in the mirror for ten minutes at a time telling my body loving things. I recommend this exercise to all women – fat, thin or in between. Don’t snicker at me until you try to do this! And if you dare to go there alone with yourself – every day for ten minutes for even a week- I challenge you to see how your perspective on yourself changes over time.

This simple yet daring exercise is a way for all of us to make peace with the woman in the mirror. We need to learn to love our own bodies, and tell our bodies kind and loving things.

On Facebook a friend of mine posted that she can’t keep her hands off her own ass! I loved that! I loved that she could find herself so damn sexy. Don’t you want that? And it isn’t about the perfect body – it is about how you feel about your body.

So much of what blocks people in having true happiness in their skin is internal. And it is real work to break through the messages of society and find your own sexy self that you are entitled to. The truth is – you have it right now. Go look in the mirror. And then do it again tomorrow – and the next day. It will get easier – I promise. The results in your life will be startling.

Yes…images of all kinds of beauty are important. We need to just start incorporating all images of women into mass media – and stop congratulating ourselves for allowing women who have a soft belly to be seen as beautiful as they are. It is the attention and congratulations that some how takes away from the message – and in some weird backwards kind of way simply reinforces the notion that there is something inherently wrong with the size 12-14 body – and we all should just get used to seeing it.

About Pam Madsen
Talking, writing, educating and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years
2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. I would love to be able to look at myself without clothes on but I can’t, I have tried but I end up either crying or getting so angry with myself I cry anyway, I’d love to be able to do it and I hope when I eventually lose the weight I need to, ill be able to look at myself and even let a man look at me, until then for me it’s a no go zone.

    Great post by the way :)

    I really do appreciate the support you’ve been giving me !

  2. Dear Cara:
    It’s okay to cry. Let yourself feel your feelings. Start slow. How about start by looking at yourself in the mirror with your clothes on? Find something that you like – and say it out loud. Take it slow. And it is really good to feel exactly what you are feeling. Don’t push the feelings away. Those pushed away feelings will simply turn into a bag of chips.

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