Bellies are NOT a BAD Thing!beauty myths body positive body shaming fashion over 50 middleaged bodies use your voice
A few weeks back I wrote a post on my personal Facebook page and oh were there comments! Obviously I wasn't alone in my feelings so let me share what happened.....
Today I walked into a lovely dress shop. It’s the kind of place where they offer you a glass of Prosecco while you browse.
The owner, a man in his sixties, came over to ask if I had any special occasions on my calendar because he had the BEST dress ever. It was designed for “women like me”. I let that go, "women like me". What the hell did that mean?
I’m not going to anything fancy but I was curious to know why this particular dress was so fantastic. I’m always open to discovery! I love to be prepared for any occassion - especially dress up!
He proudly stated, “Look at this beautiful dress. It’s stretchy and will hide your midsection without being uncomfortable. And the pockets add to the camoflauge so don't worry about them.”
👀👀👀👀 What the hell?
Has he assumed I hate my midsection? Yes. Or does he find my midsection unsightly? Perhaps.
Has he suggested I look at the dress because it has a flattering neckline for my body type? No.
Or that it’s a beautiful color? No.
Travels well? No.
😠😠😠 Now I am pissed, strangely quiet but steam is pouring out of my ears. I quickly exit without finishing my prosecco. Normally I am quick to comment but the shock silenced by wrath.
He’s perpetuating the stereotype that a belly is a bad thing!
And…. his comment caused me to second guess my cuteness so I go take a quick look in the mirror. I love this bold patterned wrap dress but does it make me look pregnant?
🙅♀️🙅♀️🙅♀️ STOP IT. I’m not going to go down a body-shaming rabbit hole because some guy thinks he was being helpful.
🌸My body is the keeper of my magic🌸
I am soft and strong.
I am healthy and independent.
I am sexy and smart.
I am vibrant.
I am ME. My belly and I don’t want or need your damn dress with it's perfectly placed pockets. You can keep it.
I sat and thought this over a tequila cocktail. (tequila always helps!) I won't beat myself up for not speaking up in the moment but I would do something so I left a detailed message.
“While you were likely well-intentioned, you suggested that “women like me" need to hide our midsections. This is a form of body shaming. I never said my belly was an issue. In fact, I’m learning to love everything about my “over 50” body including my belly.
You have 32 years in an industry that perpetuates the ideal that you have to be young and thin to be beautiful. This has to stop.
I loved your store so I hope you’ll take my feedback into account. Please call me if you’d like to discuss further.”
It took a few days, and likely prompting from one of his loyal customers, before I received a call. While the apology was peppered with mansplaining, I was able to make my point.
1) Do Not Assume Anything and
2) Do Not Suggest I Hide Any Body Parts Unless I Bring it up First!
One conversation at a time. This is how we change the narrative. Speak up - use your voice.
Beauty is confidence.
Beauty is strength.
Beauty is timeless.
Beauty includes bellies.
From the heart,
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