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....
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Use Your “Outside” Voice — Question Everything! #aclu #allpersonsarecreatedequal #antihate #charlottesville #hatecrimes #humandecency #mygirlfriendvoice #nonviolentcommunication #questioneverything #riseup #splc #unity #whiteprivilege advice & strategies compassion emotions & emotional inventory empowerment endhate racism triggers & the inner critic use your voice

While my posts focus on the “inner voice” and managing our critical chatter, today I want to focus on our “outside” voice or how we speak to the world.

In light of the events in Charlottesville, it is critically important to state that I do not support white supremacy or any of their beliefs. It sickens me that there are 917 identified and active hate groups in this country (Southern Poverty Law Center 2017). How is hate a driving force with thousands, actually millions of Americans?

I spent last week observing more than acting. Don’t get me wrong, I am livid. I am sickened, saddened, enraged, threatened and shocked. I felt a shift too.  I came to the conclusion that my angry vile words are not going to do anything but contribute to the problem. Let me explain…….

You lose your power and credibility when you spew hate.

Self-righteousness, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, racist language is HATE TALK.  Who has the right to diminish the worth of another individual!!  I am ashamed that so many Americans feel they are more worthy than another based on the color of their skin, sexual orientation or their religious affiliation.

It’s emotional pollution.  Hate comes out of their mouths like smoke from a factory chimney — acrid and heavy.

No one has the right to inflict harm on another. This includes financial, physical and emotional harm.

Arm-chair activists may not realize that posting another article on social media is not enough.  We have to do more without entertaining those looking for a fight – confrontation — violence.

Vote with your presence.

Vote with your support.

Vote with your dollars.

Instead of silence, question mistreatment when you see it take place. Instead of walking away, question the water cooler talk that sounds racist. Question everything in an intelligent, determined, curious voice.  I want you to ask,  “WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?”

As angry as I am, I can’t give in to name calling, shaming and hatred. This is how we will impact the world. Our collective voices WILL make a difference.

Use your voice. Use your words whether written or spoken. Contact your representatives. Participate in your community. Support organizations dedicated to this cause. Act now from a place of compassion, not hate.

Shaming is a catalyst for divisiveness.  Let’s inhibit this reaction with peaceful conduct.

Stop the hate. Question everything.

This is not a fight between political parties- it’s a fight for human decency!

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” Heather Heyer, 32, posted on Facebook before she was killed by an alleged Nazi sympathizer in Charlottesville.

I feel insulated because I live in a very diverse and liberal part of the world. I hadn’t even heard the term “white privilege” until two years ago. I don’t like it one bit yet I...

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