What real women look like

 

By Nancy Wylde

The ongoing debate continues over body image – especially women’s body image and what real women look like.

In February’s issue of Marie Claire magazine, Australian  Jennifer Hawkins ( Miss Universe 2004) posed naked to ‘bare all her flaws’  – (meaning no air brushing or retouching)  in the hope to show women as they really are.

Jennifer mentioned that posing naked for the cameras without any retouching or airbrushing gave her a sense of empowerment.  Courageous and bold as Miss Hawkins was, her body image still sent waves of controversy about what ‘real’ women look like.  In fact it was received as a statement of what ‘real supermodels’ look like.

In fact breakfast radio host and TV presenter Bianca Dye who had posed naked for Madison magazine in their November edition in 2009 ( curves and all) slammed the glossy fashion magazine Marie Claire for hailing Jennifer Hawkins as a ‘positive role model for body image’.

In another attack on Jennifer’s photos, former Australian Idol finalist and Young Diva Ricky Lee Coulter who is famous for being confident with her body posed for Woman’s Day to show  us  ‘how a real woman looks’.

Fact is that the average woman, the ‘real’ woman is anywhere between a 12-16.  Yet most of us ( women) who fit into this category are made to feel as if we are ‘overweight’.

So entrenched through television and magazines as well as conditioning since we were little girls that a size 10 is the ‘acceptable’ image for women that anything above a size 10 and we begin to look for fad diets to quickly lose the extra few kilos.

Such was the pressure of  ‘body image’  that a ten year old little girl whom I knew well from my teaching days began hiding her food under her bed and throwing away her school lunches as a result of her swimming coach suggesting she  losing weight to gain an extra few seconds on her time to maintain her title of champion.

Beauty pageants all over the world not only continue to seek out some of the world’s most beautiful women, but specifically women whose  ‘body image’  is  in keeping with that of a supermodel.

I for one would love to wake up in a world where a 40 year old woman, who has had 3 or 4 children, was eligible to enter such a contest, regardless of her shape or size and that the only criteria for entering the competition was that she was a woman.

If we are to have women represent ‘what real women look like’ we need to re-evaluate what the term ‘real woman’ means.

The average ‘real woman’ does not look like a supermodel.  Unless she has had cosmetic surgery she will no doubt have a little belly bulge, sagging breasts and lots of curves!

This does not make you ugly.  Glossy magazines and the media  make you feel ugly. 

How do we change this?

Support organisations and magazines that are attempting to change the ‘image of women’ and offer us a view of what ‘real women’ really do look like.

Nothing is more empowering for women than to begin to become pro-active in changing the way we are viewed.  There is no ‘perfect body image’.  That is a fact!

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Empower Yourself – through smarter shopping

You can’t imagine how you can empower yourself through smarter shopping?  Easy! 

It seems that every time you turn the television on to watch the news or whenever you pick up a newspaper or magazine there is a message that gets thrown in our faces about the ever-increasing prices of food.

And the way the media delivers this information to us is in such a way as to make us feel as if we are not empowered to do anything about it. 

I hardly watch the news as a rule, however this evening I was visiting with a relative who was watching the evening news and it seems that the supermarket giants ( namely Woolworths and Coles here in Australia) have the consumers right where they want them – or so it seems.

Consumers are paying ‘through the nose’ prices and as the media conveys this message is do so as to make consumers feel they have absolutely no control over this situation and are not empowered to do anything about it.

Fact is as consumers we have an opportunity here to take back our power from these giants who seemingly have us where they want us – in their supermarkets paying more for less.

I grew up in the sixties where it was quite common to go to the local grower for our produce, get the milk delivered from the milkman and the bread delivered daily to your doorstep.  We would go to the butcher for meat and the fish market for fish and in the late 70’s I used to go fishing down to the George’s River which wasn’t far from my home.

The consumer today still has many choices available to them to save money on the average grocery bills and all it takes is a little time and a little effort.

Here are some ideas that you may want to consider which will both save you money on your family grocery bills and make you feel as if it is YOU who is in charge and not a victim of the supermarket giants.

  • There are many local growers of fresh produce that take their products to the local markets.  All you need to do is find out where and when these markets are held.  Being local, their produce is remarkably fresher than the stores as it is usually picked the day before or just a couple of days prior to selling. 

These markets quite often have more than just fresh produce .  In fact you may find some that have almost everything you can get in your supermarket and most of them at bargain prices!

  • Support your local small businesses like the local butcher and bakeries. 
  • Find other clever ways to save money on food by learning to make some basic things yourself such as mayonnaise dressings, salad dressings, sauces, pickled foods and even baby foods.  These are costly items in the store and you can make them in less time than it has taken me to write this post for a fraction of the price and minus all the unnecessary sugars, salts and preservatives.
  • The latest craze at the moment in shopping without spending a cent is known as ‘swap shopping’.  People feel so empowered when they can take an item or items they no longer want or need and swap them for items they do want.  These are being conducted in all areas and is suprising successful – particularly women’s fashion.  Can you imagine how many happy husbands are out there now when their wives come home from a day of clothes swapping shopping and haven’t spent a cent?

It seems to be easier to head down to the one huge store where everything you want is under one roof  and it takes a courageous person to stand up to the supermarket giants and  decide to embark on making that extra effort to discover clever and creative ways to save money.

The money you save is yours and this gives you a sense of  empowerment and control over your money and finances.

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Why Do Women Think They Are Nothing Without A Man?

Early this morning I was taking a walk with a dear friend who is going through yet another relationship break-up. This is her third relationship in a span of 30 years and she remarked that as she was laying in bed early this morning alone crying her eyes out,she had a realization that she is single again.  In fact she said ” heck, I’m back on the meat market again!”

We have all been there – well most of us anyway – when it all comes to an end and we wake up to find that we are alone and have that void without a man feeling.  It is as if without a man we are incomplete, have no direction, no focus, no life.  I do not imply that dependance on a man, being in a relationship is negative in any way. 

In fact John Donne wrote ” No man is an island, entire of itself”.  And likewise for a woman.  Much joy and bliss comes from a man and a woman sharing their lives together- this is beautiful indeed.

However, since childhood there has been a conditioning that  says ” I am not complete until I have a man in my life”.  When I experienced marital separation and divorce after an 18 year marriage, I stumbled upon a compelling and practical book about why women feel incomplete without a man by Penelope Russianoff Ph.D titled “ Why Do I Think I Am Nothing Without A Man?”

We have come from a conditioning that Dr Russianoff describes as ‘desperately dependant’.  She writes:  ” this is where a woman for whom the major focus in her life is a man, or the lack of one, a woman who feels adrift or on the prowl, or one who feels that the world views her as abnormal without a male consort, one who feels listless and purposelesss when “her” man is out of town, at work or anyway, not right there with here. There are degress of desperate dependence, but the consequences are always the same.”

And so the desperately dependant woman revolves her life around a person outside of herself, a man- someone who is “hers”.  And when this ends it is as if her  own life has ended. 

Empowerment for women is about liberating herself from “desperately needing a man” to feel complete.

Empowerment for women is learning to love and accept yourself and finding worthiness  and purpose in your own life – whether or not you have some one in it.

Empowerment for women is realizing that you can create and draw into your life all the joy, love, fulfilment, purpose, happiness, health and direction you want – whether or not you have some one in it.

Empowerment for women is seeing your own inner beauty, the inner strength that lies deep within you that will propel you forward beyond any disappointment, any sorrow or loss.

Empowerment at 100 years young!

Never Too Late To Become Empowered!

Never Too Late To Become Empowered!

There was an article in a Sydney newspaper a couple of weeks ago about a woman who after 40 years of being widowed,  decided that she wanted to go back to work after being a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother! 

And so, she applied for a clerk’s position at one of Sydney’s major hospitals.  She applied for this job when she had just turned 100 years young.  And she got the job! 

This amazing little octogenarian is now 107 years young today and continues working part time, enjoys her Independence, lives on her own, experiences good sound health and is a testament to all women that regardless of your AGE, it is never too late to learn new things and empower yourself!

Go Granny!!!  I want to be just like you when I am 107!