I've been seeing lots of diet plan and thinspiration posts lately on Pinterest and it makes me really sad. Something like 90% of the users are female and it seems like a large majority of them are pinning quotes, diets, workout regimes, and 'look at how skinny I am now' stories. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get healthy but we as women need to stop being our own worst enemies. In answer to all of these posts I thought I would show you some women and articles that have inspired me, and made made me feel more beautiful and accepting of myself.
I love the fashion blog Advanced Style, it's a real inspiration to women who are older celebrating their age and their beauty in a really expressive way. You can see that they've spent a lifetime developing their own independent taste and don't feel under any pressure to conform to fashion norms(whatever they are anyhow??)
Speaking of having confidence, this is Rachele, a style blogger who is leading a movement online to change peoples attitude towards weight. She is a size US 26 and talks about being proud of her size, and celebrating herself, she runs a campaign called 'Proud of my size' that invites people to post outfits on their blogs declaring their size whether it be 0 or 30. I love what she is doing, there is no much negativity online it's great to see someone championing women.
Women drinking pints of Guinness/Beamish seems pretty normal to me as I worked in an old man bar for years. But it occurred to me the other night when I went for a drink by myself and sat at the bar to read a newspaper that this might have come across as very strange to some people. The image of a young woman in a dress,with a broadsheet newspaper plus a pint of Beamish at 10pm on a weekday drew quite a few wry looks from the locals. Why is it perfectly acceptable for a man to go for a drink by himself and not a woman? My sisters for years ordered glasses of beer instead of pints because they weren't 'ladylike',I know I'm not the only one who thinks that's crazy, but I thought that kind of attitude went out with Jack Lynch.
When I went Googling for an image of a woman drinking a pint of Guinness I got loads of warnings for alcohol abuse, drinking while pregnant, muffin tops with measuring tapes. When I Googled the same thing for a man I got picturesque tourist photos! The pickings were fairly slim, but thankfully I found the above picture on this blog talking about the same divide between the thirsty sexes.
(funnily enough I actually came across this image of myself in my Google search!!)
This is a brilliant article on The Vagenda(if you don't subscribe to them do so now, it's a fantastic feminist blog) about underarm, leg and pubic hair and the social pressure to be as hairless as a baby's bum. I have total respect for women who don't shave and wish I was brave enough. I'm not so strict about underarm hair as I am about legs. If I find myself out and a bit furry with a vest on I'm not going to walk around with my elbows pinned down for the day.
What I do find a bit disturbing is the pressure to have a constantly trimmed bikini line, I heard of friends being asked by a guy in an amorous moment why they aren't waxed, seriously?? Personally I think it looks a little weird and it freaks me out a bit. Ch4 did a good documentary on the proliferation of porn and what it has done to peoples expectations, they linked the rise in the demand for Bazilians to our consumption of porn, following the hairless aesthetic.
There is about 1000 things in the Sex and the City films that really pissed me off, but the scene where Miranda gets stick from Samantha about not being waxed really annoyed me, I know it was meant to be funny but it rankled me that we should all conform to this one type( a sentiment that seems far more to do with pleasing others than that of self confidence).
I mentioned this article 'you don't have to be pretty' already earlier in the week but I thought it fit very well here too. It's about feeling beautiful and stylish in your own way no matter what you choose to wear, and not always having to put the best foot forward. I used to watch 'How to look good naked' and thought it was great for helping women feel good about themselves no matter what shape. As far as tv makeover shows go it was really great, but I always thought there was too much pressure on cinching waists, propping boobs, and teetering heels. All that can but fun to do sometimes and it can look great, but I felt that a little bit more self acceptance would have been more constructive. It was only ever a niggling feeling in the back of my head, but when I read this article it cemented those thoughts.
I saw this stunning Celtic bust tattoo done on a woman that had a double mastectomy, what an inspiring way to reclaim your sense of beauty and womanhood!She looks like a warrior queen who has come out the other side of a battle and won.