As women, how often do we really see each other au naturel and actually feel comfortable? When I was a schoolgirl in the U.S., I quickly mastered the art of changing my clothes in the locker room
Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer authored a book called Dressed To Kill. They interviewed 4,000+ women in five major U.S. cities over two years. Half the women had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They found:75% of women who slept in their bras developed breast cancer1 in 7 who wore their bras 12+ hours per day developed breast cancer1 in 168 who did not wear a bra developed breast cancerWithin one month of ditching their bras, women with cysts, breast pain, or tenderness found their symptoms disappeared.
Stripping myself down challenged my negative perceptions and made me embrace my “flaws.”
The modesty doctrine isn’t about clothes, it’s about bodies. It’s a method for punishing women who do not conform to an idealized, asexual, inoffensive body type. The “offenders” are women with large breasts, wide hips, or discernible “booty.” The modesty doctrine claims that the right clothes conceal a woman’s figure, and that the wrong ones expose her curves. The problem is, some women have figures that cannot be concealed. Even denim sack jumpers will reveal a curvy woman’s hips or breasts when she moves. When I was rebuked for my clothing as a teenager, it was often identical to the clothing all the other girls were wearing. The only difference was that I had “developed” first. The modesty doctrine defines some bodies as inherently problematic.
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connecting the dots
Lacking a healthy body image, many women feel so much pressure to attain the carefully crafted, yet unrealistic image that weight has become a national obsession and weight loss a major, extremely profitable industry. According to Jonathan Dahl’s Smart Money article, 10 Things the Weight-Loss Industry Won’t Say, “Figures available from the American Dietetic Association show Americans spending $58 billion on weight loss cures and products in 2007.”
Problems are especially acute among adolescent females as they confront for the first time the unattainable goal of measuring up to the popular images of perfection while coping with the genetic realities of their changing bodies. Few women remain unaffected. Many suffer from chronic, dangerous eating disorders, desperate to become “thin enough.” For others overeating is a common coping mechanism used in an attempt to minimize painful feelings that resonate from negative self image.
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“To conclude, before we get upset and holier-than-thou about the young women who act provocatively via social media, we should look at why they are acting this way. How do we expect these girls to ever have the ‘self-respect’ that so many berate them for lacking, when we tell them to ‘be sexy’ then victimize them when they actually try to do this?”
It occurs to me that over the years I have seen few “perfect bodies,” but I have seen several who had suffered some extreme medical challenge such as a mastectomy, advanced MS, amputation, extreme burn scarring, or facial reconstruction (as a result of a car accident). Those people came to social nudity on the recommendation of their physician or therapist in order to heal themselves mentally so they could accept their torn bodies. Just quietly talking to them in the pool or Jacuzzi was always an inspiration to me. Whenever I feel self-conscious because I am a little overweight, I just think of them and their courage. – Leslie.