Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Female Form

As a female, I cannot remember a day in my life that I didn't have a thought about my body.  "I'm too skinny", ( think that one again!) "I'm too fat", "I wish my boobs were bigger", "I wish I had more booty", the rare "I look good today". We are told by our friends and family that we are beautiful the way we are and to love ourselves as we are; yet, we are told by society that we need to be every magazine, every movie, even commercials (Carl's Jr...puh-lease!).  So we often push ourselves to achieve an "ideal" image in the mirror:

The diets I've tried -Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, Atkins, Lemon Water, Cookie, etc.

The workouts I've done - Thigh Master, Jazzercise, Tae Bo, Spinning, Zumba, Insanity, Bikram, etc.

But it seems like a never ending struggle.  And what's funny, to me, is that while I strive to achieve a certain image, I look at all other types of women and find them all beautiful!  My friends are each different in shape and size and each one is truly beautiful.  And history even shows us how the "ideal" image changes over time.  I found this interesting video online that shows the "ideal" woman in different eras:

I keep using "ideal" in quotes because, honestly, there is no ideal.  Is there?  Does Kim K look in the mirror every day and think she looks perfect?  Did Marilyn Monroe?  Is that even healthy?  Maybe it's good to have a balance of feeling confident yet striving to improve oneself. 

I went through some of my gazillions of photos and found different women I had photographed.  Some are real, some are pieces of art, some are skinny, some are not.  All are beautiful.

Clare of Assisi
Phoenix urban street art
The Rape of the Sabine Women in Florence

Phoenix urban art

Phoenix urban art

Belizian urban art

San Francisco Gay Pride

San Francisco Gay Pride


The Naked Cowgirl in Times Square

Saloon in Tombstone, AZ
Wedding I saw in Tuscany (mine is next!)

Las Vegas

Las Vegas



I guess what it all boils down to is whatever makes us happy.  I saw a girl at a restaurant Friday night with the best read "Happy Girls are Beautiful Girls".  That is such a true statement. Sometimes dieting makes me happy (well...okay, not the diet per se, but the results), and sometimes pigging out makes me happier!  Sometimes Bikram class makes me happy, sometimes it makes me want to slit my wrists!  LOL!  What I do know, and what I have always said, is that I am glad to be a woman: we are beautiful, and fun, and dynamic.  May we all find happiness in ourselves, no matter how we achieve it.

"I know who I am.  I am not perfect.  I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I'm one of them."  - Mary J. Blige

"Happy girls are the prettiest." - Audrey Hepburn (wonder if she knows her words are on a t-shirt?)

Phenomenal Woman

By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

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