Addressing Body Image

After losing almost 60 pounds I am just starting to get familiar again with my body. While I now wear the same size I did at 34 (size 0) and have pulled some of those clothes out of purgatory, 14 years later I am about ten pounds heavier.  It isn’t muscle, I wish. I’m pretty sure it is extra skin from 14 years of excess weight. Will it go away, maybe.

It doesn’t bother me that much that I have a bit of sag. At 48 I can’t think I was going to look like my tight 20-something/30-something self. I also don’t have the same elasticity, so the wrinkles show when I twist my arm or pull up my legs. I see the wrinkle sag on my butt. I don’t care. It’s minor and something I notice but Tom doesn’t seem to. But, I do look good for a 48 year old.  Tom has more issue with the fact that I’m bonier. Hah!

Which leads me to the point on body image and what others think. I recently saw an article on about transgender models coming out and admitting they are transgender and not originally female. I honestly could care less if someone is transgender, gay, lesbian, bi, queer, whatever. The point is not the transgender aspect so much as it is how the fashion industry is trying to define beauty.

Transgenders can be beautiful, and that is clear from the models in the article. But, what really irritated me is that these transgender models are in many ways being forced to go back and embrace boyish androgynous body images that are unrealistic and unrepresentative of healthy women. It’s almost a fat shaming of women that are of normal weight and healthy.

Teddy Quinlivan, the transgender model in the article, is by any measure pretty. She reminds me of my 6 foot tall niece during her early high school days. Skinny, lanky, and still not quite filled out with her womanly curves. My niece is now a senior in college. Still quite tall, still thin, but a little more curve in the hip and on top. Anyone on the streets of NY would think she could model. She probably could if she also lost another 10-15 pounds. And there lies the issue.

Women are not pre-adolescent boys with flat stick like bodies and of extreme height. Teddy Quinlivan knows this personally. Yet the fashion industry has created a standard that favors women looking like boys and in some ways even exploits transgender models to get closer to the standard. And, while Teddy has some amazing photos in the CNN article, the one that bothered me the most was the cover one where she is almost anorexic looking. Is that how we want our daughters to look? Is that really the ideal that transgenders are using to shape them from male to female?

So that is my rant. One others also conduct. I just needed to add my voice saying that first, I am so happy and proud to have lost weight and gotten healthy. I know I look good and I flaunt it! Yet there is this ideal standard for women being held up that is unattainable for more than 99% of women and now it is encroaching on self image for transgenders. It has to stop.



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