Body Image Warrior Week: We don’t have ‘problem areas’ (guest post)

”Body Image Warrior Week

Here’s another great guest post for Body Image Warrior Week, which I am participating in as a part of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  This one is from Patti of Not Dead Yet Style, a fellow Floridian whose blog is dedicated to the idea that all women deserve to be stylish and lovely, and that fashion ain’t only for the youngsters.  I love this post, and I hope you agree.

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Oh boy, this is a pet peeve. I hear it mostly on the home shopping channels (gulp, if I ever, um, happen to have the TV tuned to one of them while I am, errr, polishing up an article for the New York Times). The cheery host or model points to the latest tunic top (two easy payments!) and delivers the good news: it covers all those problem areas!

I know they mean our midriffs, in this case. Other garments mercifully cover over our problem hips, “derrieres”, thighs and upper arms. Sometimes the salespeople make little unhappy faces as they mention the offending body region, or they smile ruefully and pat their own (perfectly nice) hips.

Of course, I don’t want to expose all my body secrets to the waking public. What a world it would be. I like to drape garments over my body to make a pleasing line. Because I have a relatively small waist, I like to wear clothes with waists, and/or I add a belt. I don’t wear clothing that clutches on to my hips and thighs because it’s 1) uncomfortable and 2) unprofessional in my workplace.

My thighs are not a “problem” however! Sometimes my finances are a problem, my cat having allergies can be a problem, and new construction making me late for work is a  . . problem. My pale, slightly dimpled thighs are just mine. My upper arms have lost a bit of their struggle vs. gravity but they are not a problem. They are  . . . interesting. I choose to show them or not, and for work I choose not.

I rarely hear any garments for men, of any size or shape, touted as covering up their troublesome bits. “This polo shirt will not cling to that problem tummy, guys, so grab two!”

We want to dress to look better, or we wouldn’t be reading and posting on fashion blogs. It’s natural to want to look good, we’re built that way. Do I sound grumpy? I’m not. I am a happy woman who objects to the problem-ification of my body parts. Does that mean I have a . . . problem?

Patti is a 50-something blogger and mental health professional from Central Florida.  Her blog celebrates the over-40 woman; visit her at Not Dead Yet Style, and follow her on Twitter @PattiNotDeadYet.


Do you have something to say about body image and eating disorders?  You can join us by grabbing this code and pasting it at the top of your post:

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And please, by all means, share a link to your post in the comments!  I’d love to read what you have to say.

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3 responses to “Body Image Warrior Week: We don’t have ‘problem areas’ (guest post)

  1. Great post! Perhaps the worst part about labeling bodies or body parts as ‘problematic’ is that it implies there’s some perfect body type out there that you could or should achieve by wearing certain clothes or going on certain diets. Ugh.

    Men are certainly body-shamed, too, but currently it’s not so blatant. I fear in another 5-10 years, the industry will have further caught on that men are a vulnerable population.

    You ask to link to our own posts, so I thought I’d drop mine:

    That’s just a category search for all the posts revolving around Eating Disorder Awareness (and Education, Prevention, Advocacy) Week, myself and some other writers turned it into a month-long series of posts.

    • Goodness, I hope not. This is why I prefer to say I want “liberation” as opposed to “equality.” A world where both men and women are body-shamed and taught to hate themselves is NOT the world I want!

      Thank you for sharing your link. I’m saving it to read later on tonight when I am home.

  2. Pingback: Eat the Damn Cake » why I write about body image·

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