I had an epiphany—two actually—after I saw the photo Kendall Jenner posted naked on a horse. The Twitterverse went into a spin thinking it was Kendall naked, but not so; it was French beauty Elisa Meliani.
Only two days ago I had been discussing with my girlfriends our body shapes. We’ve known each other for several decades and now with the child-rearing years gone, the next big hurdle is menopause. We’re noticing changes in our figures—a thickening here, drooping there, chins and lines.
I workout six days a week—I have for years—but I’m sure my hips have got bigger. Imagine my relief when my girlfriends said they were noticing the same weight gain… it’s an age thing, phew. Sure, it is.
Then two things happened: I saw the photo Kendall Jenner posted of naked Elisa on a horse and my husband saw me naked. The latter is not unusual but his reaction was priceless and it opened my eyes.
Epiphany one: I need to look at my own self-worth.
My first reaction to seeing Elisa was ‘OMG’. She was so glamorous, so thin—beautiful but bony with prominent hip bones and nothing much of her. I was torn between concern, admiration and jealousy.
Yet, I walked naked out of the shower with my not-catwalk body and my husband made an appreciative sound and reached for me. He wasn’t seeing me as I was—as I sucked it in and pushed it out (you know which areas I’m referring to). I suspect most men don’t see us as we see ourselves, they just see a naked woman, the woman they love and their body reacts accordingly. Gratifying!
So it is time I reviewed how I saw myself.
Ephiphany two: I realised the balance needed to be corrected.
Art galleries are full of Renaissance images of full-bodied women captured with their rounded bodies, full hips and large breasts. But on our screens, the annual televising of Victoria’s Secrets Fashion Show—viewed by 500 million people in some 158 countries—glorifies the leggy, super thin woman who is a rarity; 177 centimetres is the average ‘angel’ height and weight around 52kg (supposedly). Know anyone like that? Maybe one or two.
This got me thinking—for years, the well-meaning have been going on about representing women as real people in the media, in advertising and promotion. I was oblivious to this… whatever. I like to see beautiful women in beautiful clothes… it inspires me to buy because somewhere in my psyche I want to look that good too. But as my girlfriends and I talked about our bodies with a mild form of self-loathing, I started to review this.
There’s room for us all—for the tall, the thin, the rounded, the portly. It has taken me a while but I’m joining the ranks of those who want real women represented as well in advertising… at least some anyway. I want to feel good about myself. I want young women to feel good about themselves whether they are thin or round. I want older women to feel they have value even if they are ageing—check out Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton and Sally Fields—confident, impressive, ageing women.
Perhaps it is all in my head, but I doubt I’m alone in my epiphanies. I’m going to change my thinking… it starts here.
See the story and photo on Kendall Jenner and Elisa Meliani for yourself- here.
Carmel Elliot is a part-time Brisbane events organiser, mother of two grown men and grandmother of two girls and a boy. When she’s not working or babysitting, she likes to paint in oils, but obviously that doesn’t happen very often.