Warning: ever since I embarked on this three-part fashion centred mind-meander, my darling partner, Myahr, has warned me to not come across ‘as an older woman out of touch with what it means to be a liberated ‘female’ in 2021.’
So, dear reader, hopefully, you won’t think that as you read on.
But it’s true, the mind does meander in weird ways 😊
There’s actually an era when women chose to create a cleavage between their breasts and enhance the divide with careful makeup.
That was in the 13th century.
In the 15th century, the men decreed that, small breasts, round as apples, were the worthiest of attention.
Of course! The primitive brain has forever recognised that ‘small and round ‘suggests youth.
From that optic, of course, a young ‘female’ is likely to be a healthier procreator than an older one.
So, fully-grown women chose to display their breasts in ways that helped them pass the ‘apple test’ as best they could.
Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not a man but a woman, Herminie Cadolle, who in 1889 invented the modern bra.
Imagine running the risk of boys and men ever learning how to be as respectfully neutral about breasts as girls and women were about manly abdominal and pectoral muscles – or lack of!
Reality check: the mistress of Charles VII of France, Agnes Sorel started the trend of breast-displaying gowns in the 1400s, and the rest is … history.
How self-liberating it could have been for women if, aeons ago, instead of embracing the emerging feminised fashion, they had reeled in their gratuitous impulse to titillate the male gaze via sexualised corsets and garments!
Instead, they accepted bodices that constricted the torso into a rigid and conical V-shape, and whalebone added an extra dimension to the backside.
The corset, the ancient equivalent of today’s lycra shapewear, has evolved throughout the centuries.
In the 1900s, it was fashioned to create a body shape name the S-Bend as, it was thought that curves of the female body resembled the curves of the letter S.
See? The current fad of ‘serving the curve’ is anything but modern.
Then came the girdle that encircled the lower torso and extended below the hips.
And the rest is also terribly ancient history.
Serious questions: while thinking about all-important body positivity, whether we have been genetically or karmically blessed with a size XS or 3X, why do we, girls and women, still seek out cleavage-enhancing or revealing bras and add-ons along with butt emphasising garments:
- when we’ve known for centuries that boys and men consider them erotic?
- when we know that ‘erotic’ tends to bring about thoughts and actions best expressed in porn or BDSM context?
And, to that ancient practice of breast displaying, we have more recently added that of ‘serving the butt curve’.
Yes, of course, if only in our democracies, we have the freedom to choose, up to a point, what we do with our body but, let’s hope that by the time you come across this little mind-meander, dear reader, that aberration will have come and gone for good – not just replaced by a ‘different but same’ trend. 😉
The belly that had been liberated for several decades from the tightening constriction of corsets is once again bound and flattened by a modern version of the corset going by the cool names of Waist Trainer or Body Shaper (for women’s tummies).
All of it is fashioned to ‘serve the curves’… on a platter 24/7.
For now, though, when needing to impress, if considered not curvy enough, the ‘booty’ gets padded.
More often, it is compressed inside a sheath of Nylon and Spandex because of its size and shape.
Presumably, that’s to control width and wobble.
Heads up: how is ‘serving the curve’ proof of authenticity and personal evolution?
Regardless of one’s height and weight, body positivity is one much-needed mindset but, perhaps even more laudable is one’s ability to strike a balance between body pride and a healthy degree of ‘pudeur,’ as the French would say.
Between modesty and dignity.
The widening range of sizes, a.k.a. inclusivity, available from any store or under any celebrity/influencer’s label, makes excellent business sense.
The more customers, the greater the profits.
Sure, regardless of one’s motives, encouraging size inclusivity is a good thing, of course
- if/when the product is manufactured ethically in partnership with a fair-trade organisation.
- if/when the range is genuinely ‘affordable’.
- if/when the focus of advertising is not just a ploy to exclude no one from the opportunity to … spend money.
Reality check: of course, tall or short, thin or overweight, flat or curvy in the ‘wrong places’, we need to love our body.
It has contained ALL our emotions and the by-products of ALL our thoughts from the moment we were born.
Despite that incessant flood of chemical reactions, it has kept us as resilient and as healthy as it could.
It has done that under often challenging and traumatic impact inflicted upon ourselves by ourselves – and by others, too, of course.
Whichever way we develop a connection with the wisdom of our body, the sooner, the better.
We need to be at peace with our body.
We need to respect its integrity.
From hair to little toe – from one little finger to the other little finger – from diaphragm to cranium, we need to do our best for our body.
It’s our vehicle throughout a lifetime we generally wish to be satisfying – and long.
Serious question: do we dare envisage our life in a body that is less able to function and less able to regenerate itself than it currently is?
So, the ‘hot’ question playing in my mind is not whether sexy lingerie and tops, skirts, bottoms and gowns should be cut for all sizes.
The ‘hot’ question is WHY would, these days, any ‘modern’ girl or woman would even WANT to feature parts of themselves they know the world has sexualised since the dawn of time?
Our soul and our body exist for a reason.
They are ‘here’ to help us find and fulfil our purpose for being alive – for having been incarnated into this lifespan.
If our soul is our unerring GPS whose whispers we should heed and call intuition, our body is our physical enabler – our vehicle in this lifetime.
Reality check: it’s the one who has managed to stay reasonably balanced despite all that we have put it through over the past decades.
Serious question: how grateful should we, then, be to our body – our one, most essential enabler?
Reality check: even if we are on the poverty line – even if we are ill – even if we have Covid, as long as we are free to breathe, to move our limbs and think and feel, smell, see, swallow, digest, hug – and love – of course, beyond the ongoing unexpected flow of karma, we need to appreciate the human vehicle we’ve been given in this lifetime.
Heads up: even if we have become ill because of a karmic twist – or made ourselves ill from indulging in unhealthy practices – we know that our body is doing all it can to repair and heal itself.
And so, we appreciate it regardless of its height, weight, colour and gender.
At the same time, we remember that our genes do not have to determine our fate.
They, too, respond to all that we ingest via our mouths, emotions and thoughts.
Serious question #1: so what if subjective observers don’t give our nose, eyes, lips, hair, cheeks or butt cheeks a thumbs up?
Accepting to be different is an act of courage.
Choosing to be different and to present our self differently is an act of healthy defiance of the cultural status quo.
When we focus on the only thing over which we do have control, we choose actions and responses aligned with our heartfelt, gut-felt, intuitive intentions.
All our feelings/emotions hail from a distant past.
They remain active in the present moment until we allow ourselves to feel them fully.
As Ralph Wado Emerson wrote, ‘Real action is in silent moments. The epochs of our life are not the invisible facts of our choice of a calling, our marriage, our acquisition of an office, and the like, but in a silent thought by the wayside as we walk.’
More serious questions: as we do our best to love our bodies better, shouldn’t we also practice body dignity?
How about ‘body neutrality’?
And while on this topic, let’s be clear. Though boys and men are not sexually objectified by girls and women in the same way, they, too, suffer from the reality or the ‘simple’ fear of negative social comparisons.
Regardless of age and gender, minimising body negativity liberates us from the flurry of limiting thoughts – the by-product of cultural and family conditioning.
It minimises the impulsive intrusion of unrealistic, depleting thoughts.
It spares us the trouble of becoming defensive, of feeling insulted, crushed and reacting angrily.
Such thoughts are to our mind what sugar, salt and oils are to our body.
They need to be ingested with care.
They need to be controlled.
When we don’t allow our mind to sprout thoughts of defensiveness, envy, judgement or helplessness, we are calling the shots.
When we step away from our automated reactions, we open the door to the essential ‘us’.
Once we successfully manage that, we are no longer rigidly trapped in a fixed, predictable mindset.
We understand that everything else that exists outside of us is not …us.
It’s only a construct.
Here’s a thought: rather than invest energy in the upkeep of that construct that is like a wall around our ego, we celebrate our courage. 😉
Yes, we do!
And at the same time, we humbly acknowledge that without Soul, without Body, without a coherent mind – and without supportive family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues, there is little we can achieve solely by maintaining an ongoing concern about pleasing the eye of the beholders.
Makes no difference whether these eventual observers are young or old, boys or men, girls or women – or simply ‘us’ looking in the mirror.
Standing by, dear reader, to hear your voice in this conversation.
In the meantime, stay safe and make your self happy 😊