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Some Body to Love

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the 1960’s lately. It was the decade of my early childhood, of course, but I’ve also been re-visiting the ’60’s in my imagination, lately.

First, I recently finished reading The Help, a book about African-American women working as maids in the homes of well-to-do white families in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960’s. And then, on top of that, the first disc of Season 1 of a show called Mad Men arrived in my mailbox via Netflix.

So,  I’ve been thinking about several things in regard to that era: the politics, the fads, the décor, and the fashion.

And, to coin a phrase likely to be used on Mad Men at some point, if it hasn’t been already, “We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”.  I mean, we have, right?

Because I can’t bear to advertise cigarettes. Picture from here.

Well….we have…and we haven’t.

The ways in which women and people from racial and ethnic minorities are treated in the workplace? Those have changed, and for the better. And thank God for that, I say. The hard knocks suffered by people willing to take a stand for equality back in that era have opened so many doors, for so many of us, and truly, I’m grateful that things like that have changed for the better. There’s still room for improvement, of course, but watch one episode of Mad Men and you’ll be reminded of how very different things were.

But something else has changed in terms of what’s in fashion now, and frankly, in my opinion, it’s not so much a change for the better. I refer to the unhealthy obsession so many women suffer in relation to weight, and the female form.

Please don’t get me wrong: I am all for women taking the very best care of their bodies, so that they can live long, healthy, productive lives. I strongly support every minute on a treadmill, every weight watcher’s meeting, every run/walk taken in the fresh air, every drop of sweat poured out in a good healthy workout. I celebrate every pound lost by every friend who wants to live healthier, and like what she sees in the mirror a little better.

But what I am disgusted with in myself is my own inability to enjoy the curves that God has given me. I loathe my own self-loathing.

My husband finds me beautiful. Irresistible, even. (And it ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.) But how often do I do battle inside my own head, with the negative image that I carry in my mind of the things I don’t like about my body? Why can’t I be more at ease in regard to my appearance, and revel in my own femininity?

There’s not much I find more charismatic in a person, male or female, than a relaxed confidence. If a woman feels attractive, can’t you just TELL it? I’m tired of not liking where I am, and then seeing a picture of myself from ten years earlier, and thinking, “Dang! I looked good! Why did I keep telling myself all those negative things back then?” I’m tired of wasting time. longing for what isn’t, as yet. I want to enjoy the here and now!

Va va va voom. Image from here.

Anyway, I just wanted to say, “Thank you” to Mad Men’s  Joan Hollaway character, (played by the lovely actress Christina Hendricks), for the way she sails across that fictional office like a beautiful, regal, shapely ship. Wow, lady, you got it goin’ on! You make me want to own my own femininity. God made us with lovely bodies. I’m tired of hating mine.