My Facebook feed is littered with advertisements for shapewear.  These are modern day corset contraptions that, once you’ve squeezed your body into the shapewear, it’s guaranteed to make you feel ‘sexy, strong and confident’.  And that’s a direct quote from a shapewear website.

To be honest, part of me is attracted to the seemingly magical transformation that happens once you pull on the shapewear, covering ample thighs and wobbly stomach, to reveal a curvaceous figure without the lumps and bumps.  I’ve begun to wonder what it would feel like to have an appearance that hid the evidence of carrying three large babies full term and my previous self-destructive attitude towards food. 

What if I could be sexy, strong and confident too? 

All it takes is shapewear.

Then what would happen when I unleashed the flesh.  I feel a rush of ecstasy when I remove my bra at the end of the day – surely after having your body wrapped from thighs to under-boob will create bigger euphoria?  That alone would be worth my body being wrapped up all day so I can appear to have a more media-friendly figure.

Okay, sign me up.  Especially as there’s a 50 percent sale for US Mother’s Day.  What mother doesn’t want to be reminded that their body doesn’t meet society’s standards after it has served her, and her child, through pregnancy and birth. 

Seriously though, there is a lot of healing that needs to be done so women can feel sexy, strong and confident without having to appease someone else’s idea of what an acceptable or beautiful body looks like. 

If you wear shapewear, I respect your choice.  But I don’t respect the marketing behind the products and I definitely don’t respect a society that subconsciously pressures women into moulding their bodies a particular way.  Let’s not shove ourselves into synthetic tubes to appear more acceptable and fatten the pockets of corporations selling on our insecurities.

I have spent most of my lifetime not feeling comfortable in my body.  I was too tall and skinny.  Then I was too plump and heavy.  I have self-medicated with food to ease inner pains and my body has suffered from it.  I have stretch marks, scars, and flesh that hangs rather loosely from my bones.  My body landscape is not firm and flat; it is soft and bumpy.

I don’t want to shove my body into a constrictive body-sock so I can have a smooth outline when I wear a dress.  I wouldn’t be doing it for me:  I would be doing it to make other people feel better towards me because society is conditioning us not to value women who aren’t model material. We’re being told that it’s not acceptable to be ourselves.

And what exactly is model material these days?  Tall, thin and with features that can be easily photoshopped into making an already beautiful woman unrealistically gorgeous.  We don’t even see real beauty any more – we’re living in a world of fakery.  The wounds we carry are deep, subconsciously reinforced every time we turn to social media or pick up a magazine.

I don’t want to hide the story my body tells. 

I grumble and complain sometimes but I’ve found a peace with my stomach that overhangs my jeans, my breasts that are galloping southward and my greying hair.

I am not society’s definition of what a woman should look like.  Not by a long shot. And yet, I don’t need shapewear to feel sexy, confident or strong.  Those feelings come from inside and it doesn’t matter if you wobble and bulge in places ­– claim them for yourself.  Claim them, own them, love them. 

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