A few truths: About body image–my own–and maybe my attitudes about some local cheerleaders

For the record, I do not in any way look like Victoria Beckham, my Soccer Mom “avatar.” That’s what they call, irony, folks. With her stick-thin body, over-sized breasts, and skeletal face, she looks like a chicken embryo.

Me-ow! There I go, denigrating another woman based on her looks.

So much for the sisterhood, huh?

Meanwhile, I’m re-reading some of the comments on my recent posts on the controversial cheerleading car wash fundraiser last weekend, as well as on the Miramonte High English teacher accused of unlawful sexual relations with a student, and of my teen adventure with an older man.

One comment on the post’s on last week’s car wash fundraiser for the Northgate cheerleading squad—with some of the girls apparently dressed in bikini tops—struck me in particular:

They are hard working kids who like to have fun. Many are smart kids with bright futures ahead of them. Only thing they are guilty of is being in shape, working hard and enjoying their youth. Stop being so darn judgmental and allow these kids to have fun.

I wagged my finger at some of the girls—and adult supervisors—involved. I’ve stated my case for doing so, and I stand by it.

But, as usual, my wishy-washy self is still questioning, wondering, thinking about what I think–really think–about all this. I’m wondering if my finger-wagging, deep down, was prompted by me—Me-ow—being jealous of these young women “being in shape, working hard, and enjoying their youth?”

I’m willing to consider this writer’s point, considering that I have never really felt comfortable in my own skin—much less in a bikini. The last time I wore a bikini? Probably when I was 7 years old.

I cannot, for the life of me, imagine ever feeling comfortable going around with any part of my torso exposed to the public, because of that little belly pouch that I think has been with me since I was 8 years old. Maybe there was a brief moment, after Diet No. 12, when I would have attempted to don a bikini. Or after that brief freshman-year-of-college-bout with bulimia.

No, not even then, after the diet and bulimia episode. I couldn’t have done it.

And certainly not now. (Of course, I might feel better about myself if I didn’t eat burgers and fries at In-N-Out.)

And, yes, it’s entirely possible that my lifelong discomfort with my own body prompted me to seek that brief moment of attention and adoration by a married mid-20s-year-old man—who, ewww, wore cowboy boots and had one of those disco mustaches.

And, speaking of belly pouches, I just became aware of the buzz surrounding model Lizzi Miller, whose nude photo (and PICTURE HERE)—with belly pouch–appears on page 194 of the latest Glamour. Actually, Ms. Miller has become known as “the woman on page 194.” The 20-year-old is a plus-size model and belly-dance enthusiast who wears a size 12-14.

Marisa Meltzer on The Daily Beast writes about Miller, the excitement surrounding this photo, and Glamour’s decision to begin including more real-sized women in its fashion lay-outs:

At 5’11 and 180 pounds, her body mass index puts her just outside of what insurers deem “normal,” but well under the female average of 26.5 in the U.S. “In America, the ideal body for women is increasingly longer and leaner than seem humanly possible,” Julia Savacool in the new book, The World Has Curves: The Global Quest for the Perfect Body. “Never before has the ‘perfect’ body been at such odds with our true size.”

Nearly every blog aimed at women commented on it, plus Newsweek and CNN. {And now, the world-famous Crazy in Suburbia!] Even the popular street fashion site The Sartorialist weighed in, wondering whether the economic crisis has “forced the fashion community to open its eyes a little bit to what the customers want?”

Meltzer continues:

Whether this is real change or just lip service remains to be seen. [The enthusiastic response] has been encouraging; [Glamour] has gotten a huge reality check about what women want from their magazines. The presence of real-size women in fashion magazines might indicate that they really are listening to their readers. It’s an inhospitable climate for print media right now. Glamour’s example will hopefully show a direction in which magazines can renew their relevance.

Hmm, looking again at this Lizzi Miller photo, maybe Crazy Soccer Mom has a new avatar.

15 thoughts on “A few truths: About body image–my own–and maybe my attitudes about some local cheerleaders

  1. That model has a great body. Her stomach shows the way it does partly because of how she's sitting.

    Many people would be thrilled to be in the shape she's in, but at this point, between anorexic (Victoria Beckham) or surgically enhanced (fill in the blanks) celebrities and air-brushed and PhotoShopped images in all the magazines, we've forgotten what real people look like.

    We're this nation of weird contrasts, with a lot of unhealthy lifestyles and a high obesity rate and, at the same time, a fascination with bodies that are, frankly, usually impossible to obtain without medical help.


  2. Man, I never realized that photo on your site was of Victoria Beckham. I did wonder WHO it was, in terms of who would show up at a soccer game with the off-shoulder shirt, the hair just so, the super-tight jeans and so on… but never realized it was Victoria Beckham.


  3. I was driving through WC the other night and could not help but notice all of the beautiful people walking around in packs. Loads of women with short skits and great bodies and men with tight jeans and very expensive athletic cut cuban shirts.

    The irony of it was, they celebrate their youth and good looks by trashing their bodies with alcohol and cigarettes.

    It was sad to realize that I was looking at the future beer gutted, saggy breasted, Dressbarn customers of tomorrow.


  4. Oh, good grief……are we all not beyond the stage of only considering people worth looking at if they are perfectly shaped, dressed and coiffed?

    Come on guys/gals, we have much more important things to be concerned about in this old world of ours that outer beauty.

    Most of the comments about this post so far are downright shallow, sexist and insulting.

    Grow up people and take on some real problems with equal zeal.


  5. Lizzi Miller is gorgeous! What I like about this pic is that she seems so radiant and happy. Her posture seems shows some real confidence. I hope to see more pics of these 'plus'-size-models-that-arent-really-plus-size.


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