No matter how confident a person may seem, everyone — and I mean everyone — has something about themselves they dislike or makes them feel self-conscious or unsexy. I don’t care how great that person looks — get them behind closed doors where they feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable, and you’ll see the grass is never as green as it seems.
I don’t have to go into detail about the kinds of body image messages we’re bombarded with every day. We all see them, and as much as many of us would like to think we’re not affected by them, it’s nearly impossible for those messages not to leave some sort of impression on us. After all, if we are truly unaffected by this media pressure, then why would we spend so much money on gym memberships we never use, workout DVDs that are collecting dust, the latest exercise contraption craze, and any food that has “fat free” stamped on its box?
With all of those enhanced bodies and digitally beautified faces, it’s pretty tough to feel attractive these days. The truth is that no matter how hard we work out or try to eat right, we always have a mode of comparison that is just flat out unfair. For some people, this can result in a diminishing self-perception, leading down a self-destructive path that starts with low self-esteem and ends in a condition called body dysmorphic disorder, a chronic mental illness in which a person obsesses over a minor or imagined flaw. This disorder can become so severe that a person may go through a shocking number of cosmetic procedures to “fix” the perceived flaw.
As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve had my own battles with body image. For the past year, I’ve been working pretty hard to eat well and exercise regularly, and, fortunately, much of that work has paid off. I no longer have jiggly arms, I’ve dropped a pant size, and I finally feel comfortable wearing a bikini again. I’ve felt great — sexy even — except for one thing: my boobs shrunk (an unfortunate side effect for most women who work out).
There isn’t a woman out there who doesn’t pay attention to how her breasts look, from their size to their shape to the scintillating effect they can create with their cleavage. At 5′ 2″, I’ve always been a small woman in every regard, including my bust line. So when I suddenly found my breasts were not filling the cups of my bras and I looked practically flat-chested no matter what shirt I wore, my self-perception of my body image plummeted. Suddenly, despite all of that hard work, I felt as unsexy as ever.
Enter the push-up bra.
I used to think it was cheating to wear a push-up bra and that men feel tricked by them when they discover it’s really the clever placement of padding that made that woman’s breasts look so round and appealing. What I discovered is quite the opposite. Wearing a push-up bra makes me look exactly the way I want to look: fit but not flat-chested. And the man in my life has shown me that men appreciate breasts. Period. Push-up bra, unpadded bra, demi bra, whatever. Breasts are breasts.
The push-up bra didn’t change how the world saw me. It changed how I saw myself. That diminishing self-perception shot right back up, and I realized most of what makes a person beautiful and sexy is how they feel about themselves. I never realized something as nondescript as a push-up bra could be so powerful.
In your battle with body image, what’s your push-up bra?
Love and Victoria, my new best friend,
The Slasher Chick