So real talk. The female body. Bodies. My body.
Let’s go back a few years when I was a younger lass. I guess there was always a love/hate thing going on. The 'grass is always greener on the other side’ type of mentality. We all have our hang-ups but mine was more an uneasy marriage with the fact that yes - I was a girl. A girl with curves.
I remember that moment when my mother proudly told me I was being taken to buy my first bra. My brother hooted with laughter whilst the world crumbled around me. I just stood there and cried as my fierce little tomboy self knew this was the beginning of the end.
I had grown up as a wild child; running amok amidst the paddocks, playing rough rugby with my brother’s friends, catching bulbous frogs in the muddy ponds and the idea that I was transitioning into an actual ‘girl’ terrified me. It was that whole mindset that ‘girls were weak’ ‘girls liked barbies’ ‘girls wore pink’…I seriously hated pink.
The school years: I was consistently angered by schoolboys callous comments on girls bodies, my friends bodies. It heightened the fact that girls were rated by their appearance and It made me question why this harsh and critical behaviour was a societal norm. I wore a larger jersey so my changing body wasn’t watched and reviewed.
After the school years had passed I moved into the Sydney events world where the industry and my agency was absolutely dominated by men. I was so determined NOT to be that young female employee who was considered a potential ‘conquest’ or just another piece of meat. This meant I consciously dressed ‘tougher’, acted tougher and didn’t wear anything that was form-fitting, let alone show any kind of curve. I hated the idea of someone assessing at my body instead of meeting my eyes. I worked harder, took on the jobs that the ‘boys’ would usually do and didn’t shy away from having beer and banter with the lads. This helped elevate my career as I was respected, given more responsibility and was considered to be ‘one of the guys’ which made me proud.
However now that I’m older, wiser (in theory) and more in tune with myself I see how that mindset was so detrimental. By hiding my ‘form’ and subsequently my femininity I only aided and abetted that world view of female objectification where to be successful in a 'mans world' you had to dress like a man, talk like a man, essentially be a man.
So now I am proud to wear an actual dress and so what if it shows off some curves? No, I’m not going to go buy a push-up and poke someones' eye out but I am determined to not be ashamed of wearing clothing that enhances my body rather than hides it.
I still get enraged at the wolf-whistle. That singular, high pitched, unwelcome note that shatters the quiet peace of the day. It takes utter self control (that isn't always successful) for me not to hurl some scathing abuse back in the whistlers' greasy, chauvinistic face however I remind myself that I am a woman, no I am a human. A strong human who would never allow another to make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.
My body is not something to be hidden away and ‘de-sexed’. Nor is it something that should be considered an object. It is and always will be a privilege to be a woman.
Anyway, ladies love your form - I’ve learnt, and still learning to love mine.