Yesterday I was prowling the Safeway parking lot in search of the Starbucks Wi-Fi when a woman walked across the crosswalk in front of me. She was probably in her forties and was by no means a “classic beauty;” she was simply fit and exuded confidence. As she crossed in front of me I had to smile: This sista was swinging it like she knew she had it going on – and she did.
I paused to think about why seeing this woman made me feel so content and satisfied. After all, aren’t we women supposed to feel jealous and threatened when we see a woman who looks great strutting her stuff? Aren’t we supposed to think, “Who does she think she is showing off like that?” Or, “What a bitch/slut/your name of choice here!” Women don’t like to admit that they think those things about attractive women, but let’s face it – we often do.
When I was younger I remember feeling threatened by attractive women who enjoyed being admired. Looking back now, I’m surprised at how much energy I expended judging and feeling angry at women who had it going on. Of course, I can see now that I was very insecure about who I was.
At the same time, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt the “threatened vibe” coming from another woman. It’s no fun having an undefined bad vibe directed at you for no apparent reason. But when it happens, you pretty much know what’s going on. There’s nothing you can do about it either; you’re not going to change who you are to accommodate this insecure person, are you? No, you just have to leave that person behind.
I read Oxygen magazine, and despite the distracting barrage of picture-perfect bodies, I do get a lot of useful exercise tips and workouts from it. I was intrigued by a sidebar in the September issue that asked readers if they felt jealous of the fitness models. Perhaps the editors have received mail about showing too many flawless, extremely thin women with huge busts! The sidebar asked how readers felt when they saw pictures of attractive women and how could they turn negative self-talk into an action plan for themselves.
I was intrigued by a magazine like Oxygen posing these questions and admired the editors for including them. Yes, the pages and pages of perfect bodies could be a downer if you think you have to look like those women. But usually I find myself inspired by the models, not feeling like I must look like them. Sure, it’d be great if I did, but I’m not a fitness model so it’s ok if I don’t. I wonder how many women needlessly beat themselves up because they don’t have perfect bodies? And shouldn’t it be ok for other women have it going on? Shouldn’t we just see what we have going on and strut what we have? Can we even celebrate women who love their bodies and aren’t afraid to show it?
I saw a woman at the zoo last weekend who I couldn’t take my eyes off. She was in her sixties (or beyond) and had a beautiful, proportional body that was slim and fit. She was strolling with an older gentleman, and yes, she knew she had it going on. Not in an obnoxious or in-your-face way but in a quiet, dignified way. I admired her relaxed yet confident movements.
When I looked at her, I saw hope. Maybe, when the time comes, I can gracefully accept and embrace the changes of growing old instead of trying to hold on to the youthful qualities I once had.
Nowadays, when I see an attractive woman, especially an older one who obviously likes who she is, I look at her with admiration. I’d like to tell those women, “Go ahead and strut your stuff! You got it goin’ on! Good for you!” It’s a better place to be.