Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Struggling with Body Image: Part 5

Kasia P (from  

Marquita Pring (from
Whether they’re in denim, lingerie or nothing at all, these girls radiate sensuality.

Tara Lynn
People try to numb and dim their inner lights – try to not stand out and shine – out of fear of being different…and therefore disconnected.  Naturally curvaceous women starve themselves and obsessively work out to look like children.
Most of the women I know have body issues. Even the thin. Tall. Short. We don't see enough variety like we see in these pictures. How about height? Where are the models who are my height? Well, I googled and found some. Some very beautiful models. Who says you have to be tall to be gorgeous? Oh, right...that was my subconscious. These ladies disprove *that* misconception.
Jax 5'2"

Kat 5'2" from
There is such beauty in these pictures, in  these women. So much sensuality, so much beauty that radiates from these pictures. Why? What makes these women different from the average woman? The one who hates everything about herself? Who judges her reflection with ridicule? It's not size or height. What I see is:

Confidence. Acceptance. Love.

Each woman exudes these. Confidence in who she is. Acceptance of her body. Love for herself. It's not easy to accomplish this. The four previous posts have shown how body image issues are prevalent in most of us no matter our size, shape, height.

One of our biggest downfalls, in my opinion is lack of understanding of what is thought of as beautiful. We don't just tear each other down, we dress up to impress other women. Now this makes sense if you are romantically interested in women, obviously. However, if not...why on earth are you worried about what other women think of your clothing? Of your hair style? Your jeans?

On that the men care? Are we attempting to impress other women in an effort to impress men? I don't have the answers, unfortunately. However, I have chatted up a few men who graciously gave me some insight into their minds. These men do not speak for all men. There is no way they could. Every man has his opinions, likes, dislikes. There are most certainly men who feel all women should look like the models in magazines, to whom I would never be attractive. However, there are men who like short women...I most certainly qualify on that front. Some men love women with breast implants, the bigger the better, whiles others prefer natural breasts.

I am a firm believer that we cannot generalize people. No generalized statement I've ever read has been true for every single person, every single race, every single gender. Except, perhaps, that every one needs certain things to survive (water, food, oxygen...etc.). When we get into opinions, likes and dislikes...we are all entirely too different to bother with generalizing. So my point in sharing is not so that you'll take away from this post that all men think like these men. No. My point is that you see from a man's perspective, what he finds attractive in a woman. That you'll see the differences in the opinions. That you'll note the similarities. We often fight with spouses, significant others, friends because we assume. Well, I assumed that men wanted in a woman what I found attractive.

Oh, how wrong I was. And knowing that has helped me immensely. Some of the men are listed by name, others by Twitter handle, some preferred to remain anonymous. Chiming in are @herofankidd, @zombiegeekboy, Anonymous Guy 1 (44, Personal Fitness Trainer), Anonymous Guy 2 (39, Sr. Unix Engineer), Anonymous Guy 3 (40, Aggregate Industry), Jason Holt and Jeff Stalnaker (@jdstalnaked). A big thank you to all of these men for laying it out there for us!

Kyla: What is the first thing you notice about a woman? (Honest answers here, luvs. If it’s her breasts…please, don’t say eyes.) What is it about that, that really pulls you in?

@zombiegeekboy – Generally, I like very small breasts, but that is beside the point…Honestly I think it is an attitude. Looks yes, of course, but how confident is she? Does she look like she would rather talk politics, does she have a sexual nature about her, or is she just playful and flirty? Is she shy, does she look smart, and how does she move. These are things I look for, because they tell me what kind of person she is. Almost all the time, some basic aspect of her personality is wrapped up in how she carries herself.
 Anonymous Guy 1 (44, Personal Fitness Trainer) – First…If she is fit. I appreciate women who take care of themselves. Physically – 1…face & hair, 2…the butt, 3…breasts, 4…shoulders, back and arms. Fit women always have a sexiness to them. It shows they care about how they feel and look.
Anonymous Guy 2 (39, Sr. Unix Engineer) – The first thing I notice about a woman is her hair. I freely admit that I’m a sucker for women with beautiful long hair. The longer the better. Did I mention long hair?
 I’m not sure how to put this into words so be understanding on this point. To me, a woman’s hair is like someone’s kitchen in their home. You can tell a lot about a woman by how she wear her hair. Item’s such as if she’s feeling sexy, playful, pissed off and more are all right there. Add to this that I’m a very tactile person. I really enjoy the feel of a woman’s hair in my hands, on my chest, whatever.

Kyla: What do you see as the sexiest thing about women in general? Why?

Jason Holt – The come hither look. For all out bravado guys are still worried about rejection and being wanted. Nothing is as good as when the girl you are interested in, gives you the signals (not subtle) that says she is interested too. Forget all the games and fear and worries. Those bedroom eyes and come and get it look or just an interested smile that invites a hello.
Anonymous Guy 1 (44, Personal Fitness Trainer) – it’s really about how they carry themselves, the words they choose, the inflections. Also their image and confidence.
Anonymous Guy 2 (39, Sr. Unix Engineer) – Attitude and inner strength. I love mentally strong women who can stand on their own. I’m not sure if this is because my mother was/is that type of person, or if it’s a matter of just finding that aspect of a woman’s character simply irresistible, but a woman who can hold her own is worth the world to me.
Anonymous Guy 3 (40, Aggregate Industry) – I find her personality the sexiest thing about a woman….If a woman is outgoing and a bit flirty she will keep my attention.

Kyla: What do women complain about (in regards to their bodies) that you just don’t notice or care about?

Jeff Stalnaker (@jdstalnaked) – Makedup, dress. To me, women ALWAYS dress, not to impress men but to impress other women. My wife KNOWS that I prefer her in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt with little or no makeup on. That’s the REAL her. Jen didn’t come equipped with makeup. There is a natural beauty there that is HER and HER ALONE. Fell in love with Jen…not Sephora cover up. My focus is on her. It’s hard to explain to a girl, “you look beautiful” when they are lounging on the sofa in a pair of gym shorts and an old t-shirt. If you say that, the assumption is that you aren’t being sincere. ON THE CONTRARY. When she is content, relaxed, and happy she is also open. It’s easy. When a girls is “dressing to impress”…who ARE they trying to impress? Jen knows…it ain’t me. Mission accomplished. Did that several years ago.
@zombiegeekboy – Women always, always complain about being fat or about not being perfect. They are obsessed with it. And the absolute worst thing a woman can do is focus on what is negative about her body. Men aren’t pretty either, we have our problems. If they would just be comfortable and love what they have, they would make men love it too. No man hates any woman’s body. We are just programmed to love the female body. All we have to do is see you loving it too. Plus, despite what women tell each other, we really do love a woman who can talk shit right back to us. Not sound like a guy, but just show that she has a brain and isn’t afraid to use it. It’s all a game, play it.
Anonymous Guy 2 (39, Sr. Unix Engineer) – Women ALWAYS complain about their looks. This has been the case from time immemorial. This issue seems to have gotten worse in recent times. While an outside appearance is always one of the first things that people look at, and if I’m honest I have to throw myself into that group, it’s the inside that I focus on more. The least attractive looking woman in the work could be the most beautiful woman in the world if she cares about who she is inside. That is the ultimate sexiness right there.
Kyla: What do you see as the biggest obstacle to women having positive body images?

Jeff Stalnaker (@jdstalnaked) – Our over informed, critical, unrealistic mass media. Those people on the TV aren’t real. They are, most generally, idealized versions of what the powers that be BELIEVE we want to see. We are constantly bombarded by images of “perfection” that it’s actually inescapable. It’s fantasy. I don’t expect Jen to look like Kate Beckinsale any more than (I hope…) she doesn’t expect me to look like Daniel Craig. Just be you.
Jason Holt – Other women, you are all vicious towards each other and use it as a status weapon.
@herofankidd – The Media. With the plethora of anorexic models and role models it makes women too self conscious. A confident woman is a sexy woman.
Anonymous Guy 3 (40, Aggregate Industry) – I think woman are more concerned with trying to be something unreaslist for the way they are made. Take care of what you have and men will appreciate it. If he wants you to be something else, he’s a douche.

Kyla: Comment about anything you’d like to add that wasn’t covered. Or talk to our ladies about how you view them, how they should view themselves.

Jeff Stalnaker (@jdstalnaked) – Men don’t help here. I know it. We are pigs and love to look at pretty girls. (I know girls like to look at dudes too, btw) Women, for whatever reason, tend to take it to heart more than guys do. I catch myself looking at a girl in front of Jen or, WORSE…COMMENTING on a cute girl. I always walk away ashamed of that. I KNOW that, somewhere in the dark recesses of where Jen hides her insecurities, there is a little hurt. We as MEN, not boys, MEN, have to bear some responsibility to make certain that our girls feel like they are the most beautiful and important people in the world. Most often they are. We just have a really crappy way of showing it at times. There isn’t a starlet in Hollywood who I would trade for my Jen. I chose her. I love her quirks and idiosyncrasies, her slight perceived “imperfections”, her brains, confidence, natural beauty, and because she’s the best person I have ever known. (Yes, she is pretty damn hot too…) How could you not love that?
Jason Holt – Change the things you can and learn to be happy with the rest. Feeling fat? Workout and eat better. Feel like you are too tall/short? – tough, learn to love yourself and be comfortable in your own skin. If you are 6 foot tall, that isn’t something you can change. There is a 5 foot woman that would kill for your long legs while you are wishing you could shrink into her petit frame. Be you. If you do what you can about the things you can change then you will be amazing. There are people that like short, tall, busty, small chested, athletic, thin, curvy, blond, red head, brunette and everything else you can think of. There will always be guys that are not interested b/c of something beyond your control just like there will always be people that think you are their perfect type regardless of what you look like. You just have to be happy with you and find your match.
@herofankidd – I feel that body image is overrated for women, every guy has a different idea of what’s sexy. You shouldn’t worry, starve, and fixate over every little detail of your body because you are going to be perfect just the way you are in someone’s eyes. Just relax and be true to yourself, personality has a great effect on sexiness.
Anonymous Guy 2 (39, Sr. Unix Engineer) – I think I’ve covered my points in the previous questions. The only thing I’d add is that women, all women, are beautiful. No one can be perfect all of the time. Everyone has flaws. Women, like men, are only human. Be yourself, love yourself. Everything else will follow.
Anonymous Guy 3 (40, Aggregate Industry) – I’m not what society says is perfect, why would I expect women to be.

Thank you gentlemen! It's amazing to me that even the men pick up on how women pick each other apart. I hadn't really thought about that aspect, not until I started these posts. On, there's an article about women's body images, where women share their "body confidence" secrets.

95% of women said getting compliments from other women helps them like their shape.

That is amazing. 95%. Why we don't put as much emphasis on compliments from MEN, I do not know. But with a statistic like that, I have made a resolution to compliment more women. To make an attempt to stop "body snarking", even about my own body. Tearing my own body down only serves to hurt other women and myself.

In that same article, they suggest the following.  

When all else fails and you find yourself having a body-loathing moment, ask yourself this one simple question: What makes you feel good in your skin? Women who took our survey said:
  • “Good hair days!”
  • “A bra that fits, and sexy underwear.”
  • “A long, hot bubble bath.”
  • “Getting a massage.”
  • “Dancing, because it’s the one time when I confidently shake it all—the good, the bad and the ugly!”
  • “When my husband tells me he loves my little tummy.”
  • “Skinny-dipping!”
  • “A great pair of heels.”
  • “Kissing.”
  • “Knowing that every woman has something she doesn’t like about herself.”
  • “Compliments! Even ones I give myself.”
  • “Looking in the mirror and finding all of the positives—loving my body is loving myself.”
That’s a mantra we want every woman to say, repeat and, by the time we do this survey again, believe.
So take a moment to reflect. Do you compliment women? Do you snark about your body to other women or snark about their bodies. When's the last time you felt confident, comfortable in your own skin? Think about what was going on with you that made you feel that way. Maybe it was the look in your man's eyes. Maybe another woman, whose approval you seek. Maybe it was just that your damn hair did what it was supposed to do. 

These posts, while meant to be helpful to you, while meant to spread the word and make a difference for SOMEone, ended up helping me. I am not perfect. I am still trying to be the best me, physically, sure, but also inside. I have lost 25 pounds since April. Not dieting or running 6 miles every day. I am doing what I love. In doing Krav Maga, I have found a passion I didn't know I had. It has also given me confidence in who I am. And, as an added is helping to get me in shape. While I work on my body, by eating better (okay, I need to work harder on that one) and being active, I am also working on loving the me I am now. 

Thank you for stopping by my post. I'd love to hear from you. Comment to the men, comment to me, comment to other women, just know that your comment could help someone. A small comment can be a powerful tool. One little tweet started these blog posts. Less than 140 characters that touched some of my women followers and spurred me to create this 5 post series. I can't even find the tweet anymore, but I remember I was out shopping for new clothes and tweeted "I love my body". That's it. But the responses I got...blew me away. Women who were shocked. Women who were envious. This led me to start tweeting positive comments to other women.

Spread the word. Spread the message. How we view ourselves doesn't just affect other affects our children. As a mother of two young girls, I vow to work at viewing myself in a better light so that they won't grow up and loathe their bodies. Seeing what our parents obsess over or what our parents affects us. It affects them. And I am going to do my best to ensure they have a healthy body image.

Thank you.


  1. Thank you for these posts, Kyla. You know, when I look in the mirror now I'm not as critical :). I'm me, and I'm happy with that - it only took 38 years. Here's to the next 38 as a confident, content woman.

  2. Ky, I am so snottin' proud of you for doing this series of posts. And I'm honored more than you know that I got to take part. I think body image is a constant struggle for most women and knowing that we're not alone in the 'who is that chick in the mirror' mentality helps.

  3. Thank you Janice and Louise. I'm proud to have done these posts, proud to know people like you, as well as the other men and women who helped me realize the full potential of these mini-posts. I don't have all the answers. I still struggle, but if I can just help one person, it was worth it.

  4. Informative ideas , I was enlightened by the info ! Does someone know if I can find a blank VA 10-10EZ example to use ?

    1. Hi Adrian, my work colleague edited a blank a form example at this place and



A Bakin' up Blogs Design Copyright © 2011 The Blog Bakery

Header Image inspired by Fallen Angel's Pain Vol.1 by Frozen Flame