When it comes to body confidence we think it’s safe to say that most women are veterans of the struggle! Very few of us admit to being pleased with our body image and if you’re one of the few that are, a massive pat on the back to you, you’re a rarity!
In recent years, attitudes to body confidence and body image have been changing. It’s a wonderful thing to see much more light being shed on body positivity and loving yourself, as demonstrated by the amazing Grace Victory who we interviewed earlier this year! However, ladies of Generation X and the Baby Boomers have seen a lot more change around the subject than most, living through the obsession over being size zero or the desire to have an hour glass figure. When it comes to actually talking about topics like body confidence, many of us shy away from it however we recently had the privilege of speaking to some beautiful, mature women who were very honest in telling us their own views. We asked them if they were more confident in their birthday suit in their twenties or now. They told us the Naked Truth.
Here’s what they said:
“To be honest, I struggle sometimes with my body image because at 20 I had a flat tummy even though I’d had my daughter already. But I guess over the years and having two more children, my body has drastically changed. I struggled with my body image for some time and that lowered my self-esteem; I didn’t feel happy, didn’t feel pretty, didn’t feel accepted and never wanted even my partner to see me naked. But now I’m starting to see me for who I am and I’m starting to love my body. So, if I have a fat tummy, a flat tummy, big legs, small legs, I’m happy being who I am now. Now that I’m learning to love myself it shows a lot in the way I dress; I’m much more confident now, I walk with my head held high. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me because I’m learning to love me.”
“I hate my body! [Did you prefer it back then?] Never! ‘Cos I’ve never had the perfect body, I’d like my body to be like my sister’s – curvy. I still haven’t got the things I want in the places I want but I’m a strong black woman with problems with her body!’
“Oh gosh, so much better. I like my body much better now than I have ever liked it before. I’m just more confident in who I am and what I see in the mirror – I’m happy with it.”
“I was alright in my twenties; trim and pert because I was an athlete so everything was alright, I’m 55 now and middle-aged spread has set in, I’m okay it’s just the tummy. I think I’m menopausal so the middle section doesn’t seem to budge and the boobs have dropped down to the waistline. But I think I’m okay to be honest because I’ve had so many compliments and I think ‘ehh?’ I didn’t realise that what I was seeing in the mirror is not what other people are seeing. But I am losing my pert-ness! But it’s nature, there’s nothing you can do, just exercise and diet.”
“I think it’s pretty much the same. I mean I’ve got stretch marks and a belly from the kids. I’m pretty much happier now to be honest, can’t complain. I’ve always been slim but my weight goes up and down, sometimes I’m a bit more bloated than normal and sometimes it gets on my nerves but I don’t let it consume me. It is what it is. I’m blessed to have stretch marks and a belly!”
Marie, early 40s
“I feel horrified! It’s not a good sight. There’s two ways I can look at it and say; ‘Well you’re not as young as you used to be and things are going in the right direction.’ Or I could look at it and say; ‘I prefer to look like how I looked at 28’. Children, lifestyle and being a bit lazy to exercise – I think all of that makes a difference. But that’s my opinion on what I see, someone else may not agree with me but I’m in charge of my body!”
“I’m horrified! I was talking about this the other day, actually. On my phone, all of a sudden from iCloud hundreds of pictures appeared that I hadn’t seen in years from previous phones, pictures from 10 years ago. As I was looking through them, even from 10 years ago I can see the decline! I am at my most disappointing, I must say. I’d be quite happy to go back to my 20s again. [Is there anything that caused that decline?] Overeating and age has a lot to do with it, and I have an illness so I think that must have something to do with it, with the medication as well. I think everyone will be like “Oh my God!” (When asked the question) Or some people might feel better, I know some people are fitness fanatics, I mean my sister looks better now than she ever did, trains all the time, fitter than she ever was, so she might feel better now than how she did.”
“Well as we get older our body changes, but for me I’m very proud of how I look for my age, knowing what I’ve been through. Because I’m still flexible, still working, I do my jogs and stuff like that, my exercises to keep my body fit. I’m happy with how I am, how I was created, because as a proud black woman I think I’m well created.”
“I’m definitely more confident now. I know I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I’ve never been a skinny girl, you know, always been a plus size, but I’m happy. Life’s good!”
“I was less confident in my early twenties and definitely more confident now. I was a lot more overweight in my early twenties and lost a lot of weight at 23/24 and that did a lot for my confidence. I also got a breast reduction which also helped. As I’ve grown older, I feel a lot more confident in my skin and I’ve realised I definitely always felt beautiful but I didn’t think that other people thought that. So, for me, when I say confidence, I think it’s about the perception I thought other people had of me and now I’m more grown, more mature, I don’t care! Or I feel like other types of beauty are more widely accepted. It was a different kind of beautiful when I was growing up and that’s not the case now.”