July 26th, 2011


Observations of a real woman

I spent last weekend in Vegas, and per our usual thing, my husband and I saw a few shows. One of them was a topless review. We've seen a few of them, some afternoon comedy, some late evening in varying degrees of hard core. I've liked some more than others, but from this one I came away with one big thought.

If I ever have a daughter, I want to take her to this as an early teen.

Now I'm sure I can hear a plethora of gasps of shock and horror. And on a level you're right. Even this show had a number of highly sexualized moments, and all the women were basically nude for most of the show. But that's exactly what a young girl needs to see. Real women. All of them. With no airbrushing.

These women were thin, way thinner than I'll ever be. But they weren't model anorexic. You couldn't count their ribs from the fifth row. Some of them had silicon implants, but you could tell which because the others had skinny girl breasts. In other words, they vanished when the tops came off, like breasts should. When the women moved, their skin wrinkled and folded, and you could see the way the muscle and skin worked over all angles of the joints, including the hips and butt.

For an hour and a half, I watched women dance and smile, confident in themselves and their sexuality. They were having fun, playing with the audience and each other. And they were real. There's no airbrushing on a Vegas stage, and the lights aren't always rigged to hide and disorient. Sometimes they're there to show all. And in an age where women are told by TV, movies, and magazines that they should be perfect, absurdly skinny, big breasted, and anatomically impossible, when we are ordered to flaunt ourselves even as we are condemned for doing so, then seeing real women bend and wrinkle is something all girls could use.

I'm not saying it's a perfect solution, or that I was perfectly comfortable with the whole show. But at the same time, as a woman who has struggled with her body image her whole life, I wish I'd seen something like that when I was younger, that I'd had a chance to see what women really look like.
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