I was quite interested to see that the new show "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" had a woman on the other night that was actually a person I could relate to. How so, you say? She was a larger woman. She'd lost something like 150 lbs. and looked amazing, but yes, she was still larger than most of the people you see on TV.* On the street, however, she was probably closer to the norm than the images we see in the media, movies and television. Especially when it comes to style and fashion. For some reason the term "forgotten woman" has become a tag for these women. I think Lane Bryant may even have taken it as a new brand name. I noticed Tim Gunn referred to this woman in the same way once.
I used to be skinny. Unbelievably skinny. All my life I was tall for my age and be it the stresses I lived under or just genetics, I was thin. I ate pretty much anything and everything – having a good appetite for most foods – but to be honest I was pretty active, too. Although I was never in any sports (can you say, klutz?) I walked everywhere and did a lot of physical labor around the house (understatement). As a teen I was the perfect geek. Think Ally Sheedy in "The Breakfast Club" and add glasses and zits (I didn't have braces, how I lucked out on those I will never know) and you have a pretty good picture of me. As I got older I finally got contacts and the zits got better but I had such a poor self-image that I couldn't see that I was actually improving and, dare I say, pretty.
After a couple of kids, I gained some weight but even then I didn't weigh what I should have weighed for my height. I went through the divorce dance and ended up back at my high school weight again when I met my current husband. I had his encouragement. He thought I was beautiful, but of course I couldn't see it. I was so self-concious that for the first few months we knew each other I wouldn't let him see me in my glasses or without makeup – of course he did, but I tried to keep it to a minimum. With more children came more weight and with happiness came a contentment with my body that led me to ignore what weight I was putting on.
At an all time high I finally realized something had to happen. I'd begun working as a manager at a large women's clothing store and had a wide range of lovely clothes to chose from – as well as a lot of really hideous stuff. (Let's be honest.) But I found when I saw pictures of myself in those clothes they really made me look old. Lots older than I was. I finally was becoming aware that I wasn't happy with my look.
Several diets later and many years later and I've done my share of ups and downs. I've never gotten down to what I was when I met my husband, but then, that really was too thin. I'm know I'm heavier than I should be, but I'm not as heavy as I was, and I've accepted I'm probably never going to be a skinny minnie. Ever again. However, in watching this program it came to me that just because I'm not doesn't mean I can't be pretty and sexy and proud of myself. (How many of you are saying, DUH? Okay, I'm a bit slow…) To his credit, my husband has always made me feel loved no matter how I look – even when I'm having a blechy day and haven't showered or brushed my teeth and have the worst bed-head on the planet, he'll still give me a hug and a kiss and tell me he loves me. No, he's not deaf, dumb and blind. He's just good that way.
The rant. (You were wondering when it was coming…?) One other thing that bothers me about these style and makeover shows is I notice everyone that has poor eyesight and must wear glasses is either put into contacts or given surgery to correct their vision. I want, just once, for them to do all those wonderful things to some lovely woman and do it WITH the glasses. Some of us can't have the surgery or wear the contacts and I think it would be nice of them to acknowledge that. Would that be so bad? I mean, really… they are making an attempt at doing makeovers now for a more 'normal' sized woman. Can't we do the same for the vision impaired? (Maybe they have and I've just missed it. I don't watch every single show on the planet, so if I missed this actually happening I'd appreciate hearing about it. In which case I'll do a Gilda Radner and just say, "nevermind"…)
So… when you look in the mirror, do you think you're pretty? (Yes, guys, that can include you – only we'll call it handsome, 'kay? Happy?)
* I want to point out that I've had this ready to post for a few days but got side-tracked with all the other things going on. However, Sizzle had a wonderful post yesterday that addressed some of these issues and I so agree with everything she said as well. Please check out her post.