Body image within societies “ideals” of what beauty and strength “is”.


This afternoon I decided to leave my home and yard, and venture down the street with cane in one hand and Sedonas leash in the other.

At her incredible age of 12, she is much slower these days.. and seems to have given up the need for excessive tugging and stopping abruptly to sniff EVERYTHING.   As we approached the shoreline at low tide, the salty smell of the sea danced at my nose.. and my eyes opened with wonderment at the blue waters adorned with bright green seaweed and kelp.. then my eyes focus in on.. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”.. A woman in a string bikini, and I mean a string bikini, with a cowboy hat.. posing in ways that I felt glad my dog was blind.. At first I took the entire photo shoot personally- “How dare this woman with an incredible body flaunt herself and make me feel like crap”- Wow Colleen, pull your head out of your butt.

Her partner smiled ear to ear turning his camera in every direction, clicking photos and telling her “move your hair to the left, the right, now arch your back, spread your legs more, shake your hair”.  Good God.

Of course, I was immediately reminded of my dear friend from youth group that is now a fitness model and her husband often photographs her.. she is stunning and strong.. yet, I could not help feeling frustrated at this site while little girls ran up and down the shoreline with sand covered butts, and crazy salty hair-do’s “You know what Im talking about”.

Watching these little girls stare at this woman, was a moment of sadness, frustration, curiosity, and desire to want to write a paper.. or interview them for some research..

Tiny hands held their barbie dolls coated in sand.  They looked curiously at the woman straddling each wave and flaunting herself at the camera.

What were they thinking?

I know what I was thinking. I thought back to my days playing with Barbie dolls.. and how fascinated I was that they had such tiny waists, huge boobs, and lots of flowy hair. Their bodies were unscathed, and typically tan.  Better still, the barbie has a permanent arch in her foot so she ALWAYS wore heals.. Her teeth were a perfect brush stroke of white, and her eyes sparkled with permanent make-up..Did I mention she was skinny? Very.  She also failed to have any muscles.


Amazingly enough, I always had a great body.  Even more amazing was that I have always had body issues.  I have never been overweight, and I have always been active.. too active, as a kid I could never sit still.  Where do body issues stem from? What classifies true beauty?  This woman clearly thought she was beautiful, (or maybe she was insecure and seeking compliments) because she was posing quite unabashedly for all to see.  With each step I took along side my goofy, happy pup I looked down upon my leg.. I looked down upon my deformed hip.. my swollen and scarred stomach.  I traced my hand back alongside my hip to feel my butt (oh, stop it now.. you’ve felt your butt also), and felt the hard scar masses.  I am no longer societies view of “beauty”.   

I sure as hell have some strength though.  I snapped out of my own pity party and heard steps behind me.  There she was, all greased up and glowing.. white teeth, dyed hair, and most likely fully waxed… “gulp”.  She pleasantly said hello and walked past me to pose on the rocks.  The little girls were sitting with their legs out, water lapping at their beings.. making their barbies model..”ugh”.  Just like that.

Is that a bad thing? Does it need to be?

I leave this un-ended blog with two things:

1- I will never walk to the beach without my camera again

2- I think I need to do a modeling shoot.. Imagine our photos side by side..


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