Guest Post: We don’t have “problem areas”

February 27 – March 3 is Body Image Warrior Week. Throughout the course of this week, you’ll read posts from an inspiring group of women who fight hard against body image oppression through their own words and work.

I am honored to introduce you to Patti of Not Dead Yet Style.  Patti’s work is also new to me with BIWW and when I read this bio, I knew I’d dig what she had to say:  I am a fifty-something woman, wife, professional, auntie and crazy cat lady. Though pressured by society to recede gracefully, I prefer to burst out with a love of fashion and style. We are not dead yet, so let’s enjoy every sandwich and gild the lilies.
Here’s a burst of wisdom  from Patti:

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Oh boy, this is a pet peeve. I hear it mostly on the home shopping channels (gulp, if I ever, um, happen to have the TV tuned to one of them while I am, errr, polishing up an article for the New York Times). The cheery host or model points to the latest tunic top (two easy payments!) and delivers the good news: it covers all those problem areas!

I know they mean our midriffs, in this case. Other garments mercifully cover over our problem hips, “derrieres”, thighs and upper arms. Sometimes the salespeople make little unhappy faces as they mention the offending body region, or they smile ruefully and pat their own (perfectly nice) hips.

Of course, I don’t want to expose all my body secrets to the waking public. What a world it would be. I like to drape garments over my body to make a pleasing line. Because I have a relatively small waist, I like to wear clothes with waists, and/or I add a belt. I don’t wear clothing that clutches on to my hips and thighs because it’s 1) uncomfortable and 2) unprofessional in my workplace.

My thighs are not a “problem” however! Sometimes my finances are a problem, my cat having allergies can be a problem, and new construction making me late for work is a  . . problem. My pale, slightly dimpled thighs are just mine. My upper arms have lost a bit of their struggle vs. gravity but they are not a problem. They are  . . . interesting. I choose to show them or not, and for work I choose not.

I rarely hear any garments for men, of any size or shape, touted as covering up their troublesome bits. “This polo shirt will not cling to that problem tummy, guys, so grab two!”

We want to dress to look better, or we wouldn’t be reading and posting on fashion blogs. It’s natural to want to look good, we’re built that way. Do I sound grumpy? I’m not. I am a happy woman who objects to the problem-ification of my body parts. Does that mean I have a . . . problem?

Patti is a 50-something blogger and mental health professional from Central Florida.  Her blog celebrates the over-40 woman; visit her at Not Dead Yet Style, and follow her on Twitter @PattiNotDeadYet.


Eager to learn more about who is participating in Body Image Warrior Week?  Check out this list of participants.

Body Image Warrior Week was created in support of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  Learn more so that you can support yourself and loved ones.

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