self-image

I’m No Angel, But Is Plus Equal?

I’m sure by now you’ve all seen the Lane Bryant ad circulating on social media.

#ImNoAngel

#PlusIsEqual

And while the message of plus acceptance is something I have rallied behind for the past decade, this morning I had a hard time associating myself as one of these women.

I watch the glamazons in the Plus Is Equal campaign and admire both their bravery and beauty as they strut their stuff in national ad campaign for the largest plus-size retailer, Lane Bryant. They are each gorgeous, flawless and idols to women of a larger size like myself.

So this morning when my boyfriend complimented my body, I had a knee-jerk reaction of shrugging him off. It’s especially fitting since today I’m dressed from head to toe in Lane Bryant fashion items. From my bra and boyshorts by Cacique to my Lane Bryant-branded pencil skirt, tank and half-sleeve jacket, I’m a walking billboard. Today, I’m feeling casually elegant, super confident and a bit naughty.

So why shrug him off?

Good question.

Why is it so hard for me to take a compliment?

I’m sure all women have this issue. We become obsessed by parts of our body that we don’t feel are adequate enough, and we project all our negativity toward ourselves. For me, size has always been my concern. I target hate toward my arms and my stomach. So I was instantaneously forced to look and ask myself why I couldn’t see my own body in the same light that I saw the “Plus Is Equal” campaign woman.

For all we want to post on social media about self-acceptance, it’s easy to fall back into centuries old body shaming practices. We’ve been raised to sit up straight, project our chest, whittle down our waists, plump our lips, shave our unwanted hair, grown our head hair long and luxurious, wear heels to elongate our legs…and blah, blah, blah. There are so many expectations on our appearance that it’s easy to fall into self-sabotage comparing ourselves to these widely accepted, often contradicting, standards.

No matter how many memes we post, no matter how many compliments we get, no matter what our level of self-confidence seems to be…the one thing we can count on is that ALL women harbor the same kinds of doubts about themselves. It’s an unspoken rule.

So what are the rules to accepting ourselves with so many lingering self-doubts?

According to NEMA (National Eating Disorders Association), there are 10 tips for body acceptance.

  1. Appreciate all that your body can do.  Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams.  Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you—running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc.
  2. Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself—things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like.  Read your list often.  Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about yourself.
  3. Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin deep.  When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you physically look like a supermodel.  Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
  4. Look at yourself as a whole person.  When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts.  See yourself as you want others to see you–as a whole person.
  5. Surround yourself with positive people.  It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are.
  6. Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person.  You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones.  The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.
  7. Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body.  Work with your body, not against it.
  8. Become a critical viewer of social and media messages.  Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body.  Protest these messages:  write a letter to the advertiser or talk back to the image or message
  9. Do something nice for yourself–something that lets your body know you appreciate it.  Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, find a peaceful place outside to relax.
  10. Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others.  Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world.

And while these all seem well and good, they are each a monsoon of emotional baggage for most women. Today I battled with #4 but any given day…

Which of these do you battle with most on a daily basis?

Sometimes, We Men Need to Up Our Game

by Johnny Jackhammer

Gentlemen, there may come a time when you need to pick up your sexiness. That’s right.  I said it. Maybe it’s a wedding or a class reunion. Perhaps it’s a local tavern or a dance club. Or maybe you just want to stand out from the crowd when some feature dancer visits the local strip club. Guys have a tough time because all the sexy clothes are made for women. Skeptical? Check out your Halloween Outlet each October. For the ladies, there is no shortage of sexy nurses, sexy cavewomen, sexy cats, sexy bunnies, sexy vampires, or sexy sex pots.
_ml_p2p_pc_badge_taller1 bunny shopping

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the guys, you have your pick of clown wigs, mustard bottle suits, or Freddy masks. (Note for the future: be sure to write about clown sex. But I digress . . . )


ketchup clown Freddie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We, Men, can feel like we are at a disadvantage.  Those of us with partners have “outkicked our coverage,” and we know it.  Those of us who are single can feel that like an outsider or a pretender.

Just like good ole, JT…

JT

We need to bring the sexy.

There was a thread started on a community board asking what guys can wear to fetish events, noting that “kinky attire for men seems so silly.” In reality, ladies deck out in spandex and lingerie, and guys are stuck with jeans and t-shirts. I have been to enough such events to see how this is true. But we don’t want it to be that way! We want to be part of the fun and interaction. We want to match the ladies and maybe even turn a few of their heads.

Your own confidence is the foundation: Confidence that you have something to bring to the table. Be secure in yourself. This is especially important if you choose a style of attire that’s out of your comfort zone. Just remember: this is for a fun night out, not a major lifestyle statement!

One night, my wife and I were about to go out to a social event in the kink community. We didn’t have any plans. We just wanted to socialize and see what was happening. Even so, I panicked about how hot she was dressed while I had nothing to wear. She looked me in the eye and told me to just wear my confidence and strength. The clothes didn’t matter.

It was good advice but…I still went shopping.

Here are a few things I learned:

The Basics

In a pinch, just go back to the classic formal wear. A crisp white shirt is always a winner, and you can pull that off with anything from jeans to tuxedo pants. If you have a vest (suit or leather), that’s a good way to finish it. You’ll look clean, and your lady will appreciate the effort. I’d leave any sportcoat behind. Why start sweating without a good reason yet?

Picking It Up

Taking a cue from my lady, I started checking out the local thrift store. You might be surprised what you can find there. When seeking sexy club clothes, make sure to look at button-up shirts – this might work in your favor later in the evening!

Black is an easy and plentiful choice, no matter what size you are. Something loud and colorful might be a good choice, if you want to get noticed as being fun. Look for shirts that you can imagine at a disco – shiny fabrics, loose fit.

If you go with a t-shirt style, try and get something that’s more on the form-fitting side. Both of these choices portray a fun, confident attitude.

Image

Attending Edgier Events

Leather and studs always look sharp, but that betrays my metalhead origins as a Judas Priest fan.

Even so, a studded leather belt and vest with some jeans will make an impression. (Now if I could only find a doctor to sell me prescription mirror shades…)

If you’re going to a fetish event, themed holiday party, or swinger party, you could always make a statement by reaching for pajama pants and robes. Hell, it worked for Hef; didn’t it?

Image

Pictured are a couple of silky lounge pants I picked up at the Goodwill (as well as some dress pants from a major box retailer).  The robe above is a vintage bathrobe I found on Etsy.

They have been comfortable and generate compliments. Bonus! (Don’t brag to the ladies, though. Trust me, they aren’t wearing anything comfortable!)

Image

Big Guys

I have several friends who are larger, but still have a great time getting out and sexy.   And I’m not talking about pals with a beer gut – I mean guys who can’t successfully clothes shop at the mall. One “go to” item for them is a Kilt.

kilt

Yes, they can be expensive, but a good kilt will last you a lifetime. Leather kilts, in particular, can be sexy and dangerous and fun.

Plus, you are guaranteed to have ladies ask you what’s under that kilt. Flirt back! If you have some extra girth, I hope you’re able to make it count. You really can’t hide your size, but how you carry it confidently, can make all the difference.

A white dress shirt with a smoking jacket can also make a powerful impression.

Finding YOUR OWN Style

Where to go for inspiration? Think about what the women who catch your eye really like. What do they “ooh” and “ahh” about? What turns their head?

Well, in my universe, the women who are most in touch with their sexuality love Gay Porn. My research did not include watching gay porn (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but it did include looking at club, dating, and fetish styles of gay men.

There’s an old joke about a woman being attracted to men who always turn out to be gay. Well, you could be the one to delight her for a change! You won’t find me waxing my chest or anything, but I just might ask them where they got those leather pants . . .