herald

Monday 18 December 2017

'Flat tummies don't exist in real world'

And when did the holy grail of the flat tummy begin?
And when did the holy grail of the flat tummy begin?

Hands up who's perfect? Nope, not a single one of us. So it's unsurprising that findings from the Herald Female Body Image Survey have indicated that there is an aspect of each of the respondents' bodies that they dislike to varying degrees.

Most of us are the same - men and women alike each have a part of their body they're not ecstatic about. What is shockingly surprising is that an overwhelming 73pc of women surveyed disliked their tummy. That's a massive figure and explains why Spanx and other 'figure fixing' garments are big business - Spanx founder Sara Blakely (inset) was named the world's youngest self-made female billionaire by Forbes magazine and one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in 2012.

'Tummy control technology' can be found in all sorts of items of clothing now, from knickers, vests and slips to swimsuits, jeans and tops.

As I type, my tummy is round, a little fleshy and protruding slightly over my thighs. And I love it. However, if I wasn't 16 weeks pregnant with my second baba I doubt I'd be loving my tummy in all it's protruding glory quite so much.

Unfortunately, society is bombarded with images of the female form that is far from real and natural.

From big pert boobs to size zero waistlines, all of which are represented by a tiny minority of the world's population - famous women. And largely Photoshopped famous women at that.

How did this minute sector of females become the 'norm' for women's bodies everywhere?

FLAWS

And when did the holy grail of the flat tummy begin? I've no doubt that these images of 'perfect' flat-tummied women found in magazines, music videos and movies have lead, nay fooled, logical women, like myself, to think that anything other than a flat or concave tummy is abnormal.

Here's the thing, ladies, anatomically speaking, our tummies are not meant to be flat. Women not only hold their digestive organs around their tummy region (stomach, liver, intestines etc.) but also their reproductive organs, including their ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.

And all these vital bodily organs need to be protected so extra padding around the stomach is required too.

Notice how around two weeks of each month, just before your period, your tummy will swell out a little?

This is caused by your uterus, that wonderous female organ, moving upwards in preparation for making a baby.

It's no coincidence that many women feel at their most womanly and sexy during pregnancy, sticking their bellies out proudly and wearing figure-hugging dresses that accentuate their growing tummies.

It's one short period during their lives that they are generally accepted by society in all their voluptuous glory without worrying about less than tight abs.

If only we felt this same pride during ovulation each month instead of feeling miserable that our swollen tums don't fit into any of our clothes, not designed to accommodate bellies.

Let's be realistic about our tummies, and our body image in general, and be grateful for our bodies' sheer brilliance rather than trying to achieve an image of perfection that doesn't exist outside of Tinseltown.

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