At what age do we women get to stop looking at ourselves through Hugh Hefner's eyes? When do we get to stop treating our bodies like sex objects?
When we damn well choose to, that's when.
I have a dear freind who just turned 60. She has crystal blue eyes, curly red hair, a heart-melting smile - and she looks like crap in a bikini. (As do I).
As far as she's concerned, the eyes, the smile, the curly red hair - the fact that she lights up a room when she enters -none of that matters. All that matters is her lack of ability to enter and win a wet t-shirt contest. Therefore, she concludes, she is ugly.
In our culture today, we seem to have allowed the porn industry to define female beauty for us. According to them, beauty is all about inspiring strangers to get erections.
But is fuckability the only true measure of beauty?
I thought my grandmother was a beautiful woman. Actually - I know she was a beautiful woman. I remember the day I chose to name my only child after her: she was eighty-two years old, visiting her forty-three year old son in a nursing home (a horrible accident left him brain-dead). But she didn't just visit him. She also brought gifts and smiles and attention to the other residents of that nursing home. Every one she touched could see how beautiful she was. I doubt any of the people whose hand she held thought, "Gross. Who'd wanna fuck her?"
I know what you're thinking - my grandmother had spiritual beauty, not necessarily physical beauty.
But how have we come to separate the two? They are not separate.
My grandmother's laugh lines, her arthritic hands, her dowager's hump, her aged and tender skin-all of that was beautiful to me. Her body was beautiful because she lived in it. Your body is beautiful because you live in it.
When we separate a body from its spirit, we turn that body into a corpse.
How many of us do that to ourselves? How many of us see a soulless corpse when we look in the mirror and sneer at our breasts and thighs and bellies?
It's up to us middle-aged and older women to take the lead. We need to stop auditioning for PlayBoy, and start telling younger women the truth. And we all know what the truth is.
Being a sexy young woman in this culture is like starting out as president of the company and ending up as the janitor. And you will end up as the janitor.That's a promise. Why not save yourself some grief and refuse to take the job in the first place? Get a job that provides some opportunity for advancment, rather than one that guarantees annual demotions.
Let's stop treating our bodies as sex objects, and start embracing ourselves as sexual subjects. Only then will we have a shot at genuine Beauty.