Ladies, Strut Your Stuff!

I recently joined a gym. It’s one of those fancy, smchmancy, offer everything kind of gyms  that is absolutely huge. This includes the locker rooms which are enormous with formidable size lockers, showers, steam, sauna, hair dryers, towels, etc. But I noticed the oddest thing today. At the end of each row of lockers is a little changing room with a door. At first, I didn’t even know it was there until someone came walking out and my curiosity had me peering into this little niche in the corner.  So it got me thinking. Someone could really do a fascinating study about women and their bodies from the depths of these ‘behind the curtain’ places.

Now, I’ve never been a skinny minny, but I also haven’t been shy about my body. Maybe that’s instilled self-esteem from my parents (high five to the folks!). When you are in a locker room, you change, shower, put on some lotion, apply the make-up, fix the hair, etc. and at times this can mean being naked or walking around naked or showing some nakedness. There is a wide range of approaches to nakedness in a women’s locker room. You have the women who seem to be so shy that they take their full set of clothes to the toilets or these little changing rooms to change. Don’t want to show a lick of skin. (These are also the same women who appear totally clothed – shoes and all – in the steam and sauna rooms. It’s a little shocking.) Or you have the women who try to change completely under a towel. Which honestly, I think is a bit ridiculous when you have these tiny little bath towels. (OK, well maybe not so small for the skinny girls, but I think it looks funny anyway). There are the women who just turn away and face their breasts to the nearest wall as they quickly shift clothing. God forbid, anyone gets a glimpse of the knockers. Then you have the half-naked chicks who will walk around with a towel around their waist; adopting the male technique. Finally, there are the full nudists who will walk to and fro, naked as a jaybird with no concern.

Personally, I don’t mind the nudity. Every woman’s body is different and I think you should take pride in what you have. Granted there is a place and time for nudity in the outside world, but why do women feel it’s necessary to hide their bodies in the confines of a changing area from other women? And what drives this behavior? Yeah, yeah, I know — culture, societal expectations, your family environment, peers, self-esteem, prudishness. But I say to hell with that! No matter your size, in the privacy of a women’s locker room you should not feel the need to run and hide. I watched a young girl about 12-13 years as she was furtively glancing around and seemed a bit shocked by the naked bodies in her immediate vicinity. Then she quickly grabbed her clothes and made a beeline for the toilets. And I thought, what are we teaching her? She clearly feels ashamed to show her body in front of other women or girls. I actually felt sorry for her, as I stood there in my underwear. But what has always really made me chuckle is watching those women who (in my opinion) have great physiques, are well-toned, with no obvious fat as they struggle to hide their bodies while trying to change covertly. I can’t help but think, what are they trying to hide, really? Someone going to stare at the goodies? Your va-jay-jay not up to snuff? Too much flab? If you look like that and can’t be proud…well, it’s time for a serious check up on your self-esteem. Because if I looked like that, I’d be strutting around naked all the time. Honestly! I could show them a roll or two….or three…that are probably better left covered up, but my mantra is what the hell? My body is my body. I certainly don’t love it all the time, but it’s what I’ve got to work with and I’m not going to be ashamed of it while changing in a locker room. Feel free to check me out sister!

I don’t think this something you grow into. I really think a lot of it comes down to how you were raised and the beliefs you were taught about yourself and your body, by your family. Don’t get me wrong – I have plenty of body issues that I could go on about for days, but I do think my parents were a bit free on the ‘being nude’ issue. Not that we ever walked around naked or anything, but there was never criticism about being naked, I saw them naked as a kid, and it wasn’t something that I was taught was a no-no or taboo. I hope I can do the same with my kids one day because I think it’s sad to be ashamed of your body. Be proud and strut your stuff! It’s all good.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl
    May 03, 2014 @ 00:36:48

    I saw someone on another website mention this article, and I remembered your post, and I thought you might like reading the article.
    http://www.utne.com/community/bathing-beauties.aspx

    Reply

  2. Trackback: The Supremacy of language, heaven, god, and society « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality
  3. emigratebc
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 00:02:19

    Excellent post. We recently moved to Canada from the UK, and I have noticed a much “healthier” attitude to nudity and fitness over here. Which is all to the good, as I have 3 daughters, and I really want them to be comfortable in their own skin and not try to live up to someone else’s standard.

    Reply

    • maggieat40
      Mar 28, 2012 @ 15:55:41

      Yeah, something about those Canadians – they certainly seem to know how to enjoy life and not sweat the small stuff. But I think your the best impact on your 3 daughters is your own role modeling! Thanks for sharing.

      Reply

  4. Trackback: Sunday Discussion: Body Image | Young's Blog
  5. Cheryl
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 23:45:00

    Great post!

    I’ve never understood why any woman would ever choose to go change clothes in a filthy toilet stall just to avoid other women catching a quick glimpse of them nude or in their underwear???

    I thank my middle school and high school for helping me to be comfortable with locker room nudity. My middle school required students to shower after gym class every day, and the locker rooms showers were open group showers. it took a little getting used to the first day or two of sixth grade, but after a couple of days we were all comfortable with it.

    When I started high school in the ninth grade our gym teacher told us that she would not make anyone shower if they didn’t want to, but that she strongly recommended that we do, and that we were all girls and there was nothing to be ashamed of. From what I recall, I think that all but a couple of the girls still chose to shower?

    I swim one night a week with a friend of mine at a local YMCA. The showers in the Y locker room are like we had in middle school and high school, open group-showers. My friend is a very fit woman with a great shape. But she was home schooled and never experienced gym class showers, and so she always showers in her swimsuit after our swims. I am able to comfortably shower in the nude after our swims, which is good because you can not wash off all of the chlorine if you keep your swimsuit on in the shower.

    Reply

    • maggieat40
      Mar 24, 2012 @ 17:28:10

      I know, right! I totally agree with you about your environment growing up having such an impact. I don’t remember having an open shower situation in school, but I do credit my parents with just being more free about the nudity issue. It wasn’t ever like we had to cover up or they appeared shocked if we saw them au-natural. It’s all about the nurture. A friend recently called me and said, ‘I didn’t know you strut your stuff in the gym.’ It’s not about strutting really, I told him, but why hid away? Strut what you have! Thanks for the comment!

      Reply

  6. knudsens
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 02:10:15

    I liked this post. And I totally agree, everyone should be proud of their body.

    Reply

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