Learn to Love Your Body

Got your attention? Good. But before you start spilling your morning coffee at the thought of a gaggle of strippers (gasp!) advocating the benefits of fake breasts, fake tan and barely-there spandex, let me assure you that this post is not nearly as sordid as you might think (sorry, fellas).

First, let’s discuss this ‘taking clothes off’ caper, by which I mean the art of striptease – A.K.A. Burlesque with a capital ‘B’. In my previous post on burlesque I spoke about the art form as a celebration of the variety of the physical form and how it teaches us to ‘own’ our perceived flaws and, well, rock ‘em out. And while it’s all very well and good to nod and agree with this sentiment, it’s often harder to know how, or where, to start.

So, in the spirit of practical application, I chatted with some of my favourite Australian burlesque artists and asked them for their number one failsafe tip on how to start cultivating positive body image on an everyday basis. Enjoy!

“Never compare yourself to other body types.” – Memphis Mae

We’ve spoken about this before, darling. Comparing yourself to other people sucks. Not only is it a surefire way to aggravate all the insecurities that you-ever-felt-ever, it’s also counterproductive and puts you in a competitive state of mind. Ignore those gremlins! I often like to finish my burlesque classes by going around the group and asking everyone to pay a genuine compliment to the girl standing next to them. Next time you’re out on a girl’s date, try it! You’ll be surprised to discover all the things about you that your girlfriends’ admire. Which leads me to…

“Focus on your assets and find ways to show them off.” – Briana Bluebell 

Just as everyone has something they’d like to change about their bodies, everyone also has something they love. It’s just that we often spend so much time and energy focusing ‘improving’ our appearance, we forget about the good stuff! Maybe it’s as simple as your eye colour, the curve of your collarbone, or your elegant hands. Whatever it is, start small and make a concerted effort to enhance your favourite ‘asset’ every single day. Perhaps that means experimenting with some new makeup techniques (hint: YouTube tutorials are your friend), or trying a new style of neckline. Just make a start. You’ll be glad you did.

“Confidence is sexier than any external accessory. Don’t be afraid to stand proud and show the world what makes you unique.”  – Silla Black

Think about it. When you learn to embrace your body in all its glory (including, as Silla says, those little wrinkles, bulges or bumps that only younotice), your confidence begins to soar. Why? It’s called self-acceptance honey, and it’s the first step to a more confident, happier you. Some of the most powerful, stunning women I know wouldn’t be considered ‘classically beautiful’ but what they DO have is a huge amount of charisma and chutzpah. And believe me, that’s some head-turning stuff right there. Be bold. Let your personality and energy be the thing that makes you standout from the rest. It will make you so much more interesting and memorable than a ‘pretty’ face or nice set of pins ever will.

“Stop chasing perfection. Instead, focus on being happy and healthy.” – Frankie Faux

Newsflash: perfection doesn’t exist. Frankie says the best thing she ever did to put her body image back in order was to stop holding up the edited and digitally perfected images of the media as a ‘benchmark’ of beauty. Truth be told, these images are designed to make us feel insecure. Insecurity = spending money of products we don’t need. Simple. Now I’m not telling you to not buy shoes (I’d be the last person to talk) but be aware that you’re not going to find happiness through ‘things ‘or via attainment of ‘perfection’. Instead, shift that focus to being kind to yourself and your body – sleep, nutrition, exercise – all that good stuff. Any fool can buy a bag or get a shot of Botox. How many people can say they are truly happy and healthy?