Preoccupation with our waistlines is nothing new for women. As I slipped into my jeans and loose-fitting shirt, I thought about the unfortunate women of the Victorian era who were forced to wear corsets to keep their tiny waists. Eating more than a sliver of pumpkin pie would have probably made it impossible to breathe. In fact, all their organs were crushed and deformed as a result of the wretched contraption.
However, you have to admit, the women did look beautiful with their sweeping full skirts and decorative sleeves. Women of the Victorian era were undeniably feminine. And while a part of me would love to feel like Vivian Leigh in "Gone with the Wind," I'd probably not last more than thirty minutes in a corset, layers of petticoats, and a long full skirt. Just thinking about such restrictive garments makes me feel claustrophobic.
Don't get me wrong. It's good to eat more fruit and less chocolate, and to make regular exercise a lifestyle choice. But somehow as women, we need to learn to accept ourselves. To search for a different concept of beauty which any one of us can achieve. I wish I knew how to instill confidence in my teenage daughter, to teach her not to compare herself to others and to the cultural expectations around us. I wish I knew how to do this myself.