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April 16,2021

LADIES: Appearance is everything…

Mindset

It was just a typical day. The morning sun shone through the windows onto the beams of sweat trickling down countless bodies mid-workout. The room was filled with the usual sounds of pop music, weights chinking and gym chatter. I found myself mindlessly staring past the entrance while procrastinating my own training, interrupted only by the casual greetings of eager, sweat free members on their way in; a stark contrast to those leaving with sweat trails like Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs.

It was just a typical day.

“I wish I could get rid of this”, I heard a woman behind me declare. My ears pricked up.
“Oh, you should get botox for that. I get it done all the time”. This time, I turned around – now paying close attention.
“I hate my wrinkles here”, remarked the first woman, pointing in the general direction of her face. Both the second woman and a third friend nodded in silent agreement.

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It was just a typical day.

Taken aback, I wandered into the bathroom, uneasy with how casually these women had made such remarks. Still attempting to process it all, I spot a young woman in the change room, no older than 20, methodically removing some sort of waist trainer from beneath her workout clothes. She seemed unfazed by the process, as if this was the most normal thing in the world. To me, this couldn’t have been further from the truth and I became overwhelmed by a deep sadness.

It was just a typical day.

A little background on waist trainers. These devices, designed to be hidden under clothing will no doubt make you look smaller. They’re marketed using statements such as “expected reduction up to 7 inches with tight lacing” and “spiral steel boned”. Not only will they cinch your waist, they’ll undeniably relocate your internal organs, press into your diaphragm and decrease the control of your pelvic floor. In other words, they’ll strangle your organs, hinder your breathing and restrict movement all whilst assisting you to pee yourself right in the middle of the gym floor.

In a nutshell, waist trainers suck. 

In a nutshell, waist trainers suck.

Now don’t get me wrong. In no way, do I intend to belittle the young lady who wore this, nor am I going after women who choose to get botox. I am neither mad, nor angry at these women. What I am, is upset. Scrap that. I’m completely disheartened.

It was just a typical day.

Situations like these happen over and over again and it feels like we are all puppets attached to strings, being led in directions we have not chosen. While we can all slip up from time to time; getting caught up wishing we looked like the latest Instagram model, we all ultimately have a choice.

(Check out this beautiful, raw + authentic woman on Instagram – @saggysara)

(Check out this beautiful, raw + authentic woman on Instagram – @saggysara)

A choice to make a typical day one where our female athletes are epitomised for the capabilities of their bodies, rather than criticised for their cellulite.

A choice to make a typical day one in which women are judged on their values, not their clothes size.

A choice to make a typical day one where women call each other out for hating their own bodies instead of agreeing that their imperfections need to be rectified, as if they were somehow broken.

Until we know a typical day to be one whereby women are empowering on another to be better humans, who judge each other based on character, not stretch marks, we are not there yet.

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Day in, day out, we make the choices that seal our own fate. These daily choices start small ripples which become waves and those waves create the tsunami and when that tsunami crashes, we will no longer be able to be ignored and our appearances will no longer the most important thing we as women judge ourselves on.

I will not sit on the sidelines waiting for my turn. I will do everything that I can to stand up for what I believe, everything in my power to combat this unsettling trend. Though this cannot be something I do alone. I need your support. So I urge you to have these conversations too.

Be fearless. 

Be willing to rock the boat. 

Reject the notion that as women, our appearance is everything.

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We, as women, are so much more than that and frankly, I’m sick of sitting back and allowing the tide to steer me and our future generations towards this toxic, aesthetically centred world. With enough resistance, WE CAN change the sails of our future.

So have these conversations. Have them with your daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers and aunts, but also have them with the men in your life. This isn’t exclusively a female issue, and acknowledging men also struggle with the pressures of appearance needs to be part of the conversation.

I do not believe that a typical day today has to be a typical day tomorrow.

I believe in humanity, our power as women, and most of all, I believe in you.

Let’s create a NEW typical day together.

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