• Michelle Zunter

What The Most Gorgeous Women I Know Hate — And Love — About Their Bodies


I asked some of the most beautiful women I know how they feel about their bodies.


I asked them to divulge what they have trouble accepting about their bodies (we all have something!) and also to tell me what they absolutely love about their bodies.


These are not women who are models or Instagram divas. They are all over 35. And they all have something in common.


They’ve lived, they’ve loved, they’ve traveled, and they’ve come to a place in their lives where they have a pretty grounded sense of self-esteem while also still battling those pesky old insecurities which we all suffer from at one time or another.


These are successful women. They are extraordinary. They are mothers, innovators, and leaders. But they still struggle with how they look to the world or even to themselves standing naked in front of a mirror.


The most common criticism my women friends have about their bodies at this age is the way their stomachs look after having children. It’s just a fact that our belly’s and bodies as a whole take a significant beating after carrying a human life inside of it, experiencing it stretching out to almost unbelievable proportions and then pushing out that child — or having a C-Section which will also leave its own scar.


I think most women struggle with loving their stomachs. Wanting it to be flatter, tighter, and less flabby. However, every woman who doesn’t like the way her stomach looks recognizes that it has served a phenomenal purpose. To give, carry, and birth life. Those stretch marks, those folds, those ‘love handles’ — they all tell a story.


Another common negative mentioned is wrinkles. Wrinkles around the mouth. Wrinkles around the eyes. Wrinkles on the hands. This is an inevitable side-effect of aging once you pass the age of 30.


Lord knows how many anti-wrinkle products are on the market right now. Hating your body and trying to reverse aging is a billion-dollar industry.


But the gorgeous women I know realize that those wrinkles around the mouth mean they’ve smiled and laughed. Those ‘crows feet’ around the eyes mean they’ve laughed some more. Those hands which used to be baby-soft are weathered from cleaning, caring, creating, and living.


Those wrinkles may feel unsightly at times, especially in our youth-obsessed culture, but ultimately those facial lines are the distinctive map of our passions, loves, and journeys.


From our faces to our bodies, we can browse down the list of criticisms. Our ‘too big’ or ‘oddly shaped’ noses. Our toes aren’t perfectly symmetrical. Our breasts are too small — or too big. Our cellulite lumps. Our arms aren’t toned enough. The list goes on.


But, despite all of these perceived flaws, all of the magical women I know have an awareness of this tendency to pick themselves apart and more than feeling disappointed about all of the things they may not like or hate about their bodies, they know every part of them is a memory within a chapter of their lives they’ve experienced.


A few women have mentioned that their clavicle is a favorite part of their body which they consider to be feminine, delicate. Lovers have caressed them there, kissed them there. Some like their teeth or their smile. One particular friend said she loves the muscles in her back because it reminds her that she’s strong and she loves her large feet because they hold her firmly to the ground.


Other women have expressed joy in reminiscing about how a partner and lover has cherished and admired a certain part of their body. Those memories are so important in the tapestry of how we can remember to love ourselves. Although it’s vital to feel that pride in how we see our own bodies, a perspective from someone else who loves us is always a welcome addition.


And so, for the woman I know who always felt ashamed of loving her voluptuous breasts as a young girl but who later tapped into her own sense of sex appeal when a boyfriend took a beautiful nudes of her— I celebrate. She has learned not to hide her body and to be proud of what she loves — but it’s taken decades to get there.


For the woman I know who struggles daily with her own body image and wants to pass down a better example to her own daughter about how she perceives her body — it’s not easy. Especially if you grew up with a mother who vocally criticized her own body.


For the woman who thought her scars would repel any lover whom she wanted to hold but found out that she could be loved for her scars and then somecongratulations. It IS possible to learn to accept and love those parts of our bodies with which we have battled, struggled with, and turned our backs on.


To all of these absolutely gorgeous women I know with the sea-green eyes, the laugh lines, the soft, full breasts, the scorned cellulite, and the ever-so-present insecurities — thank you. Thank you for baring your vulnerabilities with me and thank you for reminding me that true beauty is ALL flaws and ALL humility.


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