I am Bombshell Betty, a pin-up and burlesque obsessed entrepreneur and innovator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. A self-proclaimed “body image activist,” my belief that that everyone is sexy, and everyone has something important to express. This philosophy informs every project that I embark upon, including all of the Everyday Bombshell Programs. You can read all about me on my website and in my other blogs.
The birth of the All Kinds of Sexy Project.
A while ago, a participant in one of my Pinup Workshops told me that she found out about my workshops from her 13-year-old daughter, who keeps a photo of me in her locker at school and was jealous that her mother was attending a workshop while she was too young to participate (all of my classes and workshops are 18+).
This got me thinking. For years, I have been promoting self-esteem and positive body image through my classes, workshops, shows, book and video. Thousands of women have told me that my work has changed their lives and their feelings about themselves for the better. But how can I have a positive impact in the lives of people who can’t attend my events because of location, age, or financial limitations?
This project was born in answer to that question.
My main goal here is to present images of confident, sexy women of all shapes, sizes, ages, abilities and backgrounds, both to give these women a platform for expression and to present realistic role models for women and girls around the world. This blog is for all of the women out there who have a hard time feeling sexy because they don’t look like the “ideal” image of beauty presented to us by the media. This blog is for all of the girls becoming women right now who need positive examples of strong, sexy women that represent their own looks.
I will also present links to relevant articles on the web and write articles about these subjects from my perspective. This is a new project, so I am sure it will evolve as time goes on, and I am excited to see where it goes!
What is the point?
It is being said that obesity has become an epidemic in this country. Eating disorders are also on the rise. I believe that these facts go hand in hand. Women in our culture are taught that we are not beautiful as we are. We are taught that we need to compete with each other, be the prettiest girl in the room, the skinniest girl at the party, have the most fashionable clothes and the best styling. Rather than appreciating beauty in other women, we feel threatened and diminished by it.
Not only do we compare ourselves with women around us, but we compare ourselves with the images of women that we see in the media. This, despite the fact that eating disorders are de rigeur in Hollywood and among models, and images in magazines are airbrushed and digitally manipulated until they look very little like the original models! A few years ago, I read an interview with Isabella Rosselini where she talked about being approached by people in public who said, “Your sister is so beautiful!” They saw the real woman before them and could not believe that this gorgeous person was the same person whose face was in the retouched cosmetics ads.
Not only is it unrealistic to try to look like these images in the media, but it is unhealthy and damaging to our bodies and our self-esteem. Since 1996, I have shared dressing rooms with hundreds of women that most of us would consider “perfect tens,” and these women are prey to just as many insecurities as the rest of us. Many of them are more critical of their bodies than you would believe! We are all made of flesh, and anyone looking for it will be able to find “flaws” in their normal, human bodies.
It’s time we went a little easier on ourselves and recognized that not all bodies are meant to look the same, that a “healthy body weight” is not what we see in the magazines and in Hollywood. We have genetic differences, and our bodies have varying weights that they want to maintain, despite our efforts to sweat and starve them into submission. Like Margaret Cho says, “For me to be 10 pounds lighter is a full time job!” Who really has the time or energy to put that much focus on a losing battle?
Now, I am not advocating that American women throw their workout programs to the four winds, grab a gallon of ice cream, and let it all go to hell. What I am advocating is that women learn to love their bodies and revel in their sexiness just as they are. Decisions made from a place of self-love and self-care will be very different from choices made from a place of self-loathing and despair. Plus, it will be a lot more fun along the way!
Something that most of us don’t consider when aspiring to this one “perfect” body type is that human desire and attraction are much more fluid than the Hollywood ideal. Individual men and women are attracted to body types at all different points on the spectrum. For every rock star out there who will only date super models, there are many people out there who prefer other looks. Don’t believe me? Look at the photography of Leonard Nemoy’s Full Body Project and the super curvy pinups by Coop. And this is only scratching the surface.
Believe it or not, sexiness is not about body shape, age, or background. What really gets the blood pumping and knocks ’em over the head is confidence and sensuality, and we can ALL learn to embody this. Yes, really! I have seen it thousands of times across this country and around the world through my programs! My motto is “When you feel sexy, you are sexy!” and I have found this to be true again and again and again.
So how do we get this confidence?
I think a very important first step will be finding positive role models for this different idea of sexy. The idea here is to shift our focus from our perceived “flaws” toward our assets, so that we can revel in our bodies, express our sensuality, and live bolder, sexier, and happier lives!
In this blog, I intend to show that all kinds of women are sexy! Most of the body-positive materials that I have seen on the web so far seem to think that any sexually charged image of a woman is negative. What I have seen over and over again since I started teaching Burlesquercise™ and Pinup Workshops in 2004 is that most women are not offended by sexy images of women. What they want is sexy images of women that represent the way they look, not just one unattainable body type.
So here goes! Ladies, this is for you!
Please feel free to post comments and let me know what you think of this project. I would love to hear from you!