When Mark Darcy informed a blustering Bridget Jones, “I like you very much just as you are,” Jones and her (fictional) friends were incredulous. “Just as you are?” they asked, confused. “Not thinner? Not cleverer? Not with slightly bigger breasts or a slightly smaller nose?”
While we might bemoan our every tiny “flaw”, others often celebrate them as our most beautiful attributes. Our unique features make us distinct in a world where women in particular are looking more and more alike. After all, who would Barbra Streisand be without her distinctive nose, or Julianne Moore without her luscious red hair and creamy skin?
So, the next time you look in the mirror and feel bad about your so-called “imperfections”, remember that somewhere in the world right now, or at some stage in history, your distinctive feature – a voluptuous derrière, petite bust, cute freckles or Lauren Hutton-style gap teeth – was coveted and celebrated. Funnily enough, it probably still is by the people who love you.
If Marilyn Monroe was starting out today, would her amazing curves be seen as sultry or stout? Monroe’s voluptuous shape was adored in the 1950s, but the noughties sex symbols are more egg timer than hourglass.
Studies show that humans have evolved to regard the contrast of wide hips to slim waists as sexually attractive. When females go through puberty, their hips and pelvis widen, preparing the body for childbirth. A curvaceous body therefore suggests a woman is healthy and has great reproductive potential, subconsciously attracting mates.
Recent research has even discovered that wide-hipped women are more likely to live longer than their slimmer counterparts. Of 3000 men and women studied by the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen, women with the biggest hip circumferences had an 86% reduced risk of coronary heart disease and a 46% reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. That’s because fat distributed on the hips has anti-inflammatory powers that can help prevent arteries blocking, in contrast to more dangerously placed abdominal fat. So, if you’re pear-shaped, you’re in better shape for a healthy future – and for continued success in attracting the opposite sex with those curvaceous hips.
We all know it’s inevitable that some wrinkles will appear as we age, even if we’re careful to limit triggers such as sun exposure and smoking. These lines form when the elastin and collagen fibres in our skin begin to weaken, causing skin to sag and crease. But, living in the age of Photoshop and Botox, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that wrinkles are a natural part of life. And if age can denote maturity, wisdom and finally feeling comfortable in our skin, shouldn’t wrinkles promote some level of respect? After all, the lovely and very much still sexy Helen Mirren, 65, plays amazing roles and is revered around the world as an incarnation of ageing gracefully in her natural state. In fact, there’s a steadily growing “Botox backlash”, led by Hollywood film directors who are tired of actresses of all ages looking frozen and fake. They want natural-looking leading ladies who can convey real emotions.
So, be proud. Remember what you’ve been through to earn those crinkles, and the happy times that helped create your laugh lines. After all, a face without wrinkles is little more than a mask.