How I Learnt To Love My Thighs
Fairlady|March 2017

Most of us have at least one part of our bodies that we wish were smaller, or smoother, or sexier… Maybe a mindset change is what we need.

Ruth Woudstra

Thunder thighs. All my life. Not even three years of teaching at an all girls school where young women twice my size strutted around in scanty shorts or skin-tight jeans could cure me of my thigh-hatred. Those natural curves stacked with crater-like cellulite? My loathing was absolute. With no chance of reconciliation.

Until I acknowledged that there was, in fact, a war going on. That of all the parts of an otherwise perfectly fine and functioning body, I’d chosen this specific area for my undivided resentment. Into which to pour all my bitterness and hatred.

The Dove global study of beauty and confidence, involving 10500 women aged between 10 and 60, found that body confidence has reached a critical low. Interestingly, of the 13 countries surveyed, South African women came out tops in body confidence: 64% said they had high body esteem. Unfortunately, I’m not part of that statistic.

A major drawback of feeling insecure about any particular body part is that you focus on that area in other women, objectifying them as a result. I’d see only women’s thighs, and judge them according to what I felt I lacked. If a woman had slim thighs, I considered her successful, sexy, sorted.

During the three years I lived in Japan, I regularly visited the onsens (hot springs), but felt ashamed among the naked flat-thighed Japanese women. The irony is that they have the lowest body self-assurance among the countries that participated in the Dove study, with a shocking 8% confidence rate.

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