Body confidence, social media and me

Lately, there’s been a real spate of photos of women on social media in their underwear or swimwear. They’re not showing off, they’re showing us what a real woman looks like – stretch marks, cellulite and all. And I admire them.

They look great and I applaud their confidence and their bravery. They’re reminding us all that the airbrushed images on social media and in magazines are neither real nor realistic and they’re also often taking a massive step out of their comfort zones to share these pictures.

So I wondered if I would be brave enough to share my picture?

I’m confident in my body’s ability to run and I know my body is pretty good for a woman of my age, but I still can’t pluck up the courage to pose in my underwear on Instagram.

In fact, I don’t want to pose in my underwear on Instagram.

For one thing, my kids look at my Instagram. Maybe their friends do too (although my kids have done their best to block their friends from my account). Put yourself in a teenager’s shoes. How would you feel about your mum in her underwear on social media?

For another thing, I’ve just never been one for skimpy clothes. I don’t wear a bikini. I don’t even take a swimsuit on holiday (I do only go to Padstow after all). I have just purchased my first pair of short shorts in my entire adult life. I always wear shorts down to the knee. I’ve never worn low cut tops or short skirts. It just isn’t me. Even though I’ve got nothing to hide or be ashamed of.

I’m 5′ 6″, I weigh 9 stone 2 and I’m a size 8. I know lots of people would love my figure. Lots of other people would say I’m too thin.

My boobs are 90% padded bra, but I have cellulite on my thighs. My stomach bloats badly due to IBS and it’s flabby due to having three kids. My attitude to body hair removal is a little lax. I’m not perfect. I’m a real woman.

But there’s another thing that bothers me. Most of these people celebrating their bodies in their underwear are much larger than me. They might be a 14 or an 18 or even bigger. It’s all about celebrating the curves.  But I don’t have any curves to celebrate. By being thinner, am I letting down the side? Not actually a real woman – despite the flab and the unshaven legs?

If I was to bare (almost) all, would people think I was showing off?

So for all of those reasons, I have decided I’m just going to stay quietly body confident in my own little bubble. I don’t need to share pictures on social media. I will continue to shun bikinis, just because I don’t want to wear one, not because I worry what people will think of me.

And I will continue to admire all of those women who are either super-confident or super-brave in showing their bodies on social media. You are all doing a great job at normalising the many and varied shapes of mothers and grown women. And for that, I salute you!

What do you think? Are you brave enough to show your body on social media? Why?

Social media, Body confidence, Selfie, Social media body confidence and me

Bloated belly, skinny arms, padded bra, hot weather hair – keeping it real

Author: Sarah Mummy

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24 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t take part either because, like you, I’ve not worn a bikini since my teenage years, despite keeping my figure nice well up until my 40s (where I had 3 kids and it was all down hill from there!) I’m just not one for showing more flesh than I feel comfortable with whether it’s fat or skinny flesh.
    I do admire those that are trying to make the world see that women are all different sizes and no one should feel ashamed of their bodies. The world has gone crazy since Social Media came into force (it was only slightly crazy before and much easier to avoid.) Only today my brother posted a natural photo of my niece (21) looking laid back and happy, she didn’t know the photo was being taken and it’s so natural. She looked beautiful, so much more so than the photos she normally posts herself where the pose has been carefully planned and the editing done to perfection. Guess what? She demanded my brother to take the photo off immediately. It’s so sad 🙁

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    • That is really sad about your niece! My daughter is 12 and as soon as I point the camera at her, she plasters a fake smile on which looks nowhere near as nice as her real smile, but she obviously thinks it looks better!
      It’s nice to hear that someone else doesn’t feel comfortable in a bikini for no particular reason.

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  2. Not interested in underwear pics, but loved your take on body confidence no matter your size or phase of life. Thanks for throwing your voice into this mix. Visiting you from the mix it up linky. laurensparks.net

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    • Thanks very much! Underwear pics seem to be all the rage at the moment, but they’re definitely not or everyone.

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  3. I am super confident in who I am. Could not care what people think of me. With that said, I am also SUPER modest. No one sees me in my skivvies. So bravo for however you feel. As long as you are good in your own skin that is all that matters. #mixitup

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    • It sounds like you and I have a pretty similar attitude. You’re so right that being comfortable in your own skin is what really matters.

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  4. Sounds like you wear the same sort of thing as me, I’m sat here reading this in a black t shirt and knee length denim shorts! I do wear a swimming costume because I swim a lot but haven’t worn a bikini for a few years. I would want to lose a bit of weight before I did because I wouldn’t feel comfortable at the moment but I do admire people who are confident enough to wear a bikini whatever their figure is like. I also think you would probably get people who thought you were showing off if you posted a photo of you in your underwear because you do have a great figure and people don’t like that do they? Jealousy I suppose, I can never understand why people think they have the right to say something about someone who they think is too skinny when they wouldn’t say it about someone they thought was too fat.
    Nat.x

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    • Thank you! This is one of my favourite comments ever. I really admire women who are bold and proud and will wear a bikini whatever their figure, but it does feel like things have gone full circle and it is now acceptable to be rude about people who are slim. It is just as unacceptable to be rude about people who are thin as it is to be rude about people who are overweight. x

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  5. You look amazing. And I applaud you for your naturally gorgeous self. I used to wear skimpy clothes and short skirts, but my days of that are gone. Not just because I don’t feel comfortable in it, but I don’t feel it’s how I want to be. I had those days and I don’t want to post any pictures of me in my underwear or a bikini. I think it’s great if you do and you can, but I do feel I wouldn’t want my kid’s friends to see it either. You are amazing inside and out x

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    • Thank you! That is such a lovely thing to say!
      I like that you say that’s not how you want to be – that’s how I feel too. When you’ve got slightly older kids, it takes a very brave woman to post underwear or bikini photos. x

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  6. I do t be sharing mine either I swim sometimes do do wear a costume but haven’t worn a bikini since I was about 30 and Rankin is aren’t good for swimming or body boarding so would be getting in one if those either. It’s rare I even wear shorts because I have one bigger leg and one ankle gets puffy. I’m not confident with my weight but I’ll wear what I need to be practical on holiday or she really hot. But no chance in the public arena. I can only image the face of a future employer or teachers and other parents at the school or other kids ripping into N for me posting a semi naked photo. I don’t feel the need.

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    • I do wonder whether some of these women have thought about their kids’ friends, other parents, teachers, employers etc seeing the photos. I’m all for confidence and bravery, but it could mean they are seen in a very different light and nobody wants people sniggering behind their backs – or taking the p*ss out of their kids for something they’ve done.
      Wearing what is practical is always good! I usually only wear shorts for three or four days a year, but they’ve been on for over a week now (they have been washed!).

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  7. I won’t be sharing a bikini pic either for similar reasons. I’ve never owned a bikini although I do sometimes wear a tankini. Generally though I wear a swimming costume because I like to swim and that’s what’s practical. My body isn’t bad: no stretch marks or loose skin to speak of, but my tum is bigger than I would like. I know that’s not unusual, but I don’t feel the need to show the world.

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    • I have owned bikinis, but not for a long time and I never really felt comfortable wearing them. I do like a tankini, but you don’t see as many of those around these days. If people want to show their wobbly bits to the world, fair play to them, but I’m with you on wanting to keep them to myself!

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  8. I relate to this so much and as much as I love seeing so many body positivity posts doing the rounds right now, it’s so nice to hear a slightly different take on it all. I’m far from ‘perfect’ but I am perfectly happy with my body I just don’t feel the need to share it with the world. I sometimes flash a bit of knee but that’s your lot! Ha!

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    • Exactly that! It’s great that some people are willing to share what they look like and feel positive about it, but it’s also great that we can opt not to do that!

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  9. I definitely admire those women too, and it’s nice to see that people come in all shapes and sizes, which we have obviously known about for years. I won’t be sharing any bikini snaps on social media as I don’t think I have ever owned a bikini, plus like you my kids and their friends could be following me. Even though I am plus size, I have no hesitation about getting into a swimming costume, but I would die if a swimsuit picture of me was ever put on the internet. There would be alot of wobbly bits lol x

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    • I know exactly where you are coming from – nobody needs to put their kids through seeing their mum in underwear on social media! I’ve had a handful of bikinis over the years, but they really don’t appeal to me. x

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  10. Oh my god, if I did one of those photos my kids would never speak to me again, they would be mortified. I agree that these women are brave and it is good to love your body whatever. I would never do a photo as I wouldn’t want to afflict that on the world and I am sure my kids would disown me

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    • My guess is that most of these women have very small children because I’m sure no parent of a teenager would put their kids through the shame of it!

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  11. ALL of what you said Sarah. I’m a little bit nervous around the body confidence tag, because I’ve been told before that I don’t qualify on the basis that I’m not really all that big. That’s a shame, I think, because all of us have hang ups, and all of us should be encouraged to share those and get past them. I think being told I look good is wonderful, but in the context of sharing body confidence issues, it negates how I feel about the bits I don’t like, and encourages me to hide my feelings over them. And that’s a worry. I’m fine, but when my daughter is told she shouldn’t complain about her moles because she has a beautiful smile, or her thighs, because she has a perfect waist, I wonder what she’ll do with that information. Everyone should feel confident to join in expressing their concerns, and building confidence in their bodies, not just the people who are larger, curvier, whatever…
    Also, having teenagers on social media is a reality check on over-sharing, isn’t it? I’ve been asked to review bras on Instagram and I’ve seriously considered it, but given I tell my daughter never to post a picture of herself in her underwear, I think it’s something I should also steer clear of!

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    • I’m horrified that you’ve been told you don’t qualify for body confidence because you’re not that big! I suspect that’s would people would think of me, but nobody has ever actually said it to me. I wonder if they would like my tiny boobs? Or the horrendous acne I’ve suffered from and would still be suffering from if I wasn’t on strong medication? We all have our issues to deal with and weight is only one of them.
      It is a minefield for teenage girls and I do worry about the future for my daughter. So far she hasn’t experienced any issues, but she is only 12 and there’s a long way to go!

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  12. I love your refreshing posts! I might wear a tankini (bikini days are gone haha) if I’m on holiday but won’t be taking any photos of me in it even though I don’t feel embarrassed (well maybe a little!). It is great when women feel they are making a statement of themselves in underwear or swimwear no matter their size. With all the photoshopping and touchups in magazines it is nice to see a real woman too.

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    • Thanks very much. It’s definitely good to see women looking real without the photoshopping. If I were to wear a tankini or swimsuit on the beach, I would be happy with my family taking photos of me, but they would purely be for our own memories, not for social media!

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