“Just because you can…”

April 4, 2014

I believe every granny should be able to strut her stuff at the beach or in her bedroom.

There seems to be a whole lotta pride out there, these days, and I’m all for it.

But when the internet allows everyone the opportunity to strut their stuff for all eyes, we see things we wish we hadn’t.

This post began when a friend blogged about photos of quite senior women in their mostly naked glory.  The photo above was not one of them, but it gives you the drift without exposing too much.

Wrinkles. Age spots. Varicose veins. Flab.  All the hallmarks of aging were defiantly on display for the world to see.

Do you think this is sexy?  was the question.


I believe every woman should wear whatever she likes to the beach. Including these women.

A few months ago a fat activist I know got into a big internet fight with web sensation “fit mom” that leaked over into mainstream media in a big way.

Activist has a lingerie shop for big girls and posted photos of curvy girls wearing nothing but fishnet as part of her social media marketing. Since I “liked” her page I’d sometimes be surprised by one of those photos appearing in my newsfeed.

The photos didn’t offend me. The bombing of my newsfeed with them did.


Fascinated by the juxtaposition of muscle and fat.

Art has a long tradition of painting women with less than perfect bodies. Some of the paintings are just beautiful.


A beautiful woman.

Some fat women are more beautiful than others. Younger women are more aesthetically pleasing, with their smooth skin and great spray tan.

Also true of men.  I don’t fantasize about wrinkly grandpa in between the sheets.  Also, there’s a difference between sexy and aesthetically pleasing.

Men and women both can be super-sexy because of their personalities, their laugh, their attitudes, their brain–but they’d never be cover models.

Ok, so here’s what I think: we’re becoming a nation of exhibitionists.

That’s right.

It used to be cool to have a gorgeous set of boudoir photos taken and give them to your lover as a gift for his eyes alone.

Didn’t matter what shape you were in, or how old,  you always looked beautiful.

Now, those photos are posted on the internet for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

They say it’s “empowering”.  It makes a statement about our society.

I say it’s bullshit.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Regardless of age and shape.

Said an 80-something woman I know: “These women should be empowered by putting their brains on display. That’s real empowerment. Not the body.”

I agree.  Objections to these kind of photos are  not about disempowerment or discrimination.

They’re about values.

Also about good taste.

There’s a time and a place to strut your stuff.

The beach? DO it. Strut proudly, whether you are old, young, fat or skinny. Show it all. You’re at the beach. You’re SUPPOSED to.

I remember seeing a European man, fat, walking on Sarasota beach wearing a Speedo. At the time I smiled, but he was on the beach, not on my newsfeed.

Your bedroom? Yes, of course. Show it all!

Marketing sex toys or crotchless panties? Use a little subtlety. Or email them to me. I don’t want to see them in living color on my newsfeed.


Meet place.

I know you’ve met before, but clearly, you’ve forgotten one another.

21 comments on ““Just because you can…”
  1. I see a difference between an artistic photo shoot or exhibit, as was the case in my article on the Dutch photographer’s redo of classic pinups, and individuals sharing their bodies in all their glory. As for whether it’s empowering or not? It’s a fine line between getting the guts to share something and just giving into exhibitionism I think.
    Maybe it’s in part a generational thing? I don’t know…I don’t get the whole selfie thing either!

    • Shock value has always been a part of art, right? But I think this idea of letting everything hang out is beyond the pale. And i see it in every generation, including ours.

  2. Claudia Schmidt says:

    I’m with you, Carol. I’ve been a bit perplexed by the preponderance lately of naked women showing how proud they are of their bodies. I’m all for embracing who we are, as we are, just never felt the need to show the entire world.

  3. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    I look a little Rubenesque( see painting above) because I eat too much junk food. I admit it. It’s unhealthy.Cancer cells are carried in fat,so I think overweight anything is not a good lesson for our children or our children’s children.Flaunting the extremes are even worse. It sends the wrong message, pleasing to the eye or not. We have a clutch of really thin women in my neck of the woods-I mean STICK-SCAREY THIN, and always at the Barr Method, the Spin and Reflect, the running track at the park, and lately their children are coming home from college, looking even THINNER. To me, that is just as scary as the overweight photos posted here. So no, I think its a private,physiological battle that people in denial about should get help for-this is a self hate issue, not a self acceptance one.

    • admin says:

      I agree with the scarey-skinny observation, as I’ve seen a lot of that, too. I think fat-shaming is wrong just like thin-shaming is. Both are ineffective. But I think my issue really is time and place. Judgment and good taste. I don’t think every fat woman is unfit or sick, many are quite healthy. There are lots of habits we have that don’t show and are carginogenic, too. Fat just happens to show and people go berserk about it. But again, I’m a time and place girl, that’s all.

  4. Hi Carol! I agree with you on this one Carol! And one of my favorite sayings is “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!” Baring all for others seems more about attention seeking than it is reveling in personal glory. In some ways the same applies to those who reveal their inner most secrets to anyone they can find. Again, that seems more like attention seeking than anything else. Now I’m all for using our lives as examples as writers, but if that same example is used about 10 times with no sign of letting up I’m done with that too. ~Kathy

  5. Chloe says:

    I agree these things don’t belong in my newsfeed. But I also would rather not see suffering animals in my newsfeed. It isn’t because I don’t care about animals, but what really am I supposed to do about it? I can’t save every suffering animal out there, and seeing a stream of them only makes me feel like crap.

    As far as whether the old lady is sexy or not? Why is sexuality limited to the visual?

    Visually, men in particular are genetically programmed to prefer youth. I mean where would the human race be if young men were chasing after post-menopausal women? But our culture has taken this youth-worship to the nth degree and made it practically a fetish.

    Aging and sexuality are not well understood or even accepted in our culture, and trying to force older sex into the younger sex mindset just doesn’t seem to work. That older woman in the first photo has a very sexy look in her eye, but those saggy breasts just aren’t visually sexy. She might be hot as hell in bed, and the right lover with maturity might understand that a sexy woman is a helluva lot more than her random body parts, but her body just isn’t sexy in any sort of traditional sense. Because traditionally sex is all about procreation, not about value, or depth of character, or life experience.

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Chloe. But then, why do we need to force older sex into a younger mindset? Isn’t it enought to just have older sex without putting your saggy boobs (or mine) on display? Empowerment, NOT.

  6. Lance says:

    Great post

    You know what’s sexy? Discretion. Class. What you don’t see.

    My wife has all the self confidence between the two of us. But do you think I want her stripping down and duck facing for y’all in the innerwebz?

    That younger curvy model is beautiful and I support “real” beauty over the artificial any day. But sometimes, holding back is best.

  7. Jay Lickus says:

    First, I’m surprised I am the first male to respond. You would think men would be queuing up to let you know that seeing any naked woman anywhere is just fine with them. LOL

    Second, and seriously, we all know men are not as bashful about their bodies (ie your speedo friend at the beach) as women but they are more visual sexually. Even so, I think most truly would prefer a woman “leave something to the imagination” at times.

  8. I’d like to see more people feel empowered about themselves, in any way that suits them (and doesn’t hurt others) but, as we do so skillfully in the USA, this seems to be just another private matter that has runamouk.

  9. I agree. Showing it all to everyone just isn’t appropriate unless you are a playboy model. So should I not post the naked #365feministselfie I just took? 😉

  10. Karen @BakingInATornado says:

    I know this sounds old fashioned and I’m fine with it: I think there’s something sexy about leaving something to the imagination. And I think there’s something to be said for showing respect for our bodies by only showing them to the people we feel are special in our lives. And I wonder how those people can feel special if our bodies have been seen by every Joe Schmo on the interwebs.

    And I, for one, don’t really want to see every stranger on the planet’s body, it holds no interest for me. If I ever do, I’ll buy a magazine or go to a website that features them. At least then the choice is mine.

  11. Linda Roy says:

    It’s a wonderful thing to feel comfortable in one’s own skin and to be confident. But putting it out there for the whole world? Why? I don’t see the point. Exhibitionism for exhibitionism’s sake. I agree with everyone here who has said that less is more. And I can’t unsee that Granny pic. Holy sagging bean bags, Batman.

  12. Carpool Goddess says:

    I agree. There is a time and place for everything. Beach, yes. Newsfeed, no.

  13. Diane says:

    Okay, this may sound weird, but your post made me suddenly think of those men who used to wander around in public places in long raincoats and flip them open on an unsuspecting public, baring all. I want to see these pictures even less then I wanted to see those men. There is a time. And a place. And you’re right. It’s not on my newsfeed!

  14. Carol, it isn’t about the fat or lack of it or even our age. It is about good taste. I know that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but please, let’s keep some things hidden. A little mystery goes a long, long ways!

  15. Jennifer Steck says:

    I understand wanting to show that everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. However, I agree that we don’t need to show everyone naked to send that message. The first time or two it was unusual, now it’s just getting old. No pun intended. 🙂

  16. Wendy says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. I’m a teacher who has to be very discriminating about what ends up in the feeds on my social media sites. I definitely believe in the motto, “to each her own”. However if I have reason to believe one might generate less than publicly acceptable or tasteful material, he/she will be censored within my privacy options.

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