My Swimsuit

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A little break here to discuss why I had my review of my new bathing suit put on my blog. Partly because I could. I wanted to see if it would work And it did. I debated taking it off, but then I thought that I should explain what it means to me, especially as a feminist, to look good in the clothes I wear. I used to think that worrying about makeup, clothes, hair, nails, etc., let alone spending money on those things, was a waste of time. Of course, I’ve never had the money to spend on them, so it was easier on me to discount their importance. But in the past year or so, I’ve developed a different attitude toward all things that make a woman attractive.

Maybe it’s because I’m older now and feel like I need all the help I can get. But that’s not all of it: I’m sure I could have benefited from better-looking and fitting clothes and so on, when I was younger. But benefited how? What difference does it make if I wear makeup or not or have new and flattering clothes? And God forbid that I should spend a fortune on my hair or to get a pedicure or manicure. (I’m still conflicted about the $60 pedicure I got the other day–only the second one of my life).

Part of what made me a convert to this new (for me) way of thinking was watching “What Not to Wear” on The Learning Channel. At the risk of sounding superficial, I’ve come to believe that it does matter greatly how you look. Not just when you’re trying to get a job, but all the time. The women who get makeovers on the show also get a makeover of their attitudes: they come to believe that they weren’t doing justice to themselves by wearing unflattering clothes and hairdos and not using makeup. It’s a matter of self-esteem. These things make you feel better about yourself, yes, but they also signify that you think enough of yourself to make an investment in them.

Don’t get me wrong: some people are attractive no matter what they wear or how they do their hair or whether or not they wear makeup. But for those of us who have imperfections, it’s a real boost to our confidence to do all that we can do to make the most of what we have. At $50, my new swimsuit is the most expensive one I’ve every bought. But it’s light years away from the bargain basement and hand-me-down suits that I’ve had in the past. (I’ve been wearing my daughters’ old bathing suits for years.) I look fantastic in it and not just because it’s a beautiful suit. It makes the most of my strengths (my bust) and minimizes my weaknesses (my belly). How can there be anything wrong with that?

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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