“Fake it til you make it…”
At least once a week for the last two years, I have said those words along with EMKFIT (aka Emily Thorne) at the start of her HIIT dance workout YouTube videos. And at least once a week for the last two years, I have lived those words as I’ve flailed, booty popped, dropped it low, and did a dozen other dance moves that I never would have allowed myself to even attempt before—despite almost 30 years of formal dance training.
You see, some of EMKFIT’s choreography is designed to help you feel strong. But some of the choreography is designed to help you feel sexy. And a lot of the choreography is designed to help you feel both at the same time.
And I have felt strong before. I have felt powerful and pretty. Maybe even beautiful every so often when the makeup and wardrobe is just right.
That was a word I never associated with myself—and a word I was led to believe no one would ever associate with me.
I came of age at the peak of power for brands like Victoria’s Secret, which taught women of my generation that sex appeal was stored in your curves (but also could be lost as soon as those curves became “too much”—we all were fighting a losing battle between being too much and not enough). And for a young woman who barely filled out her A-cup bras, it was all too easy for me to feel like I was stuck in a child’s body, like I could never really own my power as a woman just because of the numbers and letters on a tag on a piece of lace and wire.
When you grow up hearing the phrase “Real women have curves,” you start to wonder if that means you’re not a real woman because you’re more rectangle than hourglass. And you start to carry yourself accordingly.