Former Real Housewives of Atlanta favorite and current Broadway star Nene Leakes has popped up as a voice for body positivity with the latest post on her website The Fab Gab. The article asks the question: “Is a crop top okay over 40?” The answer is a resounding yes — as long as you want to wear it. Unfortunately, her fans aren’t quite as enthusiastic.
The article addresses the debate around women of a certain age showing off some skin. “Some might say it’s OK. Some might say it’s not OK. Some might say it’s OK as long as you don’t show your belly button. We say, if you’ve got the body, flaunt that midriff like there’s no tomorrow,” writes Molly Anderson. Anderson takes the argument a step further, reminding readers that — let me get corny for a moment — the only necessary accessory is confidence.
“What does it mean to ‘have the body?'” the article continues. “It means confidence. It means owning your ensemble. It means taking pride in your great figure and not questioning what other people say about your clothing choices.”
Even with its thesis statement of “love yourself,” this post ended up stirring a debate. On Facebook, some of Leakes’s commenters are okay with a bit of outfit policing. “Depends on the woman and short of a crop it is!” wrote Debra Carter. “I would say certain clothes you not suppose to wear after a certain age I feel the fashion out now with the belly tops and other items leave it to our daughters and the younger crowd just my opinion,” Theresa Ann Jordan added.
Of course, not everyone is comfortable wearing a crop top, and that’s fine too. The goal is to move beyond judgment for decisions in either direction. As the largely respectful debate here shows, it’s possible to support other’s decisions — and outfit choices — even when we disagree. One commenter has an attitude we’ll be copying from now until we check into the senior center: “I can be 99 and walking on a cane! I will dress the way I WANT TO!”
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