Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

This 90-year-old grandma is the only beach body inspiration we need

gran1.jpg

Last week, the Internet exploded into argument – yet again – about whether women proudly showing off their bodies counts as true "empowerment". Emily Ratajowkski and Kim Kardashian say yes; Piers Morgan thinks not. (It's unclear when exactly Mr Morgan became a card-carrying, torch-bearing member of the modern feminist movement, but that's a question for another day.) It can tie us up in thorny knots, this thing, this agonising over what is liberating and what facilitates our own objectification. It can feel exhausting.

And then sometimes, a photograph comes along that makes you sit back and beam, and remember that one crucial thing: that actually, there are few things more joyous, more laudable, more clutch-it-in-your-hand-and-never-let-it-go precious, than a woman completely comfortable in her skin, who occupies her own body with her head held high. 

Today, that honour goes to 90-year-old Irene Carney from Ballina, New South Wales, Australia. Before going on a cruise with her family, Irene bought a red, 1950s-style Seafolly polka dot bikini from a shop in Byron Bay. The Lady Watego boutique sang Irene's praises on Facebook, sharing a photo of Gigi Hadid modelling the bikini and writing: “A gorgeous purchase by 90 year old Irene ,going on a family cruise! She was encouraged by her friends & carers in the nursing home to get a bikini & we found the perfect one for her.”

a gorgeous purchase by 90 Year old Irene ,going on a family cruise! She was encouraged by her friends & carers in the...

Posted by Lady Watego Byron Bay on Sunday, 28 February 2016

A photograph of Irene rocking said bikini on her cruise was later sent to the boutique, who then shared it on Facebook. Check her all-over tan and “I've *literally* been doing this for longer than you've been alive, darling” pose:

the gorgeous 90 year old Irene on her family cruise wearing her @seafollyaustralia spot on bikini-never too old for a bikini. Love#ladywatego #ballina#seafollyaustralia #bikini#nevertooold

Posted by Lady Watego Byron Bay on Friday, 25 March 2016

Perhaps predictably – because, let's face it, it's a photo to warm the cockles of the coldest heart – the Facebook post quickly ratcheted up the likes, with thousands of people posting their admiration for Irene.

Irene's daughter, Helen Kearney, wrote: "I had the pleasure of escorting my mother Irene Kearney from Ballina on the cruise. Thank you to you all for all these lovely comments. I feel so proud of my mother. What an inspiration she is!"

And she's right. A world where every woman, aged 19 or 90, has Irene's give-a-damn attitude? Sounds pretty empowering to us.

 

Picture: Lady Watego Byron Bay/Facebook

Related

312-STL-MAIN.jpg

This week's Style List

instagram.JPG

This week’s best A-List Instagrams

Jazz Ohara Calais Camp.jpg

“I quit my career in fashion to volunteer in the Calais refugee camp”

030116-barbie-bathingsuit-lead.jpg

Barbie's diverse new dolls have landed - in swimwear

ruby rose twitter instagram depression message glaad awards 2016.jpg

Ruby Rose's uplifting message for anyone suffering from depression

selfie.jpg

New research reveals how Instagram posing could seriously affect sight

1453750703-barbie-ferreira-2.png

Size 16 model Barbie Ferreira stars in unretouched swimwear campaign

ridget jones thong.jpg

Why we should all wear men's underwear

310_tablet_womens_equality_LEAD_v1.jpg

Just who are the Women’s Equality Party and what do they stand for?

More

Model Winnie Harlow celebrates her “unique beauty” with a nude selfie

“Celebrate your unique beauty today (and everyday)!”

by Susan Devaney
18 Aug 2017

40 beautifully delicate and small helix tattoos to inspire you

It’s the cool new place to get your next inking

by Susan Devaney
17 Aug 2017

This is the £3 beauty product we’re buying every single second

Sacré bleu, we’re obsessed…

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Caroline Flack’s chic brunette bob is giving us serious hair envy

She’s the latest star to work the crop

17 Aug 2017

10 Lush products to help you sleep, soothe anxiety and de-stress

Add these to your shopping list, stat

by Megan Murray
16 Aug 2017

Instagram is obsessed with these nostalgic noughties bath bombs

All your bath bomb dreams are about to come true

by Megan Murray
15 Aug 2017

Three DIY tricks for super-shiny hair

Get gloss on demand, using kitchen cupboard products

14 Aug 2017

Jennifer Aniston has shared her budget beauty trick with the world

“I’ve been using it since high school”

by Kayleigh Dray
11 Aug 2017

Soon you'll never run out of your favourite Lush products

We're total suckers for glittery bath water

by Megan Murray
10 Aug 2017

Reddit users reveal their best budget beauty buys

Prepare for your make-up bag, and your life, to be changed forever

by Megan Murray
08 Aug 2017