Have you ever looked at your body in the mirror? No, that is not a trick question. I mean, truly reserve a moment in each day to observe and appreciate every inch, every distinct mark, and curve that your body possesses. If your answer is no, why is that the case?
Could it be that you are insecure that you do not measure up to society’s beauty standards?
There is something interesting that I have noticed as it relates to the media portrayal of beauty and that is, how the goal post keeps shifting as it relates to what is the ideal figure.
Growing up, I have witnessed a lot of fuller girls being bullied for their bodies because they were bigger than the girls in their classrooms. They were treated like deviants because their image did not match everyone else’s. We are aware that kids can sometimes be quite cruel so it is not shocking that they would take the opportunity to mock these girls endlessly about the way that they looked. There were students who suffered quietly from depression and low self-esteem as a result.
I remember a particular case where a girl tried starving herself to cope. I remember a dear friend of mine who was teased for having a big breast and a small frame and as a result, she began to wear baggy clothes that hid her figure. Why do we do this to each other? What is there to be gained from making fun of another person’s physical features?
A smart lady once told me that people bully others to hide their own insecurities. I have found that to be very accurate as it was later revealed that the students who acted as bullies were suffering from their own insecurities. It turns out, we all have them but the insecurity itself is not the issue. It is the way that we deal with it that can determine if they develop into bigger problems for us.
With Netflix choosing to provide a platform for us to stream iconic black shows, it has stimulated a lot of conversation on social media about the body-shaming that was taking place in these 90s shows and how the characters that were labeled as big in that time would be labeled as average size by today’s standards. These discussions highlight the contrast between how women’s body was viewed in that time versus how society has evolved to embrace “thick” women and their features as appealing.
I watched an episode of “Moesha” for the first time and it was quite strange to me how Kim’s character was the butt of all the fat jokes in the show, there is at least a joke about her weight in every episode. I know it sounds like an exaggeration but that is not the case. These are things that we missed as children growing up but viewing it as an adult, you realize that the show has not aged well and how its discriminatory remarks are damaging to the self-esteem of girls everywhere. These degrading comments in the show about Kim were also completely unnecessary since there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way that she looks.
The truth is, I can sit here and preach to you about self-love and acceptance but none of it will resonate if you do not feel good about yourself. There is no one that can change how you feel about what you see in the mirror but you. Learning how to accept one’s self is an individual journey, and it takes time for the lesson to be learned. It is not something that can be crammed into your brain or forced upon you. However, I will say this, the first step is generally looking in the mirror and trying to appreciate all the positive things about your body as well as the things that you do not like. The features that we dislike about ourselves is just a reminder that none of us are perfect. Thankfully, perfection is not synonymous with beauty. It never was and it never will be.
However, if you are still uncomfortable with this feature despite everything that you just read and you realize that it can be worked on in a healthy way, just know that you also reserve the right to feel that way. So, if you take the path to change it, that is completely fine. It is your body so it will always be your choice.