I think we have gone into hyperdrive when it comes to shaming. Relationship status, family size, breast size, breast feeding. You name it and we as humans have probably made other people feel bad about it. In our advertising messages, subliminal messages – hell even our text messages are guilty of flinging guilt. It has been passed down from generation to generation and I for one have grown tired of it while simultaneously growing proud of myself and my life choices.
When I was a child my mother told me stories of her painfully skinny childhood. To say the woman was thin would be an understatement. On her wedding day she was 5’10” and 125 pounds, and being thin has never been “IN” in the black community. She was always called string-bean, boney and hated her body growing up. Thick and curvy was in and because she was lacking she felt ashamed of something she had no control over.
Fast forward to the 1980’s when I was an awkward teen who stood 5’9″ by the time I was in the 9th grade. I, unlike my mother had hips, thighs and ass. You would think that the woman would be happy about that; but no. I remember heading to the coolie jar one too many times and having my mother squwak, “No body likes a fat girl.” What the hell man? What about wanting curves?? There was apparently a fine line between my healthy teen age weight and however she thought I would look after I ate two more Nutter Butters. The message I got from her was two more cookies equaled one single girl. I walked away from the cookies feeling ashamed and unattractive.
Why do we do this? Make our daughters doubt themselves one day; and expect them to be the first female president the next? Place an ad with an anorexic model next to an ad for the McDonalds Dollar Menu? Do we know the brain scrambling effect this can have on females of all ages?
My large frame was an asset in college when I rowed crew. At regatta’s I was short compared to other women there who stood 6 foot and higher. Women who row are big and strong and they are winners. The rush I got from being faster and stronger than male members of my team was a greater influence than my mother’s mixed messages. It was the foundation on which my self love was built.
It took a while to embrace the fact that I would tower over most men (and all of the women) in any room that I walked into. It took until I was well into my 30’s to wholeheartedly celebrate and flaunt the awesomeness that is the rest of me. If my size 12 body and size 11 feet are too much for you then you are definitely not enough for me. I will eat, drink and be merry and not hate myself in the morning for it. I will dress to flatter my body, not hide it.
Until we change the images and communications about what the female body should be, future generations of girls will continue to be screwed in the head. Do you work to improve positive body image of young women? Do you work to change what is deemed “beautiful” in this country? I’d love to hear from you.
It is not always easy to find positive messages of healthy bodies and diverse representations of women’s looks. Do you need some inspiration to boost your curvy pride?
- Follow my “Thick Girls” Pinterest board here.
- Visit the ultimate thick fashionista girl Gabi Fresh here
- Model and curvy girl Ashley Graham’s website can be seen here
- Ladies who wear sizes 10-32 can build their unlimited wardrobe here
- Visit the Girl with Curves website here
And for those who say that Meghan Trainor is guilty of skinny shaming in her song “All About That Base” I say – With everything us think girls deal with, we can have ONE SONG!!