The body acceptance movement has come a long way in the past few years. Between Ashley Graham gracing the cover of the SI: Swimsuit edition, to the success of Melissa McCarthy both cinematically and in the fashion world; plus size women are making serious waves in normalizing body types that aren’t typically shown in a positive light in media and the entertainment industry.
In this progression we’ve seen a resurgence in phrases like, “Curvy is the new skinny” or “A woman without curves is like jeans without pockets; you don’t know where to put your hands.” To girls who’ve grown up with the “thin is in” rhetoric constantly being thrown at their faces, phrases like this seem refreshing and even encouraging. They’ve been told that the way they exist is wrong their whole lives and suddenly they’re seeing themselves represented in a way that’s not the “funny but insecure best friend” or the “overly aggressive sidekick”.
But what do phrases like this tell girls who are the complete opposite? The girls who have always been tall and lean, who have athletic, muscular “runners bodies”, or the petite-in-every-way girls. When they’ve been told that they “have the body of a 12-year-old boy” or get told to “go eat a burger” or get called anorexic because they don’t gain weight despite trying really hard.
I have a really close friend who told me that she and another friend were talking casually about their insecurities when Other Girl told her that she wasn’t allowed to talk about her body insecurities with her because she’s thin. Do you know what that does to my friend and other people like her? It makes them feel less important, it trivializes their insecurities, and it makes them internalize their problems (which can cause serious mental health complications later on).
We don’t need to be in competition with each other to be or feel beautiful. We don’t even need to look a certain way to be or feel beautiful. Our bodies are not some sort of proclamation open for public discussion and scrutiny. We aren’t making a statement about the bodies of other by being comfortable in our own skin.
People also try to rationalize not judging others because “you don’t know what they’re going through” but that logic is also flawed. You shouldn’t judge others because they are human beings who didn’t ask for (or care about) your opinion.
“Just because she’s beautiful, it doesn’t mean you aren’t.”
Everyone has things about themselves, physical or otherwise, that they would like to change. We are evolving creatures that are constantly trying to grow and improve. It doesn’t help someone feel better about themselves to tell them that they are wrong about how they feel. Listen to each other, build each other up, validate each other, love each other, and try to start loving yourself just as much.
There is no wrong way to have a body and it’s time we remind ourselves and each other that. Every body is as beautiful and powerful as the soul that it contains.