As a child, I distinctly remember a friend of mine observing “Wow, you’re butt is kind of big”. It is true – even as a child I was curvy. I was nowhere near what many would refer to as ‘fat’ (whatever meaning that word has for you) but my hips were/are slightly bigger than those of my friends’, my waist has always been small, my thighs are rather large (in comparison to my waist) and my bottom (yes I’m going there again) is on the bigger side. And in that moment I felt really self-conscious. Her remark was in no way meant to be harmful, it was nearly an observation – but still – that comment has shaped me for the better part of 10 years.
I’ve always been content with my body, but there still are those few (or maybe even many) things that you don’t feel as proud about as others. It’s normal to have certain issues with your body, especially as a teenager. I don’t know of a single person my age who doesn’t struggle with body image, even more so now that social media has taken over the world. For years, I would see these beautiful, thin models in ads or commercials and it was engraved in my mind that I should look like that. But unlike some of my friends, who grew up to be exactly that type – the leggy blonde beautiful model-esque type – I was simply curvy. I’m not saying I’m not beautiful; because I am. Everyone is beautiful (yes yes I know this post sounds like a jumbled mix of cliche lines but some of them just tend to be true).
About 2 years ago I became aware of the Kardashian family and at first I wasn’t sure what to think. “Famous with absolutely no talents”, “superficial”, “fake family”,… these are the first words and phrases the media was reporting about them. But something about them intrigued me. They looked absolutely stunning and they had curves. Real curves. I never considered curves to be beautiful before that. The way they dressed to enhance their curves, to show them off and not to hide them impressed me. It really impacted me. I started following them on social media and every time a new photo would pop up I would get this boost of confidence.
And around that same time curves became popular. They were accepted. Think of Nicky Minaj, Beyonce, JLo, Black Chyna, Amber Rose,… All of these women. All of these people so many teenagers look up to were changing the way we thought of our bodies. I became more aware and started dressing the way I wanted to dress as opposed to wearing baggy t-shirts and oversized sweaters/cardigans to hide my wide hips. I became the most confident I have ever been in my body because the Kardashians – mainly Kim Kardash – opened my eyes. For the first time I was truly comfortable in my body.
And this movement as I like to call it has been going strong for a while now. I’m not only talking about how my self perception evolved but also how the media and others in general view curves. People will now come up to me and say “I wish I had your curves” – something that would have never happened a couple of years ago. In a way, curves are the new skinny.
Advocates like Ashley Graham prove that this is not a trend that will pass – this is an evolution. We are on the path of changing our whole entire perception of others; our way of thinking about others. We are trying to eliminate stereotypes embedded into our society, social norms and expectations we try to live up to…
STOP THE BODY SHAMING. It’s 2016. We should be able to embrace all body types and shapes, no matter the size. But you see, body types and shapes are just the problem here – for there should not be a certain category our appearance is shoved into. Our body should simply just be a body. Our body.