For those of you unfamiliar with the term, body positive is all about embracing your body as is – flaws and all. The concept sounds easy in theory, but in practice, it can prove to be a bit of a struggle since we are constantly being bombarded with images of unrealistic beauty standards in the media.
Although I am a self-proclaimed fitness bunny, my battle with body positivity varies from the usual “I need to loose a few pounds,” instead, it comes from – dare I say it – skinny shaming.
Yes, skinny shaming is a thing.
You see, it is often assumed that people who are slim automatically have body confidence and are therefore never subjected to being body shamed or feelings of insecurity about their body. This is simply untrue.
Growing up as a skinny teenage girl – please note that ‘skinny’ is never a compliment – come with its negatives when you are from a community that praises larger women.
Not living up to the stereotypical black girl features of beautiful curves and a ‘big black booty,’ in many ways, made me feel that I was lacking as a woman. It led to my obsession with becoming an avid gym goer and doing an excessive amount of lunges and squats in a helpless attempt to build my bum and make so called booty gainz.
I’m now pushing into my thirties and dealing with being hairier than I was growing up (as if having starving black girl card wasn’t enough😑). I’ve become increasingly fearful of having to deal with the dreaded changes that occur in a woman’s body around menopausal age – early menopause, eh? Just another thing to add to my growing list of irrational fears and phobias….
Overall, my body confidence journey has been a rollercoaster of happy tears and sad ones. I’ve had moments when I channelled my inner Emily Ratajkowski and thought “You look good girl,” while looking at my naked reflection, and I’ve had times when I couldn’t bear to even look at my skin in the mirror.
Thankfully, I’ve met some wonderful women of varying shapes and sizes that have helped me come to the realisation that body changes are normal and more importantly, there isn’t just one type of body that exists for women – regardless of your skin colour. Being a black woman doesn’t mean having big lips or a ‘big booty,’ it just means being a woman.
Women are not homogenous creatures, we are all individuals with unique features.
It took me decades to realise this and I am finally happy to be at a place where I recognise it is impossible to be one hundred percent body confident 100% of the time. There will be days when we feel good and days when we don’t. It’s just the reality of it. As long as we remember that it is less about fitting into a specific box and more about creating your own box of what being a beautiful woman means to you.
So today, I wanted to celebrate female bodies of all shapes and sizes for the simple reason that being body positive is not about everyone looking a monolithic way. It is about embracing the beauty in the differences. Whether you are softer in some areas or are constantly on the lookout for skin improving products, you don’t have to have one look to be body positive or have body confidence.
These are women who I have met in the past or know personally. I feel that they exemplify true body positivity. I’ve asked them about everything from skin problems to maintaining body confidence to perception of female bodies during motherhood.
Thank you to all the beautiful women for getting involved in this. But most of all, thank you ladies for being you 🙂
1. Brooke Moore
I’ve been thin, I’ve been fat, I’ve been in good shape and I’ve been out of shape. We are so hung up on body image but whose body stays the same their whole lives? It’s so important to love your body at every stage of your life. If you’re lucky enough to live a long life it will change 100s of times.
2. Rachel Martin
Normally I would edit a photo like this to give me a ‘better’ shape but I decided not to – there’s no reason to hide! ‘It doesn’t matter what size you are, it doesn’t matter if things juggle where they’re not supposed to. That’s still beautiful #ashleygraham
3. Nadine Reid
I learned to walk each day with courage and the belief that I am beautiful. Not one person has ever told me otherwise, why would they? I am beautiful, kind, talented, joyful and some days fabulously stunning. I pray every woman can beleive in their beauty too, it is a life changing feeling.
Love the skin you’re in. No matter what shade it throws your way. This thick layer of white, beige, yellow, pink, chocolate, mahogany, whatever coloured, elastic stuff protects you. So take care of it.
5. Rosee Daisy Byrne
It’s really hard [to post these photos] but I’ve learned to not give a s**t somehow!
Always focus on yourself and your own progress. What works for me may not work for others. Your body is beautifully unique and responds and develops differently. So admire but never compare!
7. Aicha Salif
I think social media and celebrities expect you to have a quick snap back after birth and celebrities make it worse. They have the time and money to get their body “right” and then lie to people that it’s all natural. And also, people judge you for dressing a certain way once you’re a mum. They expect you to be more covered up and wholesome looking. There’s constant judgment about the right and wrong way to be a “good” mum. Eventually I just looked at my kids and realised they are happy and healthy kids. They love me for me regardless of how I look.
8. Jen Morris
Steps to the perfect bikini body are as follows: 1. Have a body 2. Put a bikini on it. Do I have the perfect body, no! Do I own my curves, you betcha!
And my final two gals who are also kindred spirits with Emily Ratajkowski and embrace nakedness….
9. Funmi Obadeyi
There is some huge problem with body confidence that I don’t seem to relate with. I’m so happy in my body, if anyone thinks I don’t look amazing due to whatever, F them! So please speak it out to these girls that they are beautiful the way they are and no one is perfect.
10. Deborah Bux
Fake it till you make it!
These women are all living proof that there is more than one look that can attribute to body positivity, the beauty lies in the differences.
I came across a quote on Twitter recently that has stuck with me since, ‘if tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, think about how many industries would go out of business.’
The problem doesn’t lie with your body, it lies with the people who profit from convincing you that’s where the problem lies.
To follow these beautiful ladies on Instagram, click on their photos 💗