Body positivity and the beautiful girl

My body is none of your business. Your body is none of my business. Our bodies shouldn’t be the foundation of anyone’s business, though increasingly they are. Mainstream media says we are too fat, The fringe Counters with too thin. Instagram groups us into hashtags, #midsize #skinnygirls #smallfat #plusize #superplussize and so on, whilst retailers see us as faceless demographics. As women the expectation is, we hate our bodies. Regardless of weight, shape or skin colour we come into this world the product of those that came before us, our form largely preordained. We are raised with an ever expanding list of personal flaws and instead of learning to love and live with the things we can’t change, we are sold solutions and surgeries, diets and control pants, wigs and lipsticks and all manner of other accoutrements to make us more “normal”.
I met a young woman at an event last year, I assumed we were of a similar age. She was well dressed and very beautiful but her perfect face bore one obvious flaw, her lips were uncomfortably swollen and placed across her face at an awkward angle, the left side of her mouth turned precariously downward, toward her chin. She breezily apologised for the “state of my face, terrible fillers, waiting to get them fixed”.
When I got home I googled her, I discovered to my shock she was more than 10 years my junior and the beautiful 19 year old in her earlier pictures bore not even a passing resemblance to the 21 year old who spoke so breezily about a surgical error.
I know grown women who won’t remove their make up or their clothes in front of a lover or a partner because they are so petrified of almost certain revulsion toward their fat body, lack of breasts, uneven skin tone. It comes from our mothers, our friends, the magazines we read and the films we watch. The author Elizabeth day lived like Gwyneth Paltrow for a week and by all accounts the thankless, joyless monotonous and arduous work that goes into looking like an ageless screen goddess is not for us mere mortals it’s far cheaper and much more fun to learn to love what you’ve got. Paint it with glitter, wear expensive lingerie, wear a pair of curtains. Cut your hair grow your hair, dye it green if that’s your thing. Exercise if it makes you feel good and if it makes you feel bad dont. Enjoy food, enjoy sex, revel in being naked. Don’t compare yourself to others. Always remember a public face is generally a polished one, and for the girls who make their living on Instagram it’s literally their job.
We talk a lot about self love and body positivity, but much of the discussion surrounding it is formulaic and often weighted in the direction of a particular group. Forget the memes brimming with hollow sentiment and the diamanté encrusted signs to hang above your scales. The journey to acceptance begins with self empathy and ends in self love, but it’s a deeply personal one, and one you must make alone.

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