I think it’s safe to say we all struggle with body image, whether you’re a boy, a girl, undecided, alien, unicorn… We’re all told what we should look like, how we should be, and if we’re not feminine enough or masculine enough. The media pumps out images of rail-thin models with perfect locks and super-muscular men with glistening pectorals and killer grins.
If you couldn’t tell, I’ve been thinking about body image lately. I hit a snag in my getting healthier plan (I’m unhappy at the weight I’m at and would like to lose some of it) and with the snags come the unhealthy thoughts and the negative emotions.
The pressure we put on ourselves in ridiculous. It’s part of the reason I started belly dancing. I wanted to love my body and feel empowered. After five years of dancing, I am super flexible (hello third-position Turkish folds!) and I’ve maintained my size while my weight changed. There are still things I don’t like. I don’t like that my knees ache from added weight (and a job that requires me to stand around all day). I don’t feel I look my best in most clothes.
Lately, I’ve been getting more involved in the pin-up community. I love my winged liner and victory rolls. Though women weren’t treated so wonderfully, the fashion trends were built for girls like me: curvy, boobtastic girls who want to look their best without looking like whores. Today’s styles are lacking and for some reason designers only make attractive clothes for the thinner sect of women.
I think it’s odd how times have changed the ideal of beauty from curves to straight lines and angles and how opposed the media is to celebrating every body. I wanted to be a belly dancer, yet I’m not ok showing my stomach to a room full of women I considered my sisters. As an adult, I still feel pressured by photoshopped images and airbrushing despite campaigns making a point to embrace all body types. It’s nonsense.
An image shouldn’t have that much power over anyone. Don’t let them call you skinny, but don’t let them call you fat either.