The Craft of Contemporary Plus-Size Criticism
“You’re so brave.” “You’re pretty for a bigger woman.” Sadly, I’ve come across these double-edged comments and many more on plus-size women’s pictures way too often since I joined the social media community. They’re described as double-edged because although they appear to be compliments they are in fact hurtful to most. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for what us curvy femmes are used to hearing, or reading on an everyday basis from our followers, friends, and family, and bluntly, it has to stop.
Here’s the thing: every woman should be able to feel sexy, confident, and comfortable with their body no matter what shape, size, weight, height, or color they are. Saying that they’re pretty for a big girl suggests that their weight makes them generally less attractive. Contrary to popular belief, there isn't a “perfect” body type. Thin and tall aren't the standard you have to measure up to to be beautiful! They’re just adjectives, words that describe you. Own your words. Own your adjectives. They’re all beautiful because YOU are.
For most of us, visiting family or friends requires an extra ten minutes of preparing psychologically for all the “Did you loose some weight? You look way better.” “That shirt isn't flattering on your body type,” comments. Although some of them come from a place of concern and love, they’re not always received that way. Specially when you realize the people closest to you often care more about the way you look and what you’ve accomplished than how intelligent, strong, (insert a billion more attributes here), or kind you are. You should be able to wear that crop top, tight dress, or whatever you want; it’s your way to express yourself. Make you own rules, and go with what makes you feel best, not with what is pleasant to the world’s eyes.
On a similar note, being active, eating clean, and taking care of your body isn't tethered to “fit” people. Self-love belongs to everybody. It’s difficult to explain to people that I wholeheartedly appreciate my body. I love my curves, and the primary reasons I work out are to feel good, to become stronger, and to be healthier. In a world obsessed with perfection, I choose to be infatuated with the struggles of imperfection. The road to to self-love is never-ending; you stumble, you start comparing yourself to other women, you start to be cruel to yourself, to doubt your beauty and self worth, and that’s when you’ve got to take a step back and look at how far your body has brought you. Think of how you would feel about yourself if you didn’t have all these people telling you what you should look like, or how you should sound like. And after you do, be your most authentic self. Be whoever you want to be in this world, because you can.
We’ve taken a whole lot of steps in the right direction towards being kind and respectful to each other, but we still have a long way to go. This isn't the first, nor will it be the last, conversation we’ll have about self-love and body positivity. We can do better; we need to.