When I was a 16-year-old teenager, I was teased at school for a having a slightly bigger butt than was proportionate to my otherwise petite body.
Back then, I also had a neighbor who was a few years older than me and an avid body building fan who opened up the world of fitness to me. I joined a gym and started my lifelong pursuit for washboard abs. In my head, I had images of Janet Jackson as she was in the 90s and Britney Spears when she was in her prime Models in bikinis also encouraged me in my quest to achieve the perfect summer body.
But I was never really happy with my body. My abs were never toned enough and I always felt that I should be doing more to get into ‘perfect’ shape.
Then, various periods of serious stress induced severe weight loss in me and once again I struggled to accept my body. I was then teased for being too skinny and told that I looked like a skeleton with clothes. I returned to the gym but this time it was to gain some healthy body weight, not acquire a perfect shape.
A tweet about body positivity
You will never look like the girl in the magazine.
Even the girl in the magazine doesn’t look like the girl in the magazine.
— Resolve Health Coaching & Body Image Allies (@BodyImageAlly) 24. Januar 2018
Fast forward a decade later, I was happily married to the husband of my dreams, but I still hated my body. This time, I was struggling to lose post-pregnancy belly fat. I even told my husband that we would not try for another child until I had my abs back. I struggled to accept my new “mum body”. I wanted to be like the ‘Instagram mums.’ I wanted my body to bounce back to its pre- pregnancy figure immediately, but this didn’t happen. No matter how much I tried, some parts are still wobbly and far from toned.
But as I continued to hate my body, I discovered an online trend that sat well with me – there was a sudden surge in body positive images of women. Women of all shapes and sizes who embraced and celebrated their own bodies. I tried to free myself from hating my body because it did not look photoshopped. I tried to make peace with the fact that there might never be a gap between my thighs again and that my toned abs had been replaced by soft rolls of insulation. This was helped by the fact that my daughter loves this part the best.
A tweet about body positivity
However you choose to style yourself, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
Check out @planetprudence! https://t.co/TDHIZGQcKu#bodypositivity #bodyimage #bodyimageallies #coaching #healthcoaching #bodyimagecoachinghttps://t.co/w5FwKDNGDN pic.twitter.com/QTJq7sHlYX
— Resolve Health Coaching & Body Image Allies (@BodyImageAlly) 15. Januar 2018
It’s hard for us women to deconstruct all the messages we’ve told ourselves over the years, regarding how we feel about our bodies. And while the body positive image movement is encouraging for feminism and every woman out there, it is very simply about accepting your body the way it is. Because let’s face it, in some places, like my home country South Africa women are all kinds of curvy and voluptuous and so damn beautiful. No amount of exercise is going to re-sculpture their bodies into hourglass figures. We women have to acknowledge that our bodies are all different and this is OK! If we embrace our curves, it will be liberating.
This flies against the distorted pressure and messages we receive from society and media that are bodies are not good enough, and that we need to attempt every diet fad and fill our days with hot yoga and sweaty sessions at the gym, and only then will we be happy. However, when you’ve lived widely enough to experience both overweight and skinny, flab and washboard abs you realize that happiness isn’t confined to how your body looks but rather a choice and a state of mind. So stay body positive: YOU decide what works for you! Your body, your choice!
Author: Sarona Wolter
Editor: Anne Thomas
“If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business?”
I chanced upon the quote above by Dr. Gail Dines, (Professor Emerita of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts) while scrolling through my friends’ pictures on Instagram on 1 January.
Summer is finally upon us in the northern hemisphere. With rising temperatures, clothes are getting scantier, regular bodies are being exposed to the critical eyes of the tabloid press and those who prey on our insecurities. This in turn has led to the next head-scratching body trend.
Date26.01.2018 | 19:39