Above the Curves: My take on representations of the female body.

So I’m sitting here thinking about how I have been subconsciously affected by media representations of the female body. I, a curvy 5’0″ young woman with an athletic build, look far from what the media chooses to represent to the masses as the “ideal figure.” A few days ago, I stumbled upon a show called Curvy Girls on nuvoTV and I was absolutely inspired. So much that I am still thinking about it today. The purpose of the TV show is to show the public that the fashion industry is more than just a place for stick-thin girls who have unhealthily low self-esteem. Another purpose of the show is to eradicate the barriers between the reality of what full-figure modeling and what peopleĀ think it is. Another is to show the perspectives of women of color (mainly Black and Latina) in the fashion industry.

From the show, I realized that my notions of what it was were incorrect. I learned that plus-sized models still have to exercise, eat healthy foods, and maintain a certain body image in order to find work. I was completely shocked to find that smaller plus-sized models are discriminated against in the full-figure fashion industry, and it changed my self-image for the better. I realized that there will always be people who are going to love you for your unique physical attributes and people who are going to loathe them. Either way, it doesn’t matter because it should have no bearing on how you see yourself. I used to gauge my level happiness on how many compliments I received on my outfit, how many stares I got from men, or how many compliments I got from my peers. Now, none of those things can even measure to the approval that I receive from God when He tells me how proud he is of me that I can finally be content with the way that he created me. There is no one on this planet that looks like me, and that is something that I now realize that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I never thought that I would show this picture to a large number of people because I have been ashamed to look at it for the past couple of years since it was taken. I was ashamed of my curves, ashamed of my flab, ashamed of my imperfections.

I can now say that for the first time in my life, I am making peace with my body. I understand that I should never strive to achieve the “perfect” body. Why? Because it doesn’t exist. Rather than focusing on how I can lose weight or how to reach a certain number in a certain number of weeks/months, I should put my energy into eating right and presenting myself in a flattering and positive manner. There is no monolithic concept of perfection. As women, we should all come to the realization that we are the way that we are because that was God’s plan for our lives. All you can do is be your bestĀ self, not strive to be the curviest or the thinnest or wear the smallest clothing size.