The other day I was looking up some image for self love and I noticed something.
Do you see the pattern here? While I do appreciate the image of the women with different body types flaunting their beauty, all of these pictures are of white women (with the exception of Justin of course though his lesbian status is still debatable). When you look up pictures for self love and self care so many images come up with a slender woman jumping in the air next to the beach. Or maybe she’s sitting in some yoga pose with the sunsetting behind her on top of a mountain. What in the world does any of this have to do with loving yourself? What happens when you don’t look like any of these women at all?
As a woman of color I almost never see myself reflected in the marketing images that are supposed to include ALL women. Even in feminist spaces I often find that white women check all of the boxes in the body positivity, stretch marks, tattoos, piercings and body hair spectrums. Though I shouldn’t be surprised to see that this same message played out in the self-love realm, it still boggles my mind that not all races, ethnicities, and abilities are shown.
Even if you were to Google ‘female celebrities with real bodies’ you will find nothing but white women with bodies that most would consider to be outside of the average box. These are dangerous messages to send out to the world. As a mother of two beautiful black girls I constantly let them know that they are beautiful, amazing and worthy for simply existing. Yet even with all of the positive messages that I give they are still constantly bombarded with images that do not celebrate who they are. Which is why when I see pictures that are outside of the narrative that we are accustomed to seeing, I can’t help but rejoice.
There should be no standards of beauty for women to fit into. We should all be celebrated and appreciated for our individuality which in turn makes us stronger. I am still working on loving all aspects of my body. I even refuse to say ‘flaws and all’ because the things that would be classified as flaws are the things that are a part of my strength.
My stretch marks are from giving birth, my weight shows that I love food and my leg and underarm hair shows that I don’t want to spend countless hours every week shaving. I’d rather spend that time writing a new blog post or creating a piece of jewelry. Every part of me that someone may deem as unacceptable is a testament to the strength and power that my body has shown and I am constantly reminding myself of that. I’m still working on my facial hair though, can’t seem to let that one go.
So to all the women out there with hair, curves, rolls and stretch marks. Post your pictures, stand in your power and embrace your sisters. Let’s change the #loveyourself narrative to be one of inclusion rather than some unrealistic beauty standards.