It’s no secret that society holds unrealistic standards for women’s bodies. She has to be shaped like a coke bottle. Thick thighs but no cellulite or stretchmarks. She can be a BBW only if she has a flat stomach and tiny waist. Big boobs but they can’t be saggy. Absolutely no kind of body hair.
The list just goes on and on. What kills me is that people will hound women about their natural bodies so hard but then turn around and ask why so many women are insecure about their bodies. Or even better, they put these unrealistic beauty standards on women and then chastise those same women for going under the knife and getting cosmetic work done. “We want your natural body!” they yell right after they made fun of your natural body. That’s how it always goes.
As a response to society’s negative standards set against women’s bodies, the “body posi” movement came about. So many women began to flood the hashtag with photos of them flaunting their bodies–whether it be naked, half naked or covered. Regardless, the hashtag has been going strong for almost a year now. Naturally, considering how the world regards women who love themselves, the hashtag has come with a lot of backlash.
“Stop using body positivity to be a hoe.” “You don’t have to be naked to love your body.” “Ya’ll just using body posi and feminism as an excuse to be a hoe.”
Blah. Blah. Blah.
What’s funny is that people tend to only focus on the half naked pictures in the body posi tag and “neglect” to acknowledge that a good portion of the women who post under the tag are fully clothed. I guess that doesn’t fit their “body posi is just about getting naked” narrative. They’re also too busy harping on the women posting under the tag that they “neglect” to see that the tag has been used by men and non-binary folks too but anyway, I digress…
First off, a woman does not need an “excuse” to practice agency over her body. She doesn’t need to explain her relationship with her body nor does she have to show love to her body in a way that makes *you* comfortable. A woman’s body positivity isn’t about *you* and what *you* think. It’s about her becoming comfortable with her body despite society telling her she can’t because her body isn’t deemed “beautiful” or acceptable.
What gets me is that people act as if nudity is completely irrelevant to body positivity. If we’re talking about how proud we are of our bodies, posting pics of your body in all its glory…makes…sense… It’s relevant. Regardless of relevancy, if a woman decides to post pics of her body, that’s her prerogative and if you don’t wish to see, mute and keep it scrolling. The fact that people take time and energy to tell women–they don’t even know–how they should and shouldn’t express their self-love is absolutely telling. It shows how entitled people are to women and women’s bodies. It shows how a woman owning her body is a revolutionary act.
People willfully ignore the diversity of the body posi tag because they’d rather harp on women who do not wish to be “modest” in expressing their love for their bodies. A woman does not have to be “modest” about her self-love. You’ll deal.
Someone said to me on Twitter that if a woman’s primary way to show love for her body is by posting half naked pictures on social media they have bigger issues to worry about. I chuckled when I saw that. Where do I even begin with that?
First off, again, who are you to tell a woman how she should or shouldn’t express her love for her body? How do you know there are “bigger issues to worry about” when you don’t even know her as a person? Or are you just going off the whole “immodest women just want to fill a void with sexuality and attention because they’re lacking in self-love” misogynist mumbo jumbo? Do you even care about her self-love and self-image or do you just want to police her and make her fit into your standards of respectability? Some women are so proud of their bodies, they want to show it off to the world. Some women are so proud of their bodies, they’d rather keep it to themselves. Neither are wrong. They’re just different ways to express love for one’s body.
A woman flaunting her body or expressing her sexuality does not mean she doesn’t love herself. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t respect herself. It ever occur to you that she’s flaunting her body because she loves it? We’ve demonized the human desire for wanting attention. Yes, some women do crave attention. It only becomes an issue, in my opinion, when her self-love is dependent upon that attention. But just because a woman craves attention, doesn’t mean she’s filling a void. She still loves herself, she just likes when others are appreciative of the view too. It ever occur to you that her way of showing respect to her body is by holding no constraints to her sexual expression? People have successfully turned the term “self-respect” into “I’m measuring you by my own standards.”
At the end of the day, policing a woman’s self-love is not only misogynistic but it’s also intrusive. You have no place to tell a woman how she can express herself and her appreciation for her body. It isn’t about you and your standards. It’s about her feeling whole in the body she’s in. And guess what? You’ll. Deal.