Today I have to talk to you about a topic that tends to get me on my soap box and ruffles a few feathers. It started off innocently enough. I was reading an article about how plus size models are currently a novelty and don't receive equal respect or representation compared to their smaller sized competitors. But then, I did the the thing you should never do if you want to remain calm - read the comments. Let's just say, I wasn't adequately prepared for what came next.
There was a litany of hate, spite, and even seething anger. Many of the commentators lashed out about the photographs of plus size models featured in the article, in particular, a photo of a woman in her underwear who wore a size 22/24. One comment in particular is still seared into my brain. The person raged about the obesity epidemic and how it was the fault of fat, lazy slobs like this underwear model who glorified being sick and unhealthy. Moreover, how dare she pose her underwear? No one could ever find this disgusting sack of lard attractive. Fat people, the commentator noted, are biologically sexually undesirable.
First I was appalled by the hatefulness and over generalization of their statements, then, I had an epiphany. Internally, I had said every single one of those things to myself at some point while looking in the mirror and I know I'm not alone. For the longest time, I refused to buy "sexy" undies or wear lingerie, or even wear makeup and clothes that were beautiful because I did not feel beautiful. I did not deserve to feel beautiful and I absolutely was not sexy.
As women, we are constantly bombarded by images of what beauty is supposed to look like. We internalize what we are fed by the movies, television, advertisements and it permeates our lives carrying over into what we talk about with our girlfriends, how we view ourselves, and how we view the women around us. It has to stop and we have to be the change.
We are all sexual creatures, it's part of our genetic code and being overweight or having stretch marks or lumps doesn't suddenly erase that. You should not feel ashamed of your body or ashamed to feel sexy because what you see in the mirror doesn't match the lies you have been feed by the media. Because what that hateful commentator doesn't seem to realize is that there are people who find a size 22/24 woman in her underwear beautiful and sexy and desirable.
When you stop focusing on things like your weight and your lumps and your stretch marks and start focusing on things like your mental health and your happiness and your emotional well being, everything changes. Understand this - you are beautiful now not when. When I loose 20 pounds, when my abs are toned, when my thighs are smooth. No. Now. This very minute, you are beautiful, and sexy, and desirable. So go buy those scandalous underpants, or wear that sequin party skirt, or do that boudoir photo shoot. And next time you look in the mirror, strike a pose, you sexy beast.
I'm a blogger and educator breaking through stigmas and helping women find their voice.