Let's talk about body image issues here for a second. This is an issue that has become more mainstream to discuss with the recent “Big is Beautiful” campaign. Though the vast majority of BBW women simply have a few extra pounds, there are cases of the morbidly obese being celebrated, like SSBBW. This is a subcategory of BBW, and stands for "super sized big beautiful woman". These women are often 400+ pounds, and clearly have physical side effects caused by their weight. Alongside campaigns that advocate for women with curves, there are also movements like Pro-Ana, that glamorize the lifestyle of skin-and-bone anorexic and bulimic women. All this begs the question: at what point does being accepting and uplifting of other women start to become enabling them to lead an unhealthy lifestyle?
The answer is simple in my mind, and it comes down to one thing, and that is health. It's funny to think that for the most part, women who exercise neurotically to the point of damaging their bodies aren't doing so to get healthier or stronger, but to fit the image of ideal beauty they have in their heads. Obsessive and unhealthy behavior manifests itself in many ways, and it all depends on their specific image of ideal beauty.
To look like the skin-and-bone fashion models, girls as young as ten are starving themselves, going on water fasts, and eating cotton balls in orange juice. To look like the next reality TV star, women are doing 600 squats a day just to get a Kim K butt. Will it make them stronger? Yes, if they don't over do it and hurt their muscles and knees. Women who identify as BBW sometimes intentionally over-eat, to make their curves even bigger. They should be eating enough to satiate themselves, not stuffing till their stomach hurts. Extreme measures to alter the appearance of your body is never healthy, physically or mentally.
That being said, every woman has a unique build specific to her own body. A combination of genetics, metabolism, and lifestyle will determine her “default” weight. So, while the runway models do workout and diet, these girls are naturally inclined to be thin. Ever had a friend that would inhale food and never put on any weight? That's them. Others have a natural pear shape, and have that sought-after booty without even trying. I for one am tall enough to be a model, but I have always been the same build- proportionately distributed fat and muscle that just makes me a curvier person, and I'm okay with that.
That is the key here- to recognize your unique body shape and accept it. Accepting something, as a general term, means to take as is, and not try to drastically change it. I remember being in middle school, being taller than all the boys and wishing I could be teeny-tiny like most of my girl friends. It wasn't until high school that I embraced my height and my curves as something that were a part of me.
Once you have accepted your God-given form, you truly start to get a sense of respect and gratitude towards it. I learned to appreciate my strength and long stride that gets me where I need to go. With that respect we take pride in nourishing and taking care of our bodies, and we do that with exercise and eating right. With health comes happiness, a radiating glow, and a sense of accomplishment for making our bodies stronger.
Accept your body's natural state, don't try to force it to become something new entirely. Focus on being able to do things, like push-ups, or running a mile without stopping. When you do this, gratitude and love for your body will skyrocket.
I observe & write about society & culture.