Mkay. I’m back.
I’d like to say that my month-ish hiatus from blogging is because I was traveling the world to find myself, or to understand the meaning of life. But, truth be told, I was just too conflicted on how to present the topic of this post.
So, I’ll come out with it.
I got lip injections.
Overall, I struggled with not how to present this relatively uninteresting detail about myself, rather than if I should. Do I talk about the actual procedure? Meh. Do people truly care that I even had a cosmetic enhancement? No. Probably not. But, the more that I mulled over how to approach my experience, the more it became apparent that I was struggling with my mantra of body positivity, while simultaneously surrendering to society’s checklist of the ideal female body.
I asked myself, can one still promote female body positivity and yet, look in the mirror and want desperately to change a laundry list of characteristics? Do I exist as a contradiction to scream from the crowd that all ladies should love and embrace their bodies? But at the same time, creating a budget to determine how much I would need to save for Botox? Is body positivity and the desire to alter your physique mutually exclusive?
It sure felt like it.
GROWING UP GIRL
Being a girl in today’s world is difficult. Though, society’s beauty demands have been strong since Eve got hungry.
When I was in middle-school, I remember watching the Titanic scene where Rose’s mother, Ruth, laces her tightly in the corset. The audience is well-aware at this point, how disgusted and unhappy Rose is not only in her relationship with Cal, but the expectations set before her for simply being a woman. “Of course it’s unfair. We’re women. Our choices are never easy,” Ruth’s cutting words are a statement to bring Rose back down to reality. Rose turns around and Ruth resumes her motherly duties to ensure her daughter’s waist is as tiiinnnnyyy as it can be…even if it means one of her lungs may collapse. Rose winces with each taunt tug. I remember thinking . . . I’m so glad women don’t have to wear those things anymore.
Have to. Even in middle school, my mind was already clouded with a version of what an ideal woman should look like. I think we’ve all been Rose at some point in our life. Wincing in pain as we sauntered through the room in heels too small or too big. Relaxing your hair because God-forbid you had to explain what it meant to go natural. Shaving your legs when you were 12 years old because your olive skin contrasts with your hair and girls can be quite mean. Wearing Spanx to hide the ever so slight bit of pudge for an hourglass figure and just. fucking. miserable.
But, we believe we have to.
Social media is often criticized for saturating newsfeeds with unrealistic expectations of the female physique. An equally powerful force, body positivity, stands as the hero to combat the narrow standards.
Body positivity is a movement that empowers men and women to celebrate their bodies and appearance and still acknowledging their self-worth. It is the idea that your identity is not associated to how you look. Love who you are, in the body you are in, without hesitation and without apologizing. On the surface, it is a message that seemingly cannot be flawed. It is essentially the millennial reincarnation of “Beauty is what is on the inside.”
Sometimes I really think that branding and marketing is just recycling old phrases and adding a hashtag . . . but what do I know.
The problem with body positivity is that there can be misconceptions and double standards that can result in the movement creating the very feelings it seeks to destroy.
Truth be told, when I had my lips enhanced I received little negativity. At least not to my face. Sure, there were a few people that would look at wide-eyed and say, “Ugh! WHYYY would you want to do that?”
Bitch, because I want to.
I liked the idea of having fuller lips to apply makeup, a passion I enjoy, though not necessarily good at. I believed that a bigger pout would make my narrow face look a bit more proportionate, especially from my side profile.
“But, you don’t need them. Don’t do that. Just accept yourself for who you are.” Says the person that doesn’t know their own hair color since sixth grade.
Here’s the thing. Honest hour. Sit down. We need to talk.
The double standard with body positivity and cosmetic procedures is that there is some judgmental gossiping that can be difficult, yet obvious to spot at the same time. Highlighting your hair and contouring your face is okay but, getting new titties and lip injections is where the line is drawn. If you love yourself and your body, then the areas that you wish to change should be ignored. You just need to chant your way to acceptance. Why is that?
Body positivity has become complicated, especially when you’re trying to articulate and identify emotions that may conflict with the message of body-image acceptance. Branding and marketing unfortunately does not make the conversation any easier, especially when the underlying messages to women suggests, you should love your body, but really you can’t possibly like the way you look now. You should look like THIS girl and THEN you’ll achieve ultimate body acceptance Nirvana. Now sign up for our monthly subscription for just . . . blah, blah, blah.
We live in a world, despite even the best hashtags, that demands and constructs women must look a certain way, I believe there is an opportunity to champion the core values of #bopo, while not completely condemning those that wish to alter their looks to make themselves feel better.
SELF LOVE AND BIG LIPS
So, I think it is important to expand the idea of body positivity and recognize that a person can very much feel confident with who they are, today, but also have a desire to want to have Kim Kardashian’s ass.
First and foremost, it is a ridiculous expectation that any of us will love ourselves every second, of every day. Some days I put on makeup and I think . . .why did I even get up? Other days, I am sorely disappointed that no one commented on my dress and the fact I gave a shit about my hair. Bitch, I look good! It’s just not possible and it’s not supposed to be.
To be body positive, you have to accept that your appearance and how you feel about how you look is separate from your self-worth as a person. On the days that you feel like a busted can of biscuits (totes there today) you do not deserve any less respect. How you look does not excuse you to be a dick. Be a decent human and be kind and love others. I think that it is the Bible somewhere.
You can love your body today, and still work toward your goal of losing weight or getting a nose job. The core of this movement is that you should do it for you. No one else. No amount of plastic surgery or Botox will make your relationship better. If your significant other is suggesting you change your looks or they will leave . . .
Hunty. . .
Go ahead and open the door for him/her to leave. Seriously. Do not let someone else crush you to feel powerful.
What another female chooses to do with her own body is her own business. People that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, remember?
In her book, The Beauty Myth, writer Naomi Wolf explains, “Her love for her body will be unqualified, which is the basis of female identification. If a woman loves her own body, she doesn’t grudge what other women do with theirs; if she loves femaleness, she champions its rights.”
Beyond looks and putting on a bikini when you are larger than a size 8, the body positivity movement has to extend to be more than about looks. Wolf highlights the gap that exists in #bopo today: It has to be inclusive of those that otherwise are marginalized in our society. All bodies should be accepted and that is inclusive of dark-skinned, disabled and without regard to sexual orientation. It is going beyond the narrow focus of media labeling something as body positive, while still discriminating those that don’t meet the standard. It is about inclusively.
Be a champion for another woman. Be a cheerleader for wanting to feel better about yourself. Be an advocate for self-love and self-worth without the toxicity of judgement.
And love yourself too. . .