We are living in the 21st century and everything is being defined for us. Depending on where you live, words like beauty have got meaning attached to them. Beauty now comes in particular sizes and specific body shapes, which means that those that don’t fit into the preferred category are simply not beautiful? With being judged by how you look happening every single day, finding and being our own kind of beautiful is something we need.
Research has it that only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful, 8 out of 10 are unhappy with their bodies, 68% of them feel worse after looking in a women’s magazine and 40% of men are unhappy with their appearance too. In my younger days, beauty at school was based on body sizes and skin colour. In school plays, the good roles of a queen or a bride were given to those who matched these standards. So if you were fat or dark skinned, the only roles that you would play were those of a night dancer or a witch.
This way of thinking would later grow with us, affecting our perceptions on beauty. Being fat and dark skinned came to mean being ugly, which then led to discomfort and self hatred – where a touch of extreme self belief was what you held on to. As a result, some people end up bleaching their skin just do that they can be accepted by society. On the other hand, others are beautiful because society sees slimmer women more acceptable than those that are fat.
Though I believe we are all beautiful, the reality has slapped most of us in our faces, making it hard to fit in certain places where our thickness, colour, body type, stretch marks, and big lips are not accepted. What’s more burgling, is that seamstresses can’t also seem to tailor plus size clothes (only fat people will understand this)!! Shifting from such a narrative can be extremely tiring and needs utmost patience and belief.
But since the year is still in it’s early stages, and a year of self-care at that, it’s about time we started creating our own standards of beauty which we are comfortable with. It is okay to have a big waist, thick body, small or big breasts, a chubby face, and definitely also okay to have saggy breasts. Most importantly, stop worrying about what others might think, wear that dress without limitations, show off those wrinkles unapologetically – glow without fear.
I hope through reading this, you have been encouraged to stop idealising the notion of a clear skin and beach body ready, because beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colour. Being yourself and accepting who you are is simply being beautiful.
*Salha Kaitesi is co-author.