I recently met a young girl who told me she didn’t like her hips. “They are just straight”, she complained. She had this look of disappointment written all over her. According to her, she wasn’t ‘feminine enough’. She, like many others, has accepted the concept of beauty as defined by the media.
Beauty. What exactly does it mean to be beautiful? The world has told us many things about beauty. Today, a beautiful person would, generally, be one with fuller breasts, a big posterior, a flat tummy and slim face. It is no surprise that there are many women who have gone undergone surgery to achieve this ‘perfect body shape’. Some have even died in the process. It begs the question: why? Why do we think that we must look a certain way to be beautiful?
For many women, especially younger women, accepting our bodies is a struggle. I know it was a struggle for me. And, in fact, if we are being honest, I still struggle sometimes too. Can I be downright honest with you? Even before I posted the picture above, I struggled. I kept thinking, do I look good in this? Won’t people think my head is this or that? Don’t I look too dark here? Should I use a picture where I look fairer? Then I had to remind myself of the things I’m sharing here. So hey! We all struggle. It’s a daily battle.
Back to the gist. When I was younger, I hated my height. Granted, the girls in the magazine were tall but not so tall so I felt I didn’t have the ideal height. I thought that maybe if I was a little shorter, I’d be more attractive. Then there was the struggle with my weight. I remember starving and exercising excessively to lose weight (not that I was obese). I just wanted to be skinny!
I know teenagers – young, beautiful teenagers- who are depressed because they do not look like Kim Kardashian. They would never post a picture without first editing it or filtering it. They want to be fairer. They want to be slimmer or curvier. They want their hair to be a certain way. They want their nose to be a certain way. They want their teeth to be a certain way. They want everything to be perfect, but what exactly is perfect? And who defines this standard of ‘perfection’?
Do you know that the concept of beauty is constantly changing? Centuries ago, beautiful women were the ones with bigger bellies (like massive bellies). Later on, we saw the definition change into skinny. Today, curvy is the goal. Who knows what it will be tomorrow? Lol. What a world!
Look, if you keep looking to the world to define beauty for you, you will NEVER be satisfied. We are all DIFFERENT. There is NO perfect body shape. Don’t let this world lie to you. As a matter of fact, many of the pictures of the ‘slay queens’ you see on the Gram have been greatly edited. Emphasis on greatly. Trust me, Photoshop does wonders. In fact, recently, some models started calling out magazines for editing their pictures and making them look ‘overly flawless’. I’ll leave a link to an article on this at the bottom of this post.
I know women who think that having the perfect body shape would make them more attractive. Though this is a false perception, I actually do understand. I mean, the men have also been made to believe that women should look a certain way in order to be categorised as beautiful. So, it’s not surprising to see some men put pressure on a woman or call her names because she’s not ‘endowed’ enough. I personally have had that experience before, and boy was it frustrating! Listen to me, if you have a man who constantly talks you down for not looking a certain way, maybe you need to reconsider your relationship with him. A man who loves you will not compare you to some warped ideal. Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean you should not make efforts to stay fit and healthy (we’ll discuss this soon), but don’t let anyone make you hate you. That’s not love; that’s manipulation.
Have you noticed that what’s beautiful to you might not be beautiful to someone else? I know some men who prefer slimmer women, some prefer chubby women, some prefer taller women, some petite women, some fair-skinned women, some dark women, some curvy women, some thin women, and so on. Beauty means different things to different people, and if you are worried that you won’t find a man because you don’t possess the ‘Kardashian Curves’, please, relax. You’ll find a man who will love you, and EVERYTHING about your body.
To balance things, please understand that staying fit and healthy is important. Looking good is important. If you think you need to lose some weight, please do so. I still believe that as women we ought to pay attention to how we look, and as much as loving and accepting yourself the way you are is important, we should still make efforts in ensuring that our bodies are cared for. Nevertheless, we should not compare our bodies to unrealistic standards and subject ourselves to undue pressure from the media.
Just so you know, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Your body is beautiful. We are different; our bodies are different. We can’t all look the same. God calls you beautiful. Believe it.
To that teenage girl reading this, I want you to know that your body is not weird. Do not bleach out your skin because you have been told that being fair-skinned will make you more attractive. God didn’t make a mistake when he made you dark. As much as you can, take care of yourself but don’t forget that a confident woman will always be more attractive. Choose to be that woman who is comfortable in her skin. Choose to be that woman who refuses to succumb to the pressure of social media and its fake ideals. Choose to be that woman who is also beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Let your beauty shine from within. You are beautiful. Tell yourself that every day. Filters or not, flaws and all, likes or not, you are a MASTERPIECE!
P.S: I started a podcast…yay!!! Now, you can hear my voice every week. I know. I know. Awesome stuff! I’ll also be talking about this topic in detail on my show. The name of the show is Candid Talk with Retta and it’s hosted on Anchor.fm. Just download the app and search for the show or tune in online anchor.fm
Want to reach out to me? (Please reach out me. I’d loooove to hear from you) Just send me a message via email at email@example.com.
Don’t forget to share this post with your friends, sisters, daughters (especially teenagers). We need to raise a generation of confident women who are comfortable in their own skin and whose standard of beauty comes from the Word of God! I love you guys! Thanks for stopping by.
P.P.S: Here’s the link to the article