Am I "Woman" Enough?
As I sit on the couch finalizing my vision board, I cannot help searching for an absurd amount of squat challenges and “how to“ posts on getting hips and a bigger butt, or what can I possibly eat tonight that can make my C cups grow into DD’s. This obsession with my weight and lack of curves is hardly new. I vividly remember hating “boyfriend“ jeans as a teenager because wearing something baggy totally went against whatever hot look I was aiming for. I also remember being really jealous of my beautiful, youthful mother because she looks so feminine and curvy in her skinny jeans and hoodie while I looked like a young boy right before he hit puberty in mine (you can laugh). But what is the root cause? I am not in the habit of blaming social media for my body dysmorphia or discrediting the art of plastic surgery to boost my self-esteem, but it is a question I find myself pondering.
I take full accountability for my feelings, but when I mentioned writing this piece on Twitter I was shocked by the number of “HELL YES’s” I received. So, I figured I could at least write a stream of consciousness in hopes that someone else relates, and realizes it’s not a solo battle.
I don’t have THE answer, but I have realized that I associate hips, thighs, and big breasts with femininity. Though I said I won’t play the blame game, I can’t help but notice how the majority of society does the same. Many men often debate with each other whether breasts or butt is the better body part. Many women spend thousands of dollars on gym memberships or plastic surgery to enhance body parts that will make the dress or whatever else fit like a curvy glove, or to make them feel better in some form or fashion. I then reflect on the times I felt my sexiest, and it’s usually when I was in the gym 6 days per week lifting weights like I was getting paid to do so.
I guess I should have disclosed earlier that this is not the feel good, ten steps, affirmative piece you may be accustomed to from this site. As a 20-something woman these are things that I am currently exploring and trying to understand for myself. Wondering if my hip bone hurts my boyfriend when we cuddle, feeling really bad for the babies I hold because I don’t have pillow top boobs for them sleep on, or buying jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch because they fit well but don’t make me look like a stick. I may be working overtime to make this post lighthearted, but in reality it’s tough. It’s tough not feeling woman enough because as a woman of color, our bodies have always been closely linked to our societal worth and placement on the social totem pole. What’s been deemed “fine“ is hardly the size 2 black girl. She’s normally considered cute or pretty in the face.
As a slim black girl, I get a range of reactions. I’ve been told by men that I will be so fine when I hit 25 because apparently 25 years of age comes with an extra 25 lbs? I also get harsh underhanded compliments from some women who are not as slim as me: “Oh hush, Chasity. You can eat whatever you want and not gain a pound“ (gee! Thanks!) or “Look at her! Thinking she fine with her lil abs.“ Then, there is the sweet aunt or my lovely mom who says “Chiiile, if only I could be that size again.“ I have learned how to say thank you, be quite crafty with my responses, or cackle to keep from saying “shut up.“
This does not to discredit anyone else’s experience with weight and body shape. This is not to victimize myself or even bring awareness to some sort of skinny black girl epidemic. This is simply me exploring the association of weight with black femininity, and what it means for me. I’m sure I could go on and on, but why go down that dark rabbit hole? At the very least, I want to be able to talk about it with someone. I want to explore it.
By no means is this a final piece or a final stream consciousness. This is a topic I want to explore further, and maybe share more stories/testimonials from women of all shapes and sizes. This is just the tip of my iceberg on my experience. This was the best, most responsible, non-blaming way I could put my feelings to words.
To bring some light, I have learned how to tweak my fashion choices to make me feel most comfortable and what I consider sexy. I have accepted that I am naturally small and there may come a time when I thank the heavens, moon, and stars for it. I have also acquired an “I like me, so screw you“ mentality, which fits any insecurity we may have (this tactic doesn’t always work for me, but it helps).
Hopefully this was worth the read, or at least provoked some sort of thought.