By DaiJhah Owens
Recently while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw a post by Chryssy Tegan. She posted a boomerang video of herself in a one-piece, black cutout swimsuit chilling in presumably her home. As you can imagine, there were all sorts of comments. Some loving her swimsuit, others complementing her quarantine style, and of course there were those on her body. Now, in my personal opinion, any comment on a woman’s body, rather good or bad, should just be left unsaid. The constant focus on a woman’s physical appearance is draining and causes unnecessary trauma (we’ll discuss this more later.) The comments under Chryssy Tegan’s post concerning her body were disgusting. One follower said she was shaped like SpongeBob and another recommended she get plastic surgery. I would say I was shocked, but I’m not.
Since the beginning of forever, society has made it their mission for women to hate their body. The only way a woman is allowed to feel beautiful in her own skin, is if society deems “ideal.”
A woman gets plastic surgery; she should love her natural body. A woman embraces her natural body; she looks like Sponge Bob. A black woman wears weave; she should embrace the natural hair God gave her. A black woman wears her natural afro; she should’ve combed her hair. A woman does their makeup: she should try going bare faced. A woman wears no makeup; you could use a little eyeliner and mascara. And the list could just go on and on!
It seems, no matter what a woman chooses to do with her body she will be coitized for it. Women just can’t seem to win this game! So, I think we should stop playing it. Women have been socialized since birth to need outside validation to love and respect our bodies. We were socialized not to trust ourselves, only trust the opinion of others. Society methodically broke us down and hardwired us to constantly strive for the “perfect body.”
The constant pushing for women to look a certain way is extremely draining on our mental health. Just when we think we’ve made it to that ideal, society sends us back to the drawing board and tells us to try again. I yearn for the day when women are allowed to just be.
We can’t change the way we were socialized, we didn’t have control of that. But we can change how we decide to live our lives now. Women and men need to turn inward and ask themselves how have I been upholding unrealistic and hypocritical standards for women? After identifying the ways you participate in this harmful behavior, you must then replace these behaviors with life giving ones. This is the work that has to be done in order to change society. The future generations of women will love us for it!
DaiJhah Owens is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. DaiJhah is passionate about shifting political power to oppressed groups through education. She believes there is nothing more powerful than an educated black woman who can smell political BS a mile away! Connect with her on Instagram at @d_nakhole!