….It might have been longer than ten years, to be honest. It’s been that long that I can’t even remember the last time. I became imprisoned in my body by the false standards of beauty highlighted by Western culture. My thighs have always been thick. Pencil skirts ride up on my hips and my jean shorts and pants always wear in the thigh area. Shorts never have “space” when I wear them. You know what I mean: when you see them in magazines and advertisements and the thighs don’t take up all the space. Jean shorts always look like biker shorts on me. Always.
I went to New Orleans and y’all it was hot. It’s been my summer of body liberation, where I’ve decided I’m not hiding parts of my body that I don’t like and rather embracing them. It was too hot for jeans and even too hot for a skirt. My wardrobe was limited because I had only what I packed. I had some Black biker shorts. I took them out of my suitcase and put them on. I had to fight the voice in my head that said, “You’re thighs are too big to wear these shorts.”
I put them on and went about my day.
…and you know what?
Nobody died. Nobody stared.
It was about more than wearing shorts. It was about seeing myself as beautiful and challenging the world to meet me where I am at, vs the reverse. It was about all the women who enslave themselves to a mirror based on the ideals of men and society.
There is a dangerous privilege within the plus size and body positive community where we praise and uplift specific bodies within our community. You can be fat, but only with a flat stomach. Thicc is only defined as hourglass. Yes to being a size 18, but you better not display any cellulite. If your arms are heavy, you are imprisoned to 3/4th’s tops. To me, this is equally dangering to the female psyche as feminism can be to Black women due to the divide.
Body liberation is a process and one that I have spent the summer diligently working toward. I’m working towards being a woman made woman vs a man-made woman. And it started with shorts.