Op-Ed: Body Acceptance – What Does It Mean To You?
by ATFDC Contributor Dionna Humphrey
I’ve been having a lot of conversations about body acceptance lately with fellow fashion bloggers, friends, and even total strangers. What does it mean to you? Frankly, it’s taken me some time to answer that question myself.
Women of all sizes have at one time or another asked themselves the question- am I beautiful? Where do I fit in when it comes to today’s standard of beauty? For those of us who are considered voluptuous, curvy, full figured- whatever term suits you best – we ask that question constantly. And we also have to wonder if the answer we give ourselves is met with disapproval from those who are not. If I love my body, do you think that I am accepting of an unhealthy lifestyle, do you consider it a sign of approval for obesity or being unhealthy?
The answer is of course, no. Because the perception that women who are plus size are unhealthy isn’t always true. Up until my surgery, I was at the gym 4-5 times a week doing high impact aerobics. I watch what I eat, don’t drink soda, and even though I have a bit of a sweet tooth, I don’t over eat (Thanksgiving doesn’t count). Many of my fellow fashion bloggers who consider themselves plus size also are very active. Yet we also love who we are—inside and out.
I have never been a skinny person. Ok maybe when I was one but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. I’ve always been on the chunky side- and yet I have always been happy and fabulous. Since I was old enough to realize that my body wasn’t considered healthy I’ve tried to lose weight. I’ve used drugs, shakes, cereal, etc. and with limited results. It doesn’t help that I have a condition which effects my reproductive health and my ability to metabolize food and process sugar- needless to say it was an uphill battle. But it’s one I have continued to wage with myself in order to be healthy. I could always be better, but eating healthier is a challenge that everyone faces
That’s what body acceptance is to me. Understanding and loving my body, knowing I am much more than what my outward appearance is– knowing still I’m beautiful either way. And also knowing that being healthy is something that I have to continue to work on, even if it means I’m not going to be skinny like some of my friends. I may not fit into what today’s standard of beauty is, but that’s ok because I have my own.
I challenge each of you, regardless of your body type/size, to define what body acceptance means to you. Only when we see our true selves can we love ourselves and be loved by others. It’s a journey, one I am still one, but knowing that it’s worth the reward keeps me motivated. I’d love to hear your thoughts, post your comments here or find Body Conscious Beauty on Facebook and keep the conversation going.
Dionna Humphrey is the owner of Body Conscious Beauty, a style consulting company serving the Washington, D.C. area. Body Conscious Beauty styles women of all sizes, including plus size beauties. For more information visit us online at www.bodyconsciousbeauty.com.