I was watching an episode of Project Runway last night, and seeing the models this season had me feeling good in all sorts of ways.
There were women of all shapes, sizes, and colors, a little bit of every flavor from the candy store, and I was so grateful to finally be seeing some women of diversity really rocking the runway.
Course there's still a long way to go.
What really impressed me though, aside from seeing all of these uniquely beautiful women, was that they owned their individual look. That really inspired me.
It's good timing too, because I happen to be reading a very relevant and entertaining book called Body Outlaws.
Basically, it's full of these simple tales of self-acceptance as told by writers who have come to accept themselves, "flaws" and all. What makes these women so called "outlaws" is the fact that they have come to accept their bodies for the way they are, which is uncommon in this day and age. See, it's more normal to "judge and contort ourselves, to alter oneself for admission and approval", then to actually change the standard and wrest for ourselves the self-esteem that is undeniably ours.
You'd think that after all these years of people's obsession with varying unnatural beauty standards, we would learn that happiness doesn't come from trying to conform to something that doesn't exist. Happiness comes from self-acceptance, no matter what color your skin is or what size bra you wear.
And yet year after year, we have to read about big butts, thigh gaps, curvy being in and thin being out. We continually buy into this objectification of women and their bodies, dehumanizing our view of what "perfect" entails, and yet we blame society and their standards, completely forgetting that all of this is a reflection of how we calculate a woman's worth.
It's not society's fault when you buy that ill-fitting bra from Victoria's Secret that promises sexiness. It's not society's fault when you flip through the magazine that encourages you to "get dat bubble butt." It's not society's fault that we continually fight amongst each other in order for a male's attention.
So how do we change it? It starts with awareness, education, and how we react to these subliminal (and obvious) messages. It starts with telling personal stories, like the brave women in Body Outlaws. It begins once you put down the magazine that makes you feel self-conscious, once you unfollow that Instagram star who's only asset is how well she photographs, and it begins once you take a stand.
Society and the media reflect what the people want and are willing to buy. If we all stop blindly following these standards, once we start speaking out about how much we love our bodies (not because they look like a supermodel's, but because they make us feel so goddamn fine) and how it's okay to celebrate who you are, inside and out, then maybe we'll see a change.
It all starts with a conversation. With the simple act of looking in the mirror and loving your body, without guilt and without comparison. Once our identities and bodies are in sync? Man, there's no stopping what we can do to change the world.