“I believe you can speak your reality into existence,” Erika had smiled at me as we walked to my apartment, sunlight beaming over the flowers in her hair. The California wildfires had upset her throat that morning, so she had worn a crown of sunflowers to make herself feel better — it also made her radiant.
On Thursday, Feb. 7, UCLA Student Wellness Commission’s Body Image Task Force put on Love Your Body Fashion Show as part of its annual I Love My Body Week. The body-positive fashion show was designed to embrace all forms of beauty represented by different cultures, gender identities, physical abilities and other intersecting identities.
From the acne on my forehead, stretch marks on my thighs, and to the dead little pinky toenail on my right foot, I should be able to show as much skin on hot summer days as any other person. I learned to love my scar and I learned to love myself more as a person.
Growing up in a society that favors straight hair makes it difficult for curly-haired woman of color to proudly flaunt their natural hair. Three young women of color I interviewed discuss their journeys of accepting their hair.
The more we acknowledge the fact that women of color receive the tail end of body-positivity, the more dimensions we will see in our perception of physical beauty. It will go beyond just ‘skinny vs. fat.’
From a young and impressionable age we are presented with a false dichotomy: be weak and give into the super sized, yummy fries and forever be ridiculed and unlovable in your disgustingly fat body; or be strong and don’t eat anything so you can be thin, and therefore disciplined, beautiful, and worthy of acceptance and attention.
Body negative thinking has been part of our culture for so long that it can often slip under the radar. And while we generally know that it’s “good” to support unconventional definitions of beauty, we can’t reverse centuries of negativity without thinking critically and re-examining our values.
At my highschool there is a long standing and somewhat racy tradition: senior streak. It’s a lot like the Undie Run, minus the undies and with the addition of a mask and a whole lot of paint.
What we do not realize is how much our body does for us. Society engulfs us with so many expectations, leaving us to put a lot of hate into our bodies. Our bodies keep us running, breathing, living, yet every day, we face another negative thought that depreciates our image of ourselves.