Yesterday, my mother told me about her meeting with an old friend. “She lost weight in her butt like you did. But she’s happy.”
It was a simple remark. But it led to a thought spiral.
Three weeks ago, my mother approached me. “Your father and I noticed you lost weight,” she said softly.
Initially, I didn’t believe her. But yesterday I noticed several pairs of pajama bottoms hung off my hips. I lost weight and knew why. During my previous job, I ate Cheerios and instant oatmeal to power through 10-14 hour workdays. Also I ate them as breakfast, snack and dinner. I had experienced weight loss before.
In 2016, I lost weight from eating cereal excessively throughout graduate school. But this time it was different. I turned to the side and scrutinized my body in my bathroom mirror. Did I lose weight in my butt? Do I have less butt? Do I have less curves?
Since 8th grade, I’ve taken pride in my booty. It was an attention-grabber among the boys and a conversation starter with girls in school. My booty was an extension of my beauty and a form of social acceptance. It was part of my self-worth.
It is the only curve I have. For this reason, I show it as much as possible through dresses and jeans that outline my petite silhouette. Tastefully, of course.
The thought that it was not as big as it was before bothered me. Did I lose part of my beauty? Will it be more difficult for guys to notice me? Will I have a harder time finding a husband? How will I compensate?
The thoughts were ridiculous.
Where the hell was this coming from?
I felt less worthy. Although I knew this wasn’t true, I couldn’t help but wonder how deeply intertwined my perceptions of beauty, acceptance and self-worth were.
Growing up, booty was social currency. Today it still is. The glorification of booty permeates through every form of media. It has become the new norm.
I know you see it.
However, the idea that a woman is more or less valuable based on her body measurements is absurd, divisive and dangerous.
Weight gain and weight loss doesn’t make you smaller. Nor does it make you less worthy, less loved, or less deserving. It is not a disadvantage.
Our bodies can change. However, it doesn’t shift our worth.
We can celebrate someone else’s body. But most importantly, we need to celebrate ours first.
If you have a healthy body image, more power to you!
If you have body image issues, here are some resources and empowering songs to check out:
- 10 Steps to Positive Body Image
- Body Image
- Got Body by Lion Babe
- Pretty Hurts by Beyonce
- Video by India Arie
- I’m Every Woman by Chaka Khan
What do you love about your body? What do you tell yourself about your body? What are your go-to body empowerment songs?