Why aren’t we allowed to love ourselves?
Why can’t we love our lumps and our edges? Why do we have to hate the rolling hills of our soft, rounded bellies or the angled, crisp peaks of our ‘scarily thin’ elbows? My body, your body, her body, his body, their bodies – they’re all bags of bone soup inside a thin, stretchy skin. Who cares if there’s more? More to love. Who cares if there’s less? Less to cherish.
Who says that black, coily hair is ‘uglier’ then straight blonde hair? Who says dark, espresso colored skin is ‘uglier’ than peachy colored skin? Who says that small eyes and flat noses are ‘uglier’ than pointy noses and doe eyes? Our bodies are rhapsodies of color and texture and size, each equally, awesomely stunning, in its own way. Each body is a work of art, a delicate act, with each gorgeous part of you working together to make the miracle of life. How can you compare Picasso and Monet? Van Gogh and O’Keeffe? How can you simplify a masterpiece into a rating out of ten? How can you put art into a 2×2 box and say, “okay, this is what’s beautiful, and everything outside it is not”?
Why can’t we show off our self love? Why can’t you talk about how beautiful you think you are, what you like about yourself? Why is positivity about your body taboo and virtually off limits to talk about? Why do you have to post selfies with the caption “I am a trashcan” or “I look so ugly”, or risk being called stuck up or full of yourself? We’re taught that even when we find something to love, something that we think is unique and pretty and awesome, that we’re not allowed to show it off. We’re not allowed to have confidence about our bodies.
In the movie Mean Girls, there’s a scene where queen bees Regina, Gretchen, and Karen stand in front of a mirror and list off all the things that they hate about themselves, and expect the ‘fish out of water character’, Cady, to join in. They’re shocked and astonished to hear that she doesn’t keep a mental list of things that are bad about her physical appearance. God, she’s so weird, right? What did she do before them? Think she’s really pretty? Like her body?
“No, no, no! You should always love yourself!” we scream, over and over again. In makeup adverts, magazines, commericals, on social media. Only, we add, “but you have to be a perfect size 2 and tan and blonde and blue eyed and muscular but not too muscular and dressed the right way”. In order to qualify to have self confidence, you have to fit a certain mold. If you don’t, honey, get a box of bleach and a treadmill, and then when you’ve fixed the problems, maybe you can love your body too. But only once everyone else thinks it’s right.
Screw you. It’s my body, and I’ll love it if I want to.