Random Ramblings: The [Black Girl] Skinny

One of my “I love me” days….#demlegs

This post is a hard one for me to write.

It has been hard for me to articulate this because I didn’t want to sound like the privileged whiners that I loathe so I kept quiet. Thing is, and I cringe as I write this sentence, being skinny hasn’t always been that much fun for me. You see, while mainstream media tells me that my body type is in demand, my surrounding and my culture tell me different. While someone is telling me “There are girls STARVING to get your body”, there another laughing at my ass, or lack of one. Yea, being skinny is cool….if you’re a white chick. However, if you’re mocha colored like I am, you’re in a precarious position. To be blunt, black folks like ass and titties. For a lot of chocolate people, a REAL woman (*vomit* I hate that term), has an ample bottom and a supple bosom. I had parents that reaffirmed my beauty day in and day out but I still wasn’t able to avoid that message. So, what did I do? I hid. I thought my arms were too noodle and my ass too flat so I wore a hoodie to cover  both. Shorts? In school? Ha! I always kept my legs covered. I didn’t want to risk anyone seeing my chicken legs so jeans it was. I kept this charade going until late high school when senioritis and its accompanying lack of fucks made me a little braver. Not brave enough to wear a bathing suit to senior picnic but I took off the damn hoodie and wore a pair of shorts.

Flash forward to now. I’m in my early 20s and although I’ve made stride with my body image, like many women, I have my weak moments. Top depression-induced irrational thoughts onto that and I have a hot ass mess going on inside of my brain. Sometimes, I love my body and can’t get enough of it and other times, seeing a big booty getting ogled will send me into a spell of “I hate me’s.”

Self-esteem is a precarious thing and while I try to keep the personal out of my political as much as possible, I can’t help but wonder if  I would feel different if my skin was a different color and my culture had different standards. It’s definitely something to think about and I might do a non-emo blog post on it later. For now, I just want to hear what you think.

How have your cultural beauty standards affected your self-esteem and views of your body? Leave a comment!

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5 thoughts on “Random Ramblings: The [Black Girl] Skinny

  1. Sara says:

    You’re feelings are totally valid and deserve to be given a voice. I hate that we exist in a culture where the bodies of women are public property and it never seems like anybody can just exist and be. We have to be constantly trying to change ourselves and be different, and our bodies are just trying to get us through this life. I am white, and I am also fat. But I don’t know any women that are completely happy with their body. Fat, average-ish, smaller, curvy, slight, I don’t know one single woman who never says she wishes something were different or is constantly changing her exercise or the way she eats. Sometimes it’s just a momentary thing in their life and they go back to feeling content, but it’s never from youth onward. Any of the women I know who do get temporary reprieve from being focused on changing, morphing, destroying and rebuliding were not able to come to that until adulthood, and that saddens me.

  2. ashleik says:

    I think that as human beings we always find imperfections, because according to someone’s standards we will always fall short. All people have their insecurities and you always want what you dont have. I wish sometimes the focus can be off of women’s bodies and into their heads, but I do also understand that this is a sight driven world and everyone looks at a persons outer appearence before they get to know someone. But dont freight we all have our insecurities, mine have been switching throughout my life, from my teeth, to my weight, to my hair, to my skin, but it never completly killed my self esteem. That took a very mean and spiteful person to do that, but thats a whole ‘nother story.

  3. darkaugustchild says:

    I missed the “T&A is what’s in” Memo when I was in high school. I thought everybody was so much skinnier than me and this was going to a black high school in the South. I never had the positive self-esteem image till I became an adult. I thought I was Fat hence I was ugly. Those girls could eat anything they wanted and not gain a thing here I was always trying to watch myself. It got to the point where I developed an eating disorder. I would starve myself and binge eat. Not good at all. Then last year I had a “I’m tired of all of this” moment and been better off ever since. I no longer look at myself in such disgust, I see myself always getting better. IT wasn’t just for my body but for my mental state as well.

  4. moe says:

    Great topic! Thanks for sharing your story. I actually didn’t really have a ‘body’ until I was an adult, but growing up I don’t think anyone really looked at body type because I grew up in the cross-colors, all the girls dressed like boys era. So even though I had insecurities of not having an ample bottom or not having a breasts..being hidden in clothes seemed to be the norm.

    I have a pretty ‘different’ family, in that athleticism is highly regarded, and someone who looks ‘fit’ is the optimal beauty…so I always covered up because I wasn’t slender like the rest of my family. I was never fat…but I was the flabby boyish shaped size ten in a family of fit-curvy size fives..I didn’t have a large chest..and never really had a butt. So not only did I spend most of my high school years trying not to get any bigger than I was…I tried ever exercise known to man to shape my butt and bought every push-up bra I could find to give myself some chest. I longed for that 36-24-36 shape that my mom, my paternal aunts and cousins had. I feel where you are coming from SO MUCH. My story may differ, but the feelings are mutual.

  5. muffintopmanifesto says:

    Great topic! Thanks for sharing your story. I actually didn’t really have a ‘body’ until I was an adult, but growing up I don’t think anyone really looked at body type because I grew up in the cross-colors, all the girls dressed like boys era. So even though I had insecurities of not having an ample bottom or not having a breasts..being hidden in clothes seemed to be the norm.

    I have a pretty ‘different’ family, in that athleticism is highly regarded, and someone who looks ‘fit’ is the optimal beauty…so I always covered up because I wasn’t slender like the rest of my family. I was never fat…but I was the flabby boyish shaped size ten in a family of fit-curvy size fives..I didn’t have a large chest..and never really had a butt. So not only did I spend most of my high school years trying not to get any bigger than I was…I tried ever exercise known to man to shape my butt and bought every push-up bra I could find to give myself some chest. I longed for that 36-24-36 shape that my mom, my paternal aunts and cousins had. I feel where you are coming from SO MUCH. My story may differ, but the feelings are mutual.

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