A few weeks ago, I was at a birthday party at a small club in NYC. The spot was packed and hot. My gold strappy shoes were pinching my feet, but the DJ was spinning some great hip-hop/R&B music so I didn’t mind. And, just as the bass dropped on “Hypnotize”, I was startled by a woman trying to squeeze passed me.
I guess -to be more precise- what startled me was her rather large derriere.
I froze and watched the rest of the crowd. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. All the guys in the club seemed to pause- each pretending to sip their drinks while their eyeballs traced the curves of her spine. Girls gave her the once-over then spun on stilletos to hug their dance partner close. And even I felt hyper-aware of my own body; as happy as I am to be fit and healthy, the scene reminded me of just how much my body had moved away from the fullness of the lady passing by.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever looked at another woman’s body and begun to question your own?
I suppose a lot of it is cultural. As I talked about here, being “thick” has long been coveted in the black community (and in many other communities of color). So when one woman sees another woman who better fits that “thick” mold, she may waver in her own body image. On the other hand, maybe you feel self-conscious about your weight or your curves. Especially given all the societal pressure to lose weight (and the questionable metrics being used to gauge obesity), it’s easy for women of color to feel self-conscious next to the size 0 in the room.
Well, if you’re ever in the club and you find yourself caught in a big-booty-induced-body-image-mindwarp, try to remember what that body/booty across the way really says about you:
1. Absolutely nothing.
As self-conscious as I felt about my body when that woman passed by, I had to remind myself that her body has nothing to do with my body. There is a lot of competitiveness among women when it comes to attractiveness which is going to mess with your head! But you have to remember that your body is made neither better nor worse by the shape of the woman standing next to you.
2. Be sure you understand where your body discomfort comes from.
Is the reason you’re worried about that other woman’s body because you’re feeling pressure from a loved one to look a certain way? Are you in a relationship where you’re afraid that if your body doesn’t look like Kim Kardashian, you’ll be shown the door? If someone is making you feel like your body is less than, question whether that’s a healthy relationship for you.
3. You may need to love your body more.
Assuming the issue isn’t #2, then your body image issues may be in your own head. We all get a little shook sometimes, but if you find that you’re constantly comparing your body to the woman next to you then maybe the issue has deeper roots. How do you really feel about your body? Take the time to truly look at yourself in the mirror and appreciate your body’s uniqueness. Maybe you really love your arms. Maybe you have killer quads. It’s okay to want to improve your body, but be sure to recognize the parts of you that are already awesome. Life’s too short- so take a breath and remember to be happy with who you are and what you’ve got! -CFC
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*** Ever found yourself comparing your body to another woman’s body? How do you shake off the mindwarp? Sound off! ***