It can be hard to look in the mirror. Self-doubt, criticisms, and nasty words from others often repeat themselves like a broken record when you are trying to do something as simple as get ready in the morning. But why is it there?
What if every time we looked in the mirror, we saw something that we loved and respected? How different would our world be if we simply treated ourselves with a bit more kindness?
So many of us are body-positive toward other people — but do we really possess that same love for ourselves?
It has to start early. By the age of seven, girls report having issues with body-positivity and self-confidence according to the Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2016, commissioned by the Girl Guides. According to the same study, 40 percent of 7- to 10-year-olds said that they sometimes felt ashamed or embarrassed by their prepubescent bodies, with 15 percent feeling this way the majority of the time. The numbers jump to 78 percent sometimes and 50 percent most if you fast-forward ten years in the girls’ ages.
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One of the most commonly complained about body parts is the buttocks. Whether objectified and hyper-sexualized by the male gaze or denigrated by conflating its size with sloth and perceived over-eating, the ass is the butt of many jokes. Its width is the object of ire for many women, other feminine, and non-binary folks alike. Even men and masculine folks fall into the trap of self-loathing. So what do we do?
We at Ravishly reached out and asked plus-size people to share images of their butts and to tell us why they loved those photos. We received responses that were heart-felt, empowering, and re-affirming. This week, we’re here to share some of them with you:
1. Your Body Contains Multitudes (@griminator)
“I love my booty because it's out of this world. It's covered in constellations and galaxies — or are those beauty marks? Either way, people still stare up at it to make wishes.”
2. #FatAndFree (@saucyewest)
“I’m so glad I don’t have body envy... I never look at other bodies and wish I could alter mine. My body is amazing, my body is controversial, my body is unique. Some may find it disgusting and others may find it inspiring. But I’m so in love with myself. I never have a moment of doubt. I’ll never be ashamed. Because I am Free.”
3. Your booty is worthy of worship. (@houseofcoco)
“I like posting pictures of my butt. It’s one of my favorite parts of my body. It even has its own heating pad."
4. Strength and beauty. (@fanny_fahrenheit)
“I chose this picture because I feel incredibly strong and sexy in it. I’ve battled with accepting my butt, but (heh) now I love the way it looks in tight clothing or naked!”
5. You are part of the narrative. You count. (@thisismeagankerr)
“I love this pic because I rarely see bodies like mine represented in lingerie. We’re told that feeling sexy and wearing lingerie isn’t for fat people, for people with cellulite and back rolls, for people with butts that are big but flat. This photo makes me feel free and taking it made me realise how luxurious I feel when I’m just walking around wearing lingerie.”
6. Beach babes come in all sizes. (@fiercefatfemme)
“I chose this photo because for a large period of my life I was afraid of showing my body at the beach. This photo was taken by my partner minutes after I noticed a group of women were looking and talking about me and from what I can assume about my fatness in a bathing suit. I thought to myself am I going to let these people dictate my happiness on this beach?
Hell no. So here I am. Booty glowing. Hair done. Feelin myself. Because I'm done worrying about what other people are going to say. This booty doesn't look like Ashley Graham's and that's perfectly fine. It's mine and it's beautiful.”
7. You are golden. (@iofthetigress)
“For most of my life I've been told my butt is not good enough. I've been made to feel like a failure as a Black girl ("guess your body comes from the white side of your family") and as a fat girl ("You'd be perfect if you could take that gut and move it around to the back"). They can shut alllll the way up. I've moved on from booty envy to booty appreciation. I like my booty. If you like it, cool. If you don't, oh well. I like my booty.”
8. Subverting the patriarchy one strap-on harness at a time. (@coquettewonkette)
“I love this pic of my fat ass in a strap on harness. It’s my way of saying Fuck You to beauty and sex standards. I’m all about pegging the patriarchy”
9. TFW you realize that you have become goals for other people. (@magnoliahblack)
“This photo was taken in front of an audience during a live performance to "Big, Blonde and Beautiful". After this performance a young girl shyly approached me holding her mother's hand. She was chubby with curly hair and the most adorable dimples. She looked up at me and said thank you and hugged me.
While I was up there defiantly staring down a sizeist beauty myth and reclaiming my own sacred self she was watching and remembering and knowing that she too is valid, worthy of love and respect.
I chose this photo because it reminds me of how powerful living out loud and authentically can be. I love this photo because it shows how joy, beauty, glitter, glamour and a bit of red lace can be powerful tools for activism. It reminds me that in liberating myself I liberate and uplift others.”
10. Cause you’ve got a devilishly great ass. (@mamafierceblog)
“This photo makes me feel dominant, dangerous and sexy. I feel like the master of my own sexuality. I feel like a badass.”
11. Booties in Motion (@violet.bloom)
“When I was in middle school I heard about this thing called "the yoga butt" that a person gets when doing a lot of yoga. Apparently, yoga makes your booty high and tight. This makes me feel good about my butt because it reminds me that any booty can be a yoga booty, including my perpetually fat booty”
12. When your tuches is out of this world… (@cherry_tartz)
“It's definitely sparkle booty and pretty much my only butt pic. I feel like my butt is a bit shyly on display with more sweetness than outright sexy. Plus, I loved the idea of the TARDIS having underwear made of stars with electric seamed stockings. The whole costume lights up in multiple layers and is a love letter to The Doctor.”
13.The realization that you have the same right to show skin that your thin brethren does. (@eliehoover)
“Hey guess what? This is my butt! I like it! I own it! It’s mine! I realized that I hadn’t been allowing myself to show as much skin as any thin person does in the summer on the beach, and I wasn’t sure why that was.”
14. Because you know that you do not have to apologize for your shape. (@katstroudofficial)
“ I love this image for soo many reasons but mainly because it shows my body in all its powerful glory. Every roll and curve! As a petite woman, finding a body shape like mine represented in a positive light is difficult to come by so when I saw this image I felt so empowered, like a goddess ready to take over the city”
15. When you forget just how bangin’ you actually are. (@flamenator)
“I very regularly dislike full-length pictures of myself and honestly forgot how banging my ass is until a friend reminded me with this picture! Like for real goodness and lawd-have-mercy following me all the days of my life!”
16. Your body helps you conquer your fears. (@kellybellyohio)
“This photo makes me feel powerful. I feel like I could go out there and do this, something that scared me but wanted to do forever. I felt like my butt also kept me up! My butt is big, round, and strong — just like me!”
17. When you are everything they say you shouldn’t be… (@lottielamour)
“I am my rolls. My uneven skin. I am the cellulite on my bum and thighs. I am the wobble in my walk. I am the silvery stretch marks across my body. I am the cockiness of posing in my underwear in front of the mirror. The confidence of getting my arse out on the internet. I am the feeling of discomfort you get at seeing a naked, fat body on your timeline. The Daily Mail equivalent of a national health crisis. I am the thriving masculine hatred of a confident woman. I am everything they say I shouldn’t be — and I own every second of it. Fat, thriving, EXISTING.”