As a black skinny woman with small boobs, straight hips, and small bum (I say it loud and proud) I still find it a bit of a struggle to celebrate my shape within my race.
If you google images on ‘black female body’ the search results comes up with black women with big busts, wide hips, and big bums. Why aren't women like Jordan Dunn (skinny), Kerry Washington (petite), Iman (lean), and Luptia Nyongo (athletic) being shown or even discussed as examples of the black female body from blog articles and why oh why is it that whenever discussing the black female body, the word ‘curves’ comes straight after. Do not get me wrong, I love seeing a curvy black women accentuate what has been given to her, and motivating others with similar body shapes to embrace it too but I find it frustrating that other body shapes such as mine and the other examples mentioned above being ignored and in a way not being worthy enough to share the same spotlight as the curvy women.
In my teens, I HATED my body frame. I really thought something was wrong with me: "why don't I look like her", "why haven't I developed like the others", "the boys are gonna make fun of me". Being skinny was like a curse, I couldn't turn to my family, they would complain that I don't eat anything, I couldn't turn to my friends, they all developed, I couldn't turn to the television or magazines as they branded my shape as "unhealthy". Now that I'm in my thirties, I'm completely fine with my frame but looking back, it was such a shame that I had to overcome my insecurities on my own. I turn on the television and not much has changed within the attitudes towards the body image on black women. Google images on 'skinny black women/slim figured black women' and see the shocking results for yourself. I never had anyone to look up to in my teens, who had my body shape, or maybe there was but it was ignored. For years I had it in my head that I was unhealthy, I wasn't normal, but I wasn't any of those things. I was just a natural skinny girl, I naturally just didn't put on weight, I naturally just had a faster metabolism.
The media LOVES to pigeonhole black women in general, particularly our body shape. Curves are seen as the standard body frame, but I say NO! and prove them wrong by telling our stories, showing and highlighting the various body shapes within our culture and celebrate the fact that we come in different shapes and sizes.
I find it misleading to categorize the black female body to naturally being 'thick', having the wider hips, big bust and big bums. It was misleading for me as a young girl as there definitely were other body shapes within black women, they just weren't being celebrated. I don't want young black girls growing up to think there is only one body shape is accepted for them because that just isn't the case. Lets celebrate our diverse body shapes in all its greatness and flaws.