We have a warped view of what a woman should look like. We think we can decide who should wear a dress and who shouldn’t.
I’ve seen my mother’s lips turn down at women with muscle lining their silhouettes, or broad shoulders and lithe arms and powerful thighs. I’ve heard my father click his tongue and tell me I should exercise, but not too much, or else my limbs will not be slim like they ‘should’ be. In August 2016, five-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles posted a picture on Instagram of herself and teammates Aly Raisman and Madison Kocian, and it exploded, because @UWantMyD_aniel on Twitter thought it was up to him what a woman should look like to be attractive. Thankfully, we had @blackandbougie to let him know where his boundaries should lie.
I’ve seen people grimace at the sight of women with heavy body modifications, whether it be tattoos or piercings, and I’ve seen people frown at tall girls, short girls, fat girls, thin girls, anyone who doesn’t fit the perfect mold that we seem to think the entire female race should fall into. Someone’s always “too bony” or “too round” or “too dark” or “too light.” Why is there a ‘too’ permanently affixed to any characteristic? What’s wrong with taking her at face value, at realizing she is how she is and admiring her for it?
We find it so easy to judge women. We feel entitled to it, almost. It’s all that misogyny infused into us ever since we were only old enough to walk and our parents cinched sashes tight around our waists to emphasize a nonexistent hourglass figure or sniffed condescendingly at the woman in the grocery store line with ink crawling up her skin, or rolled their eyes at the older girl next door whose shorts were tight on her.
You don’t have to tell a girl what she should look like. If she’s happy with herself, if she’s eating alright and exercising just fine and getting enough sleep at night, she’ll be just how she should be. Content.
Humans come in all shapes and sizes. Some people are just genetically coded to be heavier than others, and some women are coded with wider bone structure, broader shoulders or thinner waists or longer torsos or smaller feet. What do we gain out of trying to force every woman to contort into the same world? We get a plethora of growing girls with body image issues, with the twisted idea that they need to starve themselves to get the right shape, or that they can’t work out too much because they’ll get too bulky to look good in a dress.
But when all is said and done, you only need two things to look good in a dress:
- the ability to alter it to your measurements, and
- the satisfaction of putting it on.
If you’re interested, further reading – body types of different athletes. See how wildly different humans can be…