The internet is a funny place. Known for it’s vast resources, it’s also home to the insane world of social media and the notorious “hashtag.” The hashtag has redefined how you want to be viewed, classified, and sorted on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr (to name a few). Today, I was on Instagram and I clicked on #plussize. One that’s probably been around since the beginning of plus size hashtagging (in my opinion). We can go back and forth (forever) about the term and whether you like it, use it, associate with it, disagree with it, hate it, love it, and/or embrace it. I don’t have time for that today.
If there’s one thing that bugs me the most about the plus size fashion industry, it’s the lack of true representation when it comes to body shape and size diversity. Not every plus size woman has a flat stomach, is hour glass shaped, or is 5’9 or taller. I’m 5’6, a size 16/18, and I carry most of my weight in my stomach. I’ve discussed this before on this blog or probably ranted about it on Twitter. It’s annoying and frustrating to say the least. And I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Anyone who knows me, through and through, knows how much I love professional sports. There’s nothing I like more than the competition, camaraderie, an athlete’s performance, and mental discipline of sports. I will admit that I am not a subscriber of ESPN Magazine, although I should be. They just released The Body Issue, which features 22 athletes posing nude. Quite the eye-catcher already, but even more so for me because baseball player Prince Fielder is on one of the six body-loving covers.
I came across an old photo the other day at my dad’s house. I’m about 18 or 19-years-old and probably weigh a good 120 pounds. I specifically remember this photo, where it was taken, and how I felt about my body at the time. Of course, I thought I was fat. When I looked at myself in the mirror, my eyes went immediately to my acne scars, round tummy, and ugly legs. I hated so many things about myself. I wish I could go back and tell my young self how beautiful I was. My perception of beauty was definitely screwed up.
I’m honored to have women in my life who inspire me daily. Women who are brave, smart, fearless, genuine, loving, and just straight-up phenomenal. They are themselves, without making excuses or apologies, for that matter. When I think of them, I know they are the women they were supposed to be—through and through.
What is your definition of beauty? Don’t have an answer yet? That’s OK. We’re going to redefine it. You can start by watching Dove’s short film “Selfie.” Set to debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the beauty brand is exploring how social media is changing our perception of beauty.