Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Tiny Waists, Slender Legs & Body Policing

Contact lenses make me look like a terrifying half-human half-cyborg-doll lady, and I love it ;)
While I was at an amusement park in Hong Kong last week, waiting in line for a scary-looking rollercoaster, a ride attendant walked up to me, pointed at my belly and exclaimed, "no baby! No baby!"

Yep. She was telling me that I couldn't get on the ride because she thought that I was several months pregnant.

Horrified as I was, I assured her that I wasn't in fact pregnant and probably just had a bit of a food baby going on. The ride attendant grumpily walked away without offering an apology or looking even the slightest bit remorseful.

Now, I'm not posting this here for reassurance - I know that I do not look pregnant and any suggestion that I look like I am is somewhat ridiculous. And sure, maybe I was just standing in a relaxed position with my hands clasped over my tummy, which could possibly have led to the mistaken idea that I was well into my third trimester.

But this experience led me to what I think is a much more problematic and deeply-rooted issue involving the policing of women's bodies: the idea that if a women doesn't have a perfectly flat stomach, she shouldn't wear a tight-fitting dress (likewise, the idea that any woman over a size 6 shouldn't wear leggings). If women have any fat on their stomachs, they are expected to hide it - leading to situations like mine wherein any women showing off her little belly is assumed to be pregnant rather than merely having fat deposits on her abdomen.

Think about it. Have you ever, ever seen a model with a belly wearing a bodycon dress?? Even brands that use plus size models make sure that those models are curvy in all the "right" places. We're now being told that it's okay to be curvy and to love your curvy body - as long as those fat deposits decide to reside solely on your bust and your buttocks, giving you the perfect hourglass figure.

And I'll admit that I was still sucking my stomach in while taking these photos. I also tend to only wear clothing which flares out at the waist in order to hide my stomach. Because I am a product of this oppressive thought, and part of me believes that I'll be taken less seriously and that my photos will be less liked if I show that tummy off.

This needs to change.

I want to be able to wear anything that I want, regardless of whether it suits me or looks "flattering" on my body.
I'm fitter and healthier than I've been in a long, long time. And yet, I still have a little pot belly. And this is okay and perfectly, perfectly normal. So this is my pledge: I'm not going to automatically shy away from wearing dresses which show it off. I'm going to wear dresses that aren't "right" for my body type. I'm going to dress in the clothes that I like, and focus on what my body can do rather than what it looks like - regardless of what society thinks.
And I encourage you all to do that same, whatever that may be for you. Grow your body hair long, wear leggings, singlet tops, tight pants and short skirts - do something that makes either yourself or other people uncomfortable, and then realise how much it just doesn't matter. Forgo make up, cake on make up, dress up, dress down - do whatever the hell you want. Because it's your body, and your body can do amazing things.

Outfit details:
Dress is thrifted (originally Asos)
Shoes are from Asos 
Necklace is from Tash Tash Jewelry
Tote bag is Lazy Oaf 
Headband is from Hong Kong
Lenses are GeoMedical (Magic Color Violet)

Love,






Bloglovin' | Youtube | Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram | Chictopia | Lookbook | Tumblr

30 comments:

  1. This is a great post, Annika, and I've been thinking about this very thing lately. I think ultimately, the clothes I like make me feel the most confident and attractive (for myself, not for anyone else), so the clothes I like the best tend to present me at my best... or what society has TOLD me is "my best." I have always had a tummy, and I've always been made to feel ashamed of it, instead of believing that I can be beautiful *because* of (and not in spite of) it. I am a firm believer in wearing what brings us joy. You are such an inspirational lady!

    Also, you look gorgeous, that dress is amazing, and I am jealous of your booty.

    xox Sammi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hm, you're right - most of the clothes that I like are the ones that "flatter" me in all the right ways too. but I also LOVE love love wiggle dresses and tight midi-skirts even though they don't, and so I'm definitely going to try and wear them more now!
      You are also a wonderful, beautiful, inspirational lady, and thanks for the booty compliments (i'm pretty happy with my booty lately, stretch marks and all!)
      xxx

      Delete
  2. You look amazing, that's such a cute dress!
    I'm kind of speechless that that woman thought you were pregnant and was so rude about it. I remember being told by someone close to me once that I shouldn't wear the bodycon dress I'd just bought because I have a little belly, and that little comment they thought was kind and helpful really set me up on a self hatred kick (which I'm long since over, but it's amazing how powerful one negative comment can be). I'm really grateful that we've started to call such behaviour out now, as body policing is so destructive and everyone deserves to feel amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's one little comment like that that can stay with you for years. One mean person in highschool once made a comment about me having dry elbows and it literally was something that stuck with me all the way until adulthood. I'm so glad that it's becoming less and less acceptable to make off-the-cuff comments like that, too :)

      Delete
  3. Oh my God, i can only imagine what you must have felt that time. I would have felt bad about that for days. It's a shame we have such distorted beliefs about beauty these days - that if your thighs touch you have no right to wear jeans or if you aren't pretty you have no business blogging. We definitely need more people like you who would inspire others to be comfortable in their own skin.

    Kathy
    www.mypeachdays.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried my best to laugh it off, but honestly it still stuck with me the entire night that I was wearing this dress! :|
      I know that I am pretty much conventionally "attractive" in every other way so I was kinda uncertain that me saying, "hey guys, I know I'm really pretty but you all should love your body"! was going to be particularly helpful to anybody - but I hope it *can*, in however small a way, encourage other people to be happy with their so-called "flaws", embrace them, and rock them :) Which is why I tried to post some photos in which I was unhappy with my stomach, and never would have posted otherwise!

      Delete
    2. I think it's great to have another woman's voice in the body-love/acceptance movement, no matter what they look like. I also believe people should not comment about others bodies, ever.

      Delete
  4. The hell? Who could think you look pregnant? I find that utterly ridiculous. You actually have a pretty flat stomach compared to most people. Most people have a little something there anyway! I admit I don't wear my bodycon dresses if I'm having a particularly food baby bloated day.I guess I just feel like I know I could look "better" in it another day. Which brings up a whole lot of questions about why I feel that way...but anyway, I think your body looks awesome and I'm definitely jealous that you have a butt to fill out the bottom half of your dress.

    Jamie | PetitePanoply.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was still sucking my stomach in in these shots, I'm sad to say :| And I pretty much still only wore it *because* I was having a "good tummy day" too, haha. I guess we feel this way because although most people have a bit of jelly around their belly, pretty much all advertising/television/media pretends that nobody does?!?! Especially the female-kind. And it's really, really fricken bizzare and not okay.

      Delete
  5. Love the dress on you ! What a killer figure :)

    A Forte For Fashion

    X

    ReplyDelete
  6. This happened to my mum several years ago, we were in a park and a girl about ten years old pointed at my mum's belly and yelled "mum, mum, the woman is going to have a baby !" Even though it was a child who said that, it was devastating for her, I still remember her face that day :(
    As far as I can remember, my mum has always been trying diets after diets, and she always hated her body. The thing is that a few days ago, we found out that she may now have diabetes because of this "yo-yo" of diets... This really makes you think, is it worth that I ruin my health for other people ?

    Anyway I think you look stunning in this dress, I instantly stopped scrolling when I saw your picture on facebook haha :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have a bit of a belly (I can't help it ice cream is so delicious!!)
    At school a boy thought i was pregnant because his girlfriend would always run up, hug me and ask when the next episode of a show we watched came out.

    I don't like my stomach and I'm always trying to hide it, but now that I'm at Uni I'm going to try to stop being embarrassed of my stomach and arms and hopefully be more confident.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, you mean they would ask "when's it due" or something like that?
      And heck yeah, try it! We need to change the idea of women hiding the "shameful" bits of their bodies!

      Delete
    2. Yeah, she always used to say "When's it coming out??" whenever I saw her.

      Delete
  8. there are some amazing body posi blog accounts and girls on instagram so rather than an anecdotal story about body policing it would have been nice if you included them as well since you do have skinny privilege......something to think about

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am well aware of my skinny privelage, and this is a good point - is there any blogs you'd recommend? (I don't usually feature any other people on my blog unless I'm directly collaborating with them but I'd like to at least link to some!)

      Delete
  9. What a wonderful post. I do the same thing - wear flattering clothing, suck my stomach in - even though I don't have any reason to. I know I am of normal weight. I shouldn't have to be ashamed of my body, yet still I feel like I should be skinnier, or fitter, or something else than I am right now. Your post reminded me that I don't have to fit into the (very small) standards the society is trying to shove me towards. Thank you. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! I'm so glad :D we should all rock our little tummies with pride!

      Delete
  10. This is such a great post! I have felt the burn of people thinking I was pregnant and it was horrible. I would sit with it for a few days but I realized my truth is not in caring what total strangers think. My truth is my own and if they had a problem, that was their problem, not mine. I've been getting more and more courageous with my body lately and I'm loving it! I don't know why I waited so long! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I think that not taking to heart the opinions of strangers is good life advice in general - something I've definitely also struggled with a lot in the past with as well! (Why would I start a fashion blog if I was scared of the opinions of strangers; good question, Annika). I'm so happy to hear that you've been feeling more at home with your body lately, that's so great! I agree that it is liberating loving yourself! :) <3

      Delete
  11. First of all, that lady was really rude. Second, throughout the post you were saying that that the dress didn't suit your body type...well I don't agree. I think it totally suits you! You have a very feminine body shape and yes, like MOST WOMEN, you a little bit of fat on stomach but that is normal.
    Wear this type of dresses and wear them with confidence because they suit you very well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I meant that in society's eyes the dress doesn't suit my body type - I think that I looked damn fine! I even stopped sucking my stomach in by the end of the night because I really was trying hard to be comfortable in the dress. But thank you sooo very much for your lovely comment :) <3

      Delete
  12. What a story! oh my goodness, that's horrible. I like your 'dont give a fuck' attitude, we should all follow suit.

    xo
    Kristina
    TweeValleyHigh.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Long before I ever was married or had babies, I was once told that the food I was getting was "good for the baby!" from an old man who nodded and pointed at my stomach. I just smiled and said thanks, because I found it hilarious. I've always had a belly, even at my thinnest, and I've always kind of loved it! If I'm not wearing wiggle dresses and pencil skirts, it's not because of my belly (which is now a pregnant one, so... no mistakes there), but because of my hips and thighs, which have always been large and I hate the way fitted bottoms ride up because my thighs happen to curve. Sigh. I just am not a fan of constantly adjusting my clothes, even if I do like the way they look (which, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.) I love this post, though. I wish there wasn't such a thing has the "right" places for curves; seriously, even my slimmest, fittest friends have bellies. Even my super skinny husband has a small curve on his stomach -- none of it fat, all of it muscle. It's kind of normal for certain body types to just have that curve.

    And I think it's beautiful. You're beautiful! The creepy doll eyes are amazing, those eyelashes are fantastic, and your booty in this dress looks pretty hot. As does the belly.
    xo
    Kristina
    www.eccentricowl.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hear, hear! I'm all for this - body policing needs to stop!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you so much for this post! I have a similar figure like you, small and slim, but with a little belly. When I am wearing 50ies circle skirt I can hide it, but I do because I like the style not because I dislike my belly. But when wearing fitted dresses I start to overthink things, even though I perfectly know that even tiny women like me don't have perfectly flat bellies unless they train hard for it.
    As said by Eccentric Owl above, it is a shame that we have concepts like "right", "odd" or "plus-size" when talking about something as varied as the human body, first aim should be that we feel comfortable being ourselves and not suit others.
    ~ ette

    ReplyDelete
  16. you're amazing and I love you. I loved reading this post. Ahh!!! I was just punishing myself over my pooch but then I was like, who cares, I am happy and healthy. I am not letting anyone make me feel bad because I get to eat what I want and I am happy. XOXOX beautiful girl!

    love, polly
    pollybland.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. that lip color you have on is everything! thanks for this post. love your style :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a message! I read every single one. Don't forget to check back for a reply if you leave a question! ♥

Related Posts with Thumbnails