• Mavis Braga

Mono Me: I am NOT my body, my body is ME.


The reality is that each and every one of us have insecurities. Although, I would never recommend that that be the basis of your self-acceptance, it makes us feel less insecure, because everyone has their own personal issues. However, in modern day, there is a great sense of prying on self-loathe and the beauty and cosmetic industry is thriving off that very fact. We are made to believe that if my contour kit is not popping, there honestly is something wrong with me. If my waist is not sporting a waist trainer, I am simply not trying hard enough. It has become near impossible to meet the requirements for the definition of beauty, but who is to say that my body type is defined by you?

Body stereotypes have reached the roof lately. Everyone has something to say about your body type. It is almost as though your body belongs to society and they get to give snide remarks. Every single day, you will have someone pass a compliment on your look, your hair, your bulging waist or your blemishes. On the days you look like a dime, they will still have something to say about how your make-up ought to have been a bit less dramatic to not take away from the outfit, or your eyebrow game ought not to be so strong, or your outfit is too over the top, it doesn’t suit your body type. You can never win!

"Worst yet, is when you are glowing and radiating self-love and they want you to take a seat and wait on some validation. Simply stated, society has to approve before you can begin to love on your body."

Earlier this week, I posted a picture on Instagram that spoke on the ills of society and the shame that is perceived to be a body that is not slender, or thick with a slim waist. The perceived notion that you must be a size zero to be photoshoot worthy, which takes away from the fact that we are all uniquely created. It is not possible to look like we all walked off a runway, it simply is not possible. What bothers me most about this, is the fact that when a woman who is plus size is comfortable in her skin, it is almost as though it irks people. My question is simply this, why are people so bothered when someone is happy in their own skin, regardless what body size or shape that may be?

Earlier this week, I posted a picture on Instagram that spoke on the ills of society and the shame that is perceived to be a body that is not slender, or thick with a slim waist. The perceived notion that you must be a size zero to be photoshoot worthy, which takes away from the fact that we are all uniquely created. It is not possible to look like we all walked off a runway, it simply is not possible. What bothers me most about this, is the fact that when a woman who is plus size is comfortable in her skin, it is almost as though it irks people. My question is simply this, why are people so bothered when someone is happy in their own skin, regardless what body size or shape that may be?

This article is on highlighting that we as Namibians ought to start allowing women to be comfortable in their skin, without having something to say. It is to the woman who is struggling with every diet in the book to fit into the stereotype small body. It is to the woman who is petite, tired of being called skinny and continues to force feed herself to become a size bigger. To the woman who cannot bare to look in the mirror, because she would rather not see her body. To the woman who is tired of nipping and tucking to get the perfect Instagram picture that doesn’t show her flaws.

This article is on highlighting that we as Namibians ought to start allowing women to be comfortable in their skin, without having something to say. It is to the woman who is struggling with every diet in the book to fit into the stereotype small body. It is to the woman who is petite, tired of being called skinny and continues to force feed herself to become a size bigger. To the woman who cannot bare to look in the mirror, because she would rather not see her body. To the woman who is tired of nipping and tucking to get the perfect Instagram picture that doesn’t show her flaws.

Honey, you are not your body, your body is you. You are allowed to love every perfection, next to every flaw.

So, here’s to accepting yourself as you are. You deserve that self-love.

Here are some stories about body types from Namibian women, who show just how human you are and that everyone struggles, but the responsibility of self-acceptance lies first with YOU.

  • Fenni Iipumbu (Curator of nandjaya.com)

When it comes to body, I take after my mom and women in my family who are beautiful and voluptuous. I became aware of this quite early on in life as my mom would say, “WE can’t eat too much of that or that’s not good for US, it’ll will add weight”. In essence, she was just stating that our bodies are prone to gaining weight and we should always try to be healthy (she’s totally right). I grew up constantly trying to lose weight. Now, that I’m older I look back and just ask myself why? Why did weight matter so much? The truth is it didn’t and it doesn’t. We are all made in the perfect image of God, so that already tells us we’re beautiful. What matters is what’s on the inside. Yes, it’s important to be healthy and aspire to reach your goals, but don’t allow that to postpone your happiness. Learn to love yourself NOW, for everything that you are and everything that you aren’t. Learn and invest in the things. You have to remember that your body is a vessel. Treat it with love and respect and talk to it with kind words. You are 100% capable of loving yourself right now, so do it.

  • Foxy Ginnah (Model & Fashion Designer)

Since childhood, I’ve been told;

Eat more. Fatten up. You look unhealthy. You’d look better with thicker thighs and boobs.

I cannot help the shape of my body and I do not want to feel ashamed of it. I do not feel any anxiety when I look in the mirror due to what is reflected back at me. I wouldn’t change any part of it. I love my body so genuinely that I celebrate the figure I see in the mirror.

  • Nguvi Mberirua (Entrepreneur)

Over the years, my body has fluctuated in breadth and length.

When I started my University Journey I gained weight and people made remarks such as, “you’ve gained so much weight, you’re so fat” and these remarks bothered me. I signed up for the gym and eventually joined a boot camp in order to curb these remarks. However, the mistake I made was doing it to please other people first and then me. I learnt that my weight is horizontal to my health and eventually I started working out to please myself with being fit and healthy.

Don’t ever put your body under pressure to please society, as the norm is being a size small etc. The only thing that matters is how you feel about your body and that way not one single negative comment that anyone makes about your body will bother you.

  • Lahya Haininga

The assumption, because I am by society’s standards an ‘acceptable’ body type, is that I don’t battle body issues. False! I have been at war with my body; bum not round enough, bosom too big for my size. Honest to God truth, sexy is subjective, beauty in the eye of the beholder so how dare I not find me beautiful? Love myself without reservation, without exception, exhaustively? My hips don’t sway when I walk but honey, I love them. My breasts jiggle but baby, I embrace them. My chipped tooth, the acne scars, hate them I might sometimes but they are not what defines me.

  • Memory Herman (Travel Blogger)

I’ve been thick for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, there were moments of discomfort with my body, because I felt everything was always extra. As woman, I’ve come to appreciate that extra! I can honestly say, I’m in love with my body – bumps, curves & all that! I may not have the ideal body, but I put in the work & remind myself that, I keep fit for my health before anything else. As a woman, I am beautiful regardless of my body type – but I know what I want, so I put in the work & at the end of the day I still be loving on myself! So yeah hashtag #stillthick

  • Masiyaleti Mbewe (Creative)

I’ve always been skinny. I’ve always been plagued with the idea that I wasn’t woman enough (whatever that means).

Growing up in Botswana where fuller figures and lighter skin was always celebrated, my self-esteem took a knock in my formative years.

When I was around 19, my friends and I started experimenting with photography and fashion. I grew more confident in my androgyny. I wasn’t afraid to blur gender lines with my fashion and I was also able to shed my apprehension around my ideals around femininity and what that meant (for me).

Now, I would absolutely be remiss if I did not say this; I, like many other women my body type have experienced a lot of privilege. We get the modelling gigs. We don’t have to think too much about how our size affects our shopping experiences. Our body types are the staple. Our body types are idolized and I think it is part of my duty as an activist to speak out on some of the discrimination other people with non-conventional body types experience. That being said, I have grown to accept my body. I’m not the most confident person on earth. I’m extremely insecure if I’m being completely honest.

But I acknowledge the privileges I have by being able-bodied and having a conventionally ‘attractive’ body type.

How do you relate? What’s your story?

This article was written for MonoChrome Magazine.

Check out more of my articles on Mono Me

www.monochrome.net.na

#Life #Love #Body #Goals

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Windhoek, NAMIBIA 

eliasmavis@gmail.com

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With Love

Mavis

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