I used to spend days trying to think of reasons why people shouldn’t stress about their imperfections, perhaps because I stress about my own a lot. A part of me forgot what prompted me to write about imperfections in the first place, that is until I saw Makhadzi, a well-known singer, and pictures of her dark inner thighs trending on Twitter. A photographer took a picture of her performing, with the picture in question showing her dark inner thighs exposed. Some Twitter users shamed her for this. It is this perception of women and their ‘flaws’ that reminded me why I wanted to write this article.
I have seen several pictures and posts on social media shaming women for having imperfections, from having dark inner thighs to saggy boobs. Seeing those posts as a teenager affected me a lot on a personal level. I was trying to understand why certain parts of my body looked the way they did. I was also trying to love them even though they didn’t look like the ones I usually saw getting glorified on television. Seeing those posts that shame women for having imperfections taught me to hate my own and learning to love my imperfections proved difficult. Those posts are not only shaming her, but they are also shaming everyone who has dark inner thighs. They are going to affect a teenager who is trying to understand her body and learn to love it, imperfections, and all.
This article is meant to remind anyone who will come across it that they shouldn’t worry about their ‘imperfections’. We don’t consider certain parts of our bodies beautiful because society tells us differently. For example, freckles were seen as an imperfection until one day people decided that they loved them. There are people who grew up in a society that reminded them time and again that their freckles are something they should hate, yet today they are something that some people desire and are considered beautiful by many.
I grew up in a society that adores hips and a big booty, basically a body that looks anything like Nicki Minaj’s or Kim Kardashian’s. Because of this, I always get confused when I’m watching old movies and a woman is critiqued for certain parts of her physical appearance. It shows how the criteria for beauty has changed over the years- there is a generation that saw hips as an imperfection, and now we have one that wholly embraces them.
The idea of beauty is always shifting, and it differs from one society to another. In Myanmar, a long neck is considered a symbol of well-being and beauty. In Ethiopia, native Surma people view a lip plate as a symbol of beauty. A lip plate is a heavy clay or wooden disk in a hole/piercing that a woman gets when she reaches a child-bearing age. In Mauritania being fat has been considered beautiful. According to abc news “voluptuous women were seen as sexy and a symbol of wealth.”
Whatever part of your body you don’t love because you think it is an imperfection is beautiful, society just hasn’t seen that yet. This doesn’t mean you have to wait for everyone else to see how beautiful your body is, just start appreciating it now and society will eventually catch on.