Society’s body ideals have critiqued Black women of all body types for generations. Ever since I was a young Black girl, I struggled for years with my weight, obsessed over thick thighs and a flat belly, and always thought of ways that I could lose weight. And though society’s projections have shifted to more of a fascination and appraisals for thicker thighs, I still find myself doing these things to fit those expectations.
Such obsessions with the thick thigh movement have ultimately oversexualized Black women, denied and scrutinized the “fat upper pubic area” (FUPA), and belittled women who are genetically incapable of satisfying these social norms. And while on this quest to be Instagram thick, including these overwhelming factors, Black women have habitually fallen victim to body dysmorphia.
Based on this educational article by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by the obsessive idea or distorted view that one’s appearance or specific body part is severely flawed and thus warrants great measures to fix or hide it. This, of course, is no help to the standard of beauty that has morphed into this hypersexualized caricature only depicting the tiny waist, big hips, and huge thighs that are often assumed as natural. So Black women, the cause for such uprising fixation on curvy and voluptuous bodies, partake in the waist trainers, appetite suppression, weight gain pills, and even plastic surgery to fit such expectations.
Besides, the image of how Black women perceive themselves is an important part of their identity, and they tend to be more questioning of self-worth. If you have thick thighs but not a tiny waist, you do not fit these standards. And if you have a tiny waist but not thick thighs, you also do not fit this standard. In many more cases, these standards perpetuate unfeasible expectations for women of all shapes and sizes. And since 2010, Black women have increasingly been seeking plastic surgery to mimic the hourglass silhouette of very famous celebrities like Kim Kardashian, who single-handedly represents the modern-day apex of plastic surgery normalization while using the black body as the muse.
While it may be difficult to succumb to the pressures of these popularized figures, we as Black women must remind ourselves that they are the staple. The blueprint. From the hips, the bust, and the curves of a Black woman, we are beyond glorified and the pinnacle of beauty.