We might have come a long way when it comes to body positivity and self-love, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of women out feeling somewhat dissatisfied with their bodies. We might have had plus-size model Ashley Graham make history when she landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue and tons of retail brands like Aerie and Swimsuits For All, swearing off Photoshop in their ads, but a Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report last year found that women and young girl’s body confidence is still depressingly low. This has got to stop. But how do we encourage women to not allow society’s conflicting beauty standards to take a toll on their self-esteems? One way is to get real women to talk about them.
We got seven Latinas to open up about their insecurities and how they learned to love and embrace their bodies – despite the beauty standards that are constantly thrown in their faces. Check them out and be inspired!
Nationality: Colombian and Peruvian
Body type: “I would describe my body type as petite and athletic. I’m a short woman, but I’m pretty solid since I’ve put on lean muscle in the past few years due to weight training. My body can sometimes make it a struggle to find clothes that fit just right because of my height and build.”
On how she felt about her body growing up: “Growing up I definitely struggled with body image. I was somewhat overweight and during my adolescence dealt with hormonal and period issues due to my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis. The condition can make losing weight a struggle for many women and it was hard for me to go through this during those awkward teenage years. I would compare myself to other girls I went to school with who seemed to have the ideal body and were also popular. It didn’t help that sometimes female family members would make comments about how I’d look better skinnier. I didn’t have a lot of friends I confided in about my body image issues, so I ended up internalizing a lot of it. Shopping trips with my mom always ended in tears because I hated how everything I tried on looked on me.”
On Latin culture’s conflicting body image messages: “Growing up as a Latina was hard because I wasn’t curvy and I didn’t look remotely close to J.Lo or Jessica Alba. I didn’t fit that certain look that we are stereotyped for. I find that media still continues to push this idea that all Latinas are voluptuous and supposed to be sexy.”
On what helped her to love and accept her body. “I’m proud of my body and having learned that it’s capable of being strong. I love that I can bang out pushups or pullups and defy the stereotype that women can’t do what men can physically do. I embrace [my body’s] strength and it’s abilities as opposed to wondering if I’m thin enough. Sure, I still have my days where I find myself nitpicking about a flaw, but I’ve learned not to dwell on it.”