You Don’t Have To Love Your Body

The Establishment
The Establishment
Published in
5 min readMar 17, 2016

By Ijeoma Oluo

When it’s only us in the room, only fat women, someone might quietly say, like a guilty confession:

“I’m trying really hard to love my body, but . . . I just can’t.”

And we look at her and nod with sympathy and provide encouraging words like, “You’ll get there! You’re beautiful and deserve to feel beautiful.”

But many of us feel the same way more days than not, and we’re ashamed to admit it.

Most of the world tells us to be ashamed of our bodies. We do not fit the norm established by white patriarchal society. We have not conformed to the standards set by the men for whom our bodies were apparently created. If we cannot do these things, the least we can do is feel horrible about it.

The alternative to hating our bodies, to trying to starve ourselves into being less, to trying to will ourselves invisible, to refusing to enjoy a single outfit or a moment of exposed flesh, is to love our bodies.

Yes, to be free we must love our bodies. We must flaunt our curves and show that belly, and each and every day know that we are fucking beautiful. Anything less than this is proof that the poison of the patriarchy has infected our minds.

Loving our bodies is far preferable to hating our bodies. And if you’ve ever wanted to love your body, to experience that feeling — that movement can be life changing. And if you never love your body, it is comforting to know that it can be done.

But you don’t have to love your body.

I have found myself spending just as much time trying to love my body, trying to force out harmful images and judgmental thoughts, as I used to spend putting together vision boards of a thinner, “hotter” me. I practiced to correct my speech, to weed out any less than glowing words about my form. I worked hard to smile in front of the mirror when I wasn’t feeling it. I had a fashion blog showcasing how fun it can be to be fat in clothes. I carefully applied makeup and curated the perfect selfies to broadcast my confident life. This is how you act if you don’t want to hate your body.

The Establishment
The Establishment

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