The Politics of Being Thick
2017 is the year of being bad, bougie, and thic af.
The amount of memes idolizing thickness in women have skyrocketed. While I’m psyched that my own body type is being normalized as something other than a prop in a music video, when I look closer I realize that this standard of thickness is a very, very specific type of “thick.” We live in an age where embracing curves has come with the new wave of body positivity, but has the new male infatuation and usage of the word thic shifted into another misogynistic wolf in sheep’s clothing for more of the same unrealistic body ideals used to control women and their sexuality?
Go on Instagram and search the hashtag #thicaf. Scroll through the pictures and you will see, it’s a very exact mold of thickness: a non-existent Barbie doll waist, flat stomachs, big breast, an hourglass shape, and fat in “the right places” have become body posi inspo.
While these women’s bodies are beautiful and should be celebrated, we should also realize that most of the time the “thick” body comes with stretch marks, cellulite, stomach bulges and all of the other beautiful things that a woman’s body naturally has. 2017, we need to start appreciating women who are thick in places that are deemed unconventional, but are actually quite conventional and normal.
Take another scroll through your explore page and you may stumble across a meme like this:
If you read that and thought these stretch marked thighs were never going anywhere near your hands or your face anyway, then you’re probably tired of men giving their unsolicited opinion, via memes, of what constitutes the “right body type” on a woman.
Most women probably care more about the happiness of a rock over some infantile dude who doesn’t like parts of their bodies, yet under the comment section you’ll still find a range of people giving their input with a series of well crafted replies that range from: “hell yeah I care I don’t want to be f**king no zebra bruh”, to “#sexy.”
On the off chance, you might see the truly understanding and caring commenter who is willing to overlook the stretchmarks out of love.
“Love the stretch marks, because they’re a part of her *heart eye emoji*,” ahh romantic. If you’re like me, then you’re probably scrolling through the comments thinking, who cares if guys like them or not?? Men are not entitled to opinions on our bodies.
You can’t love us for our big bums and shame us for the stretch marks that come along with them, or cherry pick voluptuous thighs but make cellulite seem “other” and “gross.” If we’re going to embrace curviness then we need to love all of the little nuances that come along with it. Women come with stomach folds, back rolls, and sometimes none of that at all. Thick women sometimes have thigh dimples and a gut when we’re sitting down or a little extra skin under our arms that shakes with us.
Praising thickness and shaming everything that naturally comes along with it, only sets another impractical bar and artificial standard that is usually only able to be replicated by winning the genetic lottery, intense dieting, or surgical enhancements. We shouldn’t go back to the times when being extremely skinny was the ideal look but we also shouldn’t switch that out for having an unattainably low body mass index and curves; otherwise we’re just trading in a single top 1% for another top 1%.
So few women are not the right kind of thick or the right kind of skinny. It’s time we praise the in-betweens of a woman’s body. Celebrate women who have extra weight around their belly, whose waist align with their hips. Women with zero boobs and large butts, women who have thick thighs and stretch marks from weight gain. Women of color who have discoloration on their elbows, knees, and under their eyes. Recognize that this is natural, and it’s beautiful, and it’s not just the curve that makes us special but everything that goes into making us.