Years ago, when I heard the first murmurs of body positivity, it was all about loving your curves. Now at that time, "curves" was referring to someone with an hourglass figure, and loving your curves was all about showing off your curvy hips, smaller waist and larger breasts.
But this message was incomplete. Some women also have bellies, and that didn't fit into this "love your curves" story. It was all about highlighting your "strengths," but concealing your belly at all costs.
Now admittedly, I have played into this, too — doubling up on Spanx, sticking with fit and flare silhouettes, anything to trick myself into believing I was curvy "in all the right places." Then something amazing happened. Women began proudly showing all of their curves, bumps and bellies! They embraced what their bodies were, and it was beautiful.
Eventually this movement adopted an acronym, because nothing happens in this century without a good hashtag. And so it was coined "visible belly outline" or #VBO.
One of the most empowering feelings I have experienced on my body positivity journey has been when I have worn a body-con dress, sans Spanx, and began to see my VBO as another beautiful feature of my body. This is a powerful experience that women of all sizes should have the right to. As our bodies change, for whatever reasons, embracing all of our bumps and curves (including our VBO) is a beautiful thing.
I am always inspired by women sharing their body positive journeys with the world, so here are some of the incredible women who have shared their VBO to continue to inspire women to do the same.
Kristin Chirico | Senior Editor, BuzzFeed
Chirico did a feature where she sought out looks to showcase her VBO.
Lyndsay Patricia | Aspiring Model
Lyndsay is never afraid to show her VBO.
Jewelz M | Model | Founder of @BigandBlunt
I got this skirt from @babydollsplus and right when I tried it on I fell in love with it. The slit up the side with the extra layer panel added so much more class to the look, it became one of my new favorite pieces immediately. So quickly that I never even had time to think up all the flaws that would have been wrong with this outfit in the past. For starters the belly popping out, the pantie line, the vagina boob, my super high waist line, and last but certainly not least my wide hips. None of these things popped into my mind yesterday while getting ready or while out in it the whole day. Though when I got home and saw the photos I couldn't beleive. I couldn't beleive how free I really am, how far iv actually come. To not even think if I should wear an outfit due to my body shape or weight is astonishing to me. To think that just about a year ago I let fear dress me and control my life seems unreal, if I didn't live it, I don't think I'd beleive it. #bigandblunt #fatshion #plussizefashion #psootd #modelmonday #nobs #pizzasisters4lyfe #effyourbeautystandards #fuckyourbeautystandards #fucksociety #bigarmnoharm #honormycurves #mtlplusfwstyle #sorryimnotsorry #wearwhatyouwant #curvee #curvesarein #curvywomen #bodypositive #bodypositivity #plus_isamust #girlswithcurves #celebratemysize #plusmodelmag #queenshavenosize #befree #beautyisnotgeneric #fullfiguredfashion #girlswithglasses #springishere
Jewelz feels free showing her VBO and reflects, "To think that just about a year ago I let fear dress me and control my life seems unreal."
Saucyé West | Model
Plus-size model, Saucyé West says, "I don't suck nothing in!"
Virgie Tovar | Lecturer | Activist | Author
Virgie started the movement #losehatenotweight, and is a clear supporter of showing off her VBO.
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