For many, a blossoming relationship can be followed by a wave of insecurity. Especially when it comes to body image.
Seeing each other naked can bring up body insecurities in a way that no other situation can. We question our curves, frames, and even compare our bodies to that of our partner's — they have smaller thighs, they are thinner, they are less bulky. And this is completely normal, even if they are of a different gender.
But British blogger Essie Dennis is reminding us it's time to ditch that way of thinking and embrace the body we have.
On Instagram this week, the model shared an image of herself in a sports bra and underwear flexing her strong arms. She's out to prove that how we see ourselves in the mirror shouldn't be based on who we are dating.
"There is nothing inherently 'manly,' about being strong," Dennis wrote alongside the 'gram that has over 1,600 likes. "There is also nothing inherently 'unfeminine' about being bigger, taller or musclier than a man. My whole life I have dated men who are thinner than me and when I was younger that used to get to me."
"I thought that it made me less of a girl to have bigger thighs than my boyfriend. Honestly, this is a fallacy. Men don't need to be bulky/tall and women don't need to be small. How we feel about ourselves should also not be based on who we are dating or bullshit ideals about how men and women are supposed to look."
Essie's point is that no matter the shape of your body, you should never let someone else make you feel like less of a woman. Society might have created the stereotype that a woman should always be thinner and shorter than a man (and many of us have been guilty of buying into it), but love doesn't have a specific body type. Heterosexual women like all kinds of men, just like hetero men like all kinds of women.
In another post, Essie writes how when she asked her female friends if they thought they were beautiful, most of them replied with a "no." But she believes we should always be nurturing those around us to help them understand that they are beautiful in any shape or form.
"I see the beauty in them is more than skin deep," she writes. "It is not always easy to see that in yourself. We are taught that beauty is something we will never truly achieve and that if we think we are beautiful then we are arrogant or narcissistic. It has been hammered into girls from a young age that beauty and worth are inextricably linked, and if you convince girls they can never attain beauty you teach them you cannot attain worth."
"We do not want to live in a world where someone telling you that you are ugly has the potential to shatter self esteem and self worth. We need to nurture our children, our friends, our partners into understanding that something as fragile as an opinion does not have the strength to break us."
Well said, Essie! Looks like we just found ourselves a new body image hero.
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