Pleasure the had,” she said simply. Rihanna addressed her recent weight gain last week, causing speculation about her new curvier figure. Everyone I know has been praising her for embracing her fluctuating body type and looking amazing this summer.”
When they gazed into the reflection, additional black females also concurred with the phrase, “I am content with the way that I am.” In the 50 States of Women study conducted by Glamour and L’Oreal Paris in August 2017, approximately 59% of black females among the 2,000 participants described themselves as beautiful, in comparison to 25% of white females and 32% of Hispanic females. Despite the widespread attention Rihanna received for her reaction, her body affirming mindset is not unusual for a black female.
Jean Twenge, a Ph.D. Who studies the intersection of self-esteem and race, explains that the mindset of discrimination against black women as a defense mechanism has been passed down from generation to generation. Growing up, black women are taught the idea of “why” – why their self-esteem and race intersect – enough to know that they are smart, beautiful, and strong.
Believing in the evidence of our success, I know that in order to survive in a society that puts us down, we need to be as tough as being. We are aware that we constantly have to think and act like society tells us to – angry, pushy, and loud. Despite the fact that black women are often told we are too much for mainstream society, I always remember the feeling of winning a prize, like the one I read about in the survey.
In addition to wanting to lose weight, I also desired balance. However, I felt like I would be missing out on life if I eliminated any more items from my diet, and starving myself was not an option. Despite trying various methods such as exercise, calorie counting, and eating salad, I was unable to shed the ten pounds I had gained. This pattern of gaining weight and feeling distressed about it during the summer has been a recurring occurrence throughout my life. Coincidentally, the survey arrived at a significant moment for me, as I was currently undergoing a personal transformation in terms of body image.
My position among the 59% was frequently uncertain. Over time, my self-esteem was influenced by fluctuating opinions. There were occasions when I was seen as attractive and occasions when I wasn’t. I grew up in a neighborhood where only a few students or residents went to school and was often surrounded by students or residents who looked like me. Despite being celebrated in black culture, my friends often compliment my curves, chubby stomach, thighs, and hips.
My sister advised me, in response to my exasperation, “Perhaps you should simply embrace your body as it is,” during our conversation last summer. Despite feeling deluded, her words were both hurtful and detrimental, as they not only intensified my preoccupation with my weight but also altered my perception of myself. Shortly after, when the Glamour survey was published, I felt like I had become a part of the most self-assured group of women. It seemed that I had achieved something significant.
I find something comfortable when I leave the house, which takes me hours to do these days. There are also days when I frown at the dimples on my thighs or pinch the pudge that pokes over my jeans. I wouldn’t dare tell someone that I’m not the best thing on two legs when I feel unstoppable. Even though I’m doing better at accepting and loving my body, there are still days when I think I’ve ever called bouncing between pleasure sizes. But last week, Rihanna’s comments put me on notice.
There is such a remarkable range of versatility in enjoying pleasure and gaining weight every summer. It doesn’t matter what people say, knowing that you are beautiful and believing it makes a difference. There is a difference between self-love and self-acceptance, and Rihanna’s statement has finally helped me realize and accept myself. Even after all this time, I’m learning to accept myself if only for this moment.
Rihanna, speaking to The Cut, confidently stated that her self-esteem remains unwavering regardless of the feedback she receives. This is not due to a sense of entitlement, but rather because she is stunning, accomplished, and full of attitude. “I require clothing that is larger in size,” she expressed. “In the following week, the very next day, and even in the immediate future, I will effortlessly slip into a body-hugging outfit,” she further explained.
It may seem counterintuitive that historically, black women who have been insulted, excluded, and had their confidence diminished could be the ones who know that you’re not the “next girl” when you know that you won’t fit into the narrow “mainstream” beauty standards and when you know that your sense of style and confidence are developing with your own sense of self. Regardless of the mainstream public opinion, you are tasked with developing your own style and confidence, and you will never be the “next girl” who fits into the door shelves of clothes.
Starting the journey of self-love feels like placing good confidence. Young girls, like myself, need to be secure in their bodies, so I can’t wait for America to stop being racist. I know I am beautiful in every way and I don’t just want to believe it because someone told me or because a confirmed survey says so. But I want to believe it because I see myself in the light of the same community of black women who also feel confident. Rihanna’s comment made me realize that I want to be that kind of confident.