This week we watched Serena Williams win her 6th Wimbledon championship. She has won 21 Grand Slams. She is one of the greatest athletes of all time…and then the nasty remarks on the appearance of her body reared their ugly heads. Those remarks came from the media, and even worse, other women.
She has been accused of having a “manly” body or looking like a man. In a society that says Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner is a beautiful woman, I scratch my head and try to understand how the complete opposite could be said about this female athlete whose body looks healthy, well defined, strong, yet still feminine. Even worse, how other women could be okay with saying it.
I interviewed a celebrity recently and asked her what she thought about the media, and how they talk about her. Hearing her honest response was a needed reminder that these celebrities are people too. So I can only imagine how it must be to turn on the tv, or read in the paper and hear your body being the topic of conversation for thousands.
Body-shaming is not a new thing at all! It goes back as far as Sarah Baartman and even earlier than that. Women are told that their lips aren’t big enough, their butt isn’t big enough, they’re not shapely enough, and then when a woman does have those assets naturally, she often gets comments about having too much of it. Or in Serena William’s case, looking “manly” with those assets.
So how can we change this?
As women, we must first start accepting our own bodies. Often the snide remarks and negative comments come from a place of unhappiness within our selves. No more killing ourselves for butt implants, or maiming our bodies to fit an unrealistic definition of beautiful and sexy. We are beautiful and sexy within our own right, not through anyone’s approval of us.
Once we can accept ourselves, and our own bodies, we can start accepting each other. The body-shaming now starts at such young ages that our little girls develop body issues trying to look like unrealistic models who don’t even look like that themselves. If we want to change the body-shaming, we have to change how we view our bodies.
Serena, you’re beautiful, and I don’t know what these crazy people are talking about, but you’re not manly at all!
If you’re reading this, please know that you’re beautiful as well. Despite whatever flaws you may see, you’re beautiful!