Have you ever thought about how important beauty standards are to you? How many people, especially women, don’t go out wearing what they want to wear just because they don’t feel secure about how they look? For quite some time, people were obsessed with the image of a perfect body. But what is a perfect body? Does skinny always mean healthy? And do a few extra kilograms always mean that a person is obese and doesn’t care about their appearance? Through time, these insecurities lead to thinking that plus-size people are not expected to wear certain clothes.
Just recently, American singer Lizzo posted a video of herself in a bikini, stating that it’s “big girl summer” and that women should allow themselves to wear what they feel like wearing to show their perfect bodies. This gained a lot of attention, and many of TikTok users started creating videos that show how people expect plus-size women to dress at the beach and what they should be wearing. Women in these short videos were praised and cheered. So that does mean that we are breaking the stereotypes that plus-size people face?
Lizzo recently posted a video praising women of all body types
Image credits: lizzobeeating
Bored Panda reached out to a few of these TikTok creators who agreed to answer some of the questions related to this topic. Randi Bosin (@mrsbosin) and Joselyn Foust (@itsjustjocelynk) both had their previous videos go viral. However, according to Randi, the videos that she wanted to gain attention never became viral, until recently: “I’ve always wanted a body positive post/video to go viral but they never had.”
For both of these women, body positivity takes an important role in their daily lives as well as in their careers. Randi is an affiliate for the “Closet Candy” boutique that sells clothes and accessories to all types of women and Joselyn is a mental health professional and a therapist.
Image credits: lizzobeeating
Having your video gain a lot of positive attention is always great. But it can also be scary if you’re showing a more vulnerable side of yours. We asked both women how it made them feel to get so much support on social media, to which they gave very genuine and personal answers.
Jocelyn revealed that “this particular TikTok was huge for me for a couple of reasons. I chose to show a very liberating yet vulnerable moment for me. I talk a lot about body positivity and self-esteem on my own social media both from a professional and personal perspective. I have struggled with body image and diagnosed eating disorders since I was eleven years old. It was not until this year that I began to find a confidence in myself that I have never had.”
Image credits: lizzobeeating
To overcome such struggles is an achievement that not only helps the person but those who go through the same thing. “Every day I get messages and pictures from women of all sizes all around the world. Women are thanking me for encouraging them to love themselves more. Women are sending pictures of their beautiful selves wearing a 2 piece for the first time in their lives. I’ve had women message me and tell me they saw a post or video I made just in time because they were going to give up… It literally explodes my heart and I tear up at every single message I get because it still feels so unreal. I think they’re all amazing and worthy and all I want is for them to believe it and to not let their minds bully their bodies anymore just because we are taught from a young age that if we don’t look like the airbrushed models then we are ugly,” says Randi.
Both women are happy that they are there for others to inspire them and to break these stereotypes of what counts as a perfect body.
Plus-size women started sharing videos of how people expect them to dress to the beach and how they actually dress
Image credits: mrsbosin
So does this mean that people are breaking the ice and we are finally addressing and eliminating stereotypes related to body image?
What is hard to grasp is that “no matter what society wants to admit, plus-sized people (men and women) get turned down in every aspect of life daily simply because of how they look. Jobs, promotions, dates… We must be lazy, underachievers, unhealthy and unworthy simply due to our appearance,” says Randi. Even though people now address these problems more often, it is still seen as stigma. What was noticed by Jocelyn is that social media plays a crucial role in this. It could be seen as a tool that either helps to spread the awareness or to “actively push unrealistic beauty standards on people.”
Image credits: jaci_dayne
“Size tags don’t equal worth and more people need to believe that,” states Randi, who is an affiliate for “Closet Candy” boutique. One of the main things you can notice scrolling through their page is the variety of sizes. Knowing how plus-size people struggle with finding something nice to wear, we asked Randi whether this problem has been solved throughout time.
She opened up about the start of her career when she thought that “my chances of being successful in a ‘fashion position’ as a plus-sized woman were slim to none,” revealing one more stereotype that fashion is only for skinny girls. “A lot of plus-sized women avoid shopping because sizing is inconsistent, not all stores carry plus size, a lot of stores charge more for plus-size clothing, and most of the time plus size is segregated from the rest of the clothing with not all the same options as everyone else.”
But now Randi is able to show that all people, no matter their size, can look and feel beautiful: “I go out of my way to give realistic reviews of our line on plus-size bodies and I work together with my amazing beautiful ‘thinner’ stylist friends to show the pieces on a range of bodies.”
Image credits: itsjustjocelynk
Bored Panda asked our other interviewee, Joselyn, who is a therapist, how these distorted body stereotypes correspond to our mental health. She stated that through her career, she has noticed that this distorted body image understanding takes a toll on people’s mental and physical health: “When we receive these awful messages from society and feel the pressures of it, or see things on social media that can put individuals in a place of comparison, our mental health can suffer. I know for me personally, comparing is easy to do—we are human! Comparison can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and/or depression.” She also emphasized the need to seek professional help when these thoughts and actions become unbearable.
Image credits: marawana999
Both women revealed how appearances and especially body image can strongly influence our lives in every aspect of life. And Randi wished that “in the end, I just want women to grow their self-love and for society to open their eyes to the worth of a person just because of who they are inside and not because of the number on a scale.”
Image credits: themhoffers
Check out the full video below
@mrsbosinIm a damn Queen and so are you 👑 put the suit on babe! #PerfectAsWeAre #DADMOVES #plussize #selflove #bodypositivity #BestSeatInTheHouse♬ original sound – 𝕞𝕖𝕞𝕠𝕞𝕒𝕤𝕚𝕥𝕒_𝕞𝕒𝕣𝕚