Featured in Body Talk

What Is Beauty?

Should we listen to society's beauty standards?

Why, as women, do we feel we need to conform to society’s expectations of what women look like or what we wear!? We, as women, are SO HARD on ourselves! We must have the skinny waist with the flat stomach, big butt, and wide hips, know the mastery of makeup, how to apply fake lashes and drawn on eyebrows. We aren’t mannequins or Barbie or even the celebrities we see on television or movies, but WE—yes, ladies, WE—listen to the media, listen to men who idolize these sex symbols, and we try and transform ourselves into what we are not!

I recently learned about waist training, where women wear these elastic and rubber-made binders that literally squeeze your insides and make them smaller so that your waist eventually becomes smaller! Waist training is similar to the Chinese ritual women do called binding of the feet. Women tape and wrap their feet until they are so tiny because this is a way that they establish a “status.” They believed that women who bound their feet came from wealthy families who didn’t need to work and could have them bound and it literally disabled them! This ritual would crush the bones in their feet and alter them so that some women could not even walk anymore and needed to be catered to constantly. Oddly enough, this foot binding ritual reminds me of the waist training that women do.

After doing more research about waist training, I found out that it has been done for thousands of years. So women used waist trainers or corsets to adhere to the beauty standards of having a small waist is more beautiful. So it’s not just us and our society’s expectations of women, it's HISTORY! Women would wear lace-bound corsets for a long period of time throughout the day, known as “tightlacing,” to constrict the waist. Eventually, it would make the waist size and dimension more petite. I actually also read that women take out their bottom rib in order for their waist to go in more, too!! Our world and our history and our rituals are nuts!! Women have it rough! What do men do? Hmmmmm, that’s something I will have to do some research on and write about next!

While scrolling through Instagram today, I noticed a woman, who bravely, I might add, posted photos and publicly admitted she had butt injections and how it nearly killed her! She said the surgeons had to remove even healthy tissue and fat from her butt due to the poison that had attached to it. So a beautiful woman transformed her body, maybe for her, maybe to conform to society, but she is now feeling the excruciating pain of a failed procedure and now has even less than what she started with. My heart breaks for her, but I praise her immensely for her bravery and public service announcement for others on the risks and dangers of transforming your body. Reading other’s comments, most were supportive and uplifting. She posted her post-op photos and all!

So is there something wrong with women who don’t have small waists and perfectly petite bodies? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Actually, lots of men—men of different nationalities—love women who are naturally petite, curvy, thick, plump, and NATURAL! Not with the corset-trained petite waist or butt implants or injections, but natural! Imagine that women are loved and admired for their natural beauty! You may not think a particular woman is beautiful, but who can actually define beautiful? Everyone has a different eye and desire of what beautiful is. IF you like makeup and heels, go for it. IF you like sneakers and sweats, go for it! Ladies, be free, be natural, and be YOU. Don’t let society’s expectations of what women should look like define you.

Foot Binding

Waist Training

Read next: Going Braless
Veronica Guzman
Veronica Guzman

Hello there! My name is Veronica, I am a single Mom of 3, living in Florida! I work full time, go to school in the evening and do everything I can to make a better world for my kids! I write to inspire others and share some truths about ME!  

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What Is Beauty?
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Going Braless