Latina and Latinx Beauty - Defying White Standards

By Savannah Castaneda

I've always had a rough relationship with my body since I was young. I'm not sure where it came from...but I always told myself it was "bad" to gain weight, and that I should do whatever I can to stop it from happening. Whether that meant skipping that cookie or running longer. I always told myself that I needed to stay within a certain image. Unfortunately, this practice hasn't stopped. It's gotten better over the years, but it definitely lingers. Sometimes I question if I really need my favorite dessert (chocolate brownie, of course), if I should run that extra mile, or if I should workout 7 days a week rather than 5. I have always struggled with self-love - emotionally and physically. It's a healing journey that I'm still on. But the whole body image thing really fucked up my confidence, and it's taken me soooo long to love my body, which impacted how I love my whole self and how I show up in spaces.

I think a big reason for this negative body self-image pattern is the white standards that were constantly portrayed in the media as I grew up. Blonde, blue-eyed, narrow hips, flat tummy, non-curvy was the "ideal" beauty standard. And I found it odd when I was little because I saw a lot of my family and black & brown friends not fitting within that image. We were a range of body shapes and sizes, different colors, different hair types, and it seemed beautiful. So I was very confused when every time I looked on TV I didn't see us. When I watched a movie and the main girl character was a small, petite white girl. When I looked in magazines and all the models were less than 120 pounds. I didn't see the body types that were walking around in my neighborhood. The body types that mi mami, tias, or amigas had. But I'm glad that's changing today because I hope every Latina and Latinx lil kid learns to love themselves from a young age. The way I wish I had.

And I hope you love yourself, too, homegirl. I hope you love your shape, the color of your skin when the sun kisses it, your eyes when they are filled with love, your hair - everything about you. Because you're beautiful and cherished. But honestly, nothing will cause you to love yourself besides your own image of yourself. Nothing will bring you confidence besides practicing positive self-talk. Fake it till you make it, bbygrl! It is up to us individually to help ourselves. And yes it is a long journey to become whole. To become healed. But it's worth it. And I rather have a few years of pure self-love and happiness than a lifetime of self-hate.


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