Trigger warning: much of the language used in this post refers largely to cisgender women’s bodies. While I completely support and am an ally to the transgender and non-binary members of my community, I can only speak from my experiences as a cisgender woman.
We all know how the media and societal beauty standards impact on how we see ourselves, and the way we choose to present ourselves to others. It impacts what we buy, what we wear, and can really get right into our brains until we start to truly believe we aren’t good enough as we are without buying into all the diet crap, cosmetics, clothes, fitness regimes etc etc. I had the idea to write this post after a conversation I had with a friend about this sort of thing. We were talking about things we thought weren’t normal about bodies, and how much it can control you. She said she always thought until very recently that nipple hair wasn’t supposed to be a thing on women’s bodies, and she always felt very self conscious about it. So, first on the list of things that are absolutely, definitely normal about women’s bodies is nipple hair!
In fact, hair in general is normal. We are mammals, after all. Yeah, some people have more than others, and women especially are taught to believe that we should get rid of all our body hair so we can appear visually appealing to men (and not at all like a baby alien). Whatever you choose to do with it is completely up to you, as long as you’re happy. But just remember, it’s there for a reason and if you decide to let it grow wild and free, that’s totally okay. Body hair that is normal includes:
1) Armpit hair
2) Leg hair
3) Butt hair – on the outside and in the crack
4) Stomach hair – women can have happy trails too
5) Chest hair – not just limited to nipples!
6)Arm hair – this is something I used to be embarrassed about because I have such dark hair, which is more noticeable on my arms and hands
7) Hand hair – we all have it, lil hairy hands and knuckles
8) Pubic hair – gotta stop censoring this and acting like it’s disgusting and wrong
9) Foot hair – which extends to yer toes too!
10) Back hair
11) Facial hair – something which is very embarrassing for a lot of women, cuz god forbid you don’t look “feminine” enough. I have this one chin hair that always seems to appear over night. It’s jet black and grows to like an inch long. I don’t know who it thinks it is or where it comes from, but it’s normal too.
We are not symmetrical. Our faces and bodies are naturally asymmetrical, because that’s just how it is. I have a slight underbite and crooked teeth despite having had braces. I also have wonky eyes if you really pay attention, but it doesn’t affect my life in any way.
Fat, and all the different ways it sits on our bodies, is also totally normal. Belly rolls, back rolls, cellulite. They are ALL FINE. Try to remember that lots of tiny, insignificant things that are seen as flaws, are photoshopped out of ads and other photos. Even the models in all the ads we’re bombarded with daily don’t look like models. I’ve seen them on the catwalk, and they do actually have cellulite and jiggly bits. And they’re made to feel just as bad about it as we are.
Stretch marks are meant to happen, whether or not we’ve been pregnant. They are a sign that our body went through something, and adapted to accommodate the changes. The opposite of stretch marks is not smooth skin, it’s ripped skin. Your body is protecting you all the time. Stretch marks are frickin fascinating and beautiful, and EVERYONE has them.
Boobs come in so many shapes and sizes, just like people, and yet we’re still led to believe that one very specific boob type is the “perfect” type. It’s extremely rare that they’re actually round and perky, no matter the age or weight or circumstances of the person they belong to. Believe me, as a bra fitter I’ve seen all the types of boobs you could imagine. They are as unique as finger prints, and all are good and normal. On the subject of boobs, may I remind you that nipples are also completely normal. There’s nothing sexual about any part of a boob, whether or not we’re forced to hide or censor the nipple in photos and in life. Nipples again are just as varied in size, colour, shape and placement. Yours are fine the way they are.
The last thing I want to mention real quick is the dReAdeD vulva. Learn your anatomy, cuz the vagina is on the inside and you can’t see it from looking at a woman in her underpants unless something has gone very, very wrong. Some women have what has been termed a FUPA, or fat upper pubic area. Ya know the way Cosmo magazine has solutions to all your gross, fat body problems. They even have ways to reduce the size of your FUPA. JESUS CHRIST. Please don’t think this is okay. Please don’t feel like the size of your vulva somehow dictates your worth as a person. PLEASE DON’T READ THESE MAGAZINES. The size of you FUPA and the length of your labia are both perfectly normal, and if you’re worried about what someone you’re dating might think when they see it, chances are all they’re thinking is how excited they are to see it. There is nothing wrong with it. Please leave it alone.
There are so many other things about your body that are normal. Freckles, moles, scars, birthmarks. Try to see the beauty in your individuality and reject the narrow beauty standards we’re expected to live up to.