Written by Contributor Writer Layla McKinley
Sophie Simmons a young designer for “average” sized women recently sat down with one of the major stars from Orange Is the New Black, Dascha Polanco. What progressed was an inspirational video that detailed Dascha’s struggle with body image and her pursuit to find acceptance within herself.
Women start as girls nitpicking their bodies. I remember growing up as a young teen and trying to hide my stretch marks on my hips or my imperfect booty with boyshorts at the pool. Even as a very thin person, I remember trying to make sure my skin didn’t fold into a roll when I sat down. Whether big, small or somewhere in between I know there are plenty of women and girls who face(d) the same struggle. They want to change or hide their bodies because something they have seen somewhere has put it into their minds that their bodies are not okay the way they are. But we are women! Our bodies are put through hell and there are going to be battle scars to show it. It is just how it works. Some of us are prone to weighing more and some are prone to weighing less. Some women are prone to acne or stretch marks, more body hair or whatever the case may be. We are who we are due to our genetics and the life choices we make. What is important is that we love ourselves for who we are and stop hating our bodies because of what society says is or is not beautiful. Dascha Polanco shared a few vital points on the subject that I think would do all women and girls alike, well to remember. It’s also important to remember that just because someone goes about feeling confident with their body a different way to you, doesn’t mean they should be shamed for it. For example, if someone wants to feel more confident with their body so they look at going at Emsculpt providers, this is a completely valid way to get the body they want. Some people have different ideas about their perfect body image and so if they’re willing to do that, there’s not an issue! Yes, accept yourself but also accept others.
One of the first things that Dascha talks about is how she is raising her daughter who is starting to face issues with body image. Her daughter has started wanting to go to the gym because she wants her body to look a particular way. Dascha has attempted to correct her daughter’s intentions and refocus on her health versus how she wants her body to look. One of the lessons we can learn from this is that health is what matters. Health is the new black. You don’t need to be muscular, lean, thin, curvy or voluptuous. What you need to be is healthy. Regardless of how you look, if you do not eat well and treat your body well, you will not feel well. Dascha is setting her daughter up for success later in life. It teaches her to go to the gym or to eat well for herself and for the health of her body. I think mothers should take note. While the media is pounding your daughters with propaganda on how to dress, do their makeup and what their body should look like, you can teach them that a healthy body is what matters most. Build them up now so they do not face the harshness that society has to throw at them.
Dascha also talks about how when she first saw herself on Orange Is The New Black (OITNB), how she was appalled. She said she just looked big and she did not like it. The important part about that is she used it as motivation in order to get healthy. Since then she has started going to the gym and has begun to eat healthier. When she was not satisfied, she changed. She knows she will never be a size 0 because she is not built that way but what mattered to her is that she lost weight and got healthy in a way that satisfied herself not society. She put in the hard work to become a healthier person for herself and she did it.
Dascha disclosed that she was in an abusive relationship where a man had made her feel poorly about herself. She is so right when she says that if you have a partner that makes you feel that way, you should not be with them. Partners are supposed to uplift you and build you up, not support societies’ ideals that women need to look a certain way. A real worthy partner will accept your flaws and know that no one is truly perfect and that even the models in magazines are photoshopped. The lesson here is that if someone is making you feel worse about your body, it is time to let go. Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people and watch how fast your perception of yourself will begin to change.
The interview closes out with Sophie Simmons asking Dascha her advice to make women feel confident naked. They talked about how women get insecure when things jiggle or move around. But Dascha’s response is perfect basically she said, so what? So what if body parts are moving and shaking? To expand on that, so what if body parts aren’t? We are who we are and as long as we are healthy, that is what matters. But we continue to look towards external validation that we look good. When, really, nothing outside of yourself is going to give you that validation for very long. You have to find it in yourself. Only you can make yourself feel beautiful all the time. If you embrace who you are and the vessel that God has given you, you will be much happier in the long run. Dr. Steve Maraboli puts it perfectly, “there is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”