While I was in New York earlier this Fall for Rue107, I made it a point to try and work with some of the best photographers that I could get my hands on. One of which was Rochelle Brock, or as she calls herself The Fat Leopard. She was recommended to me by a fellow Ghanaian Plus Size Blogger as the one to work with, especially when it came to curvy women.
What struck me about her was that she called herself a body positive photographer, and from the get go, our brands aligned. However, the hardest decision for me was what to wear for the shoot. I knew it had to be something that was relative to the topic of body positivity, as I wanted to test how comfortable I was shooting with someone who was seemingly like myself. I thus decided to show off the two things that made me feel the sexiest.
Now you might imagine that feeling sexy is measured by the reactions, or the opinions of someone else. And I won't even lie, whiles deciding what parts to show off, I started off by remembering every compliment that I had ever gotten. But then I stopped and forced myself to think about which part of my body made me feel even the tinniest part better. I possibly won't tell you which parts I chose, because if they do really make me feel the best, then the images should show for themselves.
As I was preparing for the shoot, a couple things crossed my mind. Firstly I started to challenge the notion of showing off certain parts of my body. I wondered if that would appear as if I was objectifying parts of my body, and I also wondered if that would go against everything I stand for. Yes I preach that the love of one's self comes from the inside, and does not rely heavily on the shape or appearance of what I look like on the outside. But...there is an interesting twist that helped me overcome that fear.
For years and years, women have waited for culture to point out the latest sexy trend, and then be quick to jump on it if they fell into that category. Breast had its time during the baywatch era, legs had their time, flat stomachs did too, and big butts are back like never before. But the challenging part is that it seems as if we wait in a line for culture and maybe even the media to give us permission to flaunt a certain part of our bodies then we jump on it and saturate social feeds with our assets as the focal point, just to prove that we have always had what the world is catching up to. Which kind of makes no sense. I am pretty much in the "if you've got it, flaunt it" camp.
So yes, I encourage everyone of you to find that part of you that you love. Not one that someone has told you is the best part they love about you. But the one that you are so proud of. It can be your ears, your nose or your pretty painted toes. But in maintaining the theme of self love, I encourage you to love it and flaunt it, but not exploit it for the mere approval of others.
The part of you that you choose becomes your secret weapon, the one you pull out on the days when you may not feel your 100% best. And maybe even the one part you look to when you stand in front of the mirror, by yourself.
Don't give someone a magnifying glass to find the power in a part of you that has always been there.
Own It. Love it. Flaunt it.
That Hayet Rida
ps- If you are ever in the NY area, hit up Rochelle and go have some fun!!!
SHOP THE LOOKS
Body Positive fashion and lifestyle blogger.