By Reem Kanj / Photography Carrie
The subject of bodies is nothing new. I’ve been trying to understand my body shape since I was 13 when things just appeared in places, expanded to sizes I never expected and I could never quite understand what I was supposed to look like, and even if I did, how would I ever attain it?
Selfridges recently launched a brand new space in their famed department store. A ginormous new section of the third floor has recently been carved out to pay homage to every type of body related category you can think of. From lingerie and nightwear to swimwear and sportswear, it’s a haven for choosing the perfect pair of knickers or if you’re anything like me, great for getting re-acquainted with your latest bra size.
As I mentioned earlier, the subject of bodies is nothing new, and in fact with a new digital age of sharing, following and liking everything so publicly, the subject grows wider, louder and ever still confusing.
Selfridges set out to celebrate our differences with their Everybody campaign and they’re doing so beautifully. The Body Studio is just one element of this, but when you take your search online and onto their website, I’m sure you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was to find that the models wearing your potential future purchases are of every kind of normal womanly shape. They are neither only sample nor only plus size because, well that’s just the reality of it. I’ve never quite understood why it only ever had to be one or the other, so I’m glad that a huge name like Selfridges has made a point to change that, making me very proud to be collaborating with them on this campaign.
In collaboration with Selfridges. All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own.
When I was 13 my body decided to bloom, and I mean bloom. I was a teeny tiny girl growing up and found it really hard to gain weight (a problem that I would welcome with open arms, now), but one morning I woke up and had boobs. Huge boobs. By the time I was 15, I was wearing a 30G. Not fun for a 15-year-old who attended a mixed school with annoying boys who can’t think of anything better to do but lose track of where their eye line should be.
I’m turning 29 in a couple of weeks and I’ve only just recently started to come to terms with the fact that they are there to stay.
It’s a funny issue to have. Something I’m blessed with naturally that I don’t necessarily see as a blessing (all the time) is something so many women are desperate for, to the point that they put themselves through surgery to attain, and here I am complaining. But, that’s the age old joke isn’t it? You want what you can’t have.
There comes a point in your adult life where you hope you will finally accept the body shape you are. After that, it generally becomes a question of whether you need to better it, or just maintain it.
I’m at that point. I have learned to accept that I don’t have Beyoncé hips (as much as I’d like them), but I have decided that I love what I have, and that’s why I’m investing so much time and energy into maintaining and bettering it.
This new found love for my body has also given me the opportunity to view the way in which we’ve all become so accustom to judging what is deemed beautiful.
I find it so disturbing that so many young girls and women have so much anxiety when it comes to their bodies, and we’ve established that this issue is nothing new, it’s age old. But, what is new is how much of it is out there, open to judgment in a world where people can be nameless, faceless and essentially completely shameless.
I once heard that you should never tell anyone about all the flaws you consider yourself to have because they might not have noticed before, but once you put it out there, it might become all that they see.
I like to think of that as a good balance between having insecurities and allowing them to overrule your confidence. If I put up a picture of myself in a crop top, I leave you with the notion that I am completely comfortable with the way I look and I am happy with my body, when really I’m finding it quite scary and I now feel totally vulnerable to outside judgments.
But, I’m doing it anyway. Because what I see as not good enough might be your version of perfect. I’m not going to enter a new year of my life worrying about whether I’m meeting some new ridiculous standard. I’m going to continue working hard to achieve what I want and I do that for myself and no one else. I welcome you to join me.