identity

Every Hairy Latina Can Relate To These 7 Stages Of Grief

Courtesy of Danielli Marzouca

Okay, so I wish this body positivity movement happened when I was 10 years old and was the first person (girls and boys) to start growing leg hair in the 3rd grade. I was one of the only Latinas in my religious school and girls were forced to wear skorts. We all remember el horror when your little body started getting hairy.

I present to you my story told by the collective consciousness of Latinas on the internet because there is nothing wrong with being a #HairyLatina.

Hey everyone, this is me today.

I’m half Puerto Rican and half Palestinian, which makes me an especially hairy human. Growing up, it was something I was always bullied for. It didn’t help that I was also the tallest person (boys and girls) in my grade (hint: Sasquatch is what the bullies called me).

Hair is something I have probably spent weeks of my life trying to hide (read: Nair, shaving, laser hair removal, waxing, threading, etc.) and years obsessing over. In South Florida, wearing long sleeves to cover your hairy arms just caused it’s own embarrassing, sweaty problems.

One thing we know for sure is that being native Latinx means we are hairy people.

CREDIT: @anaphant23_ / Twitter

If you grew up somewhere without a strong Latino presence, like I did when my family moved from Miami to Boca Raton (culture shock, af), you might not have known that it was a Latino thing. I know I felt like a total outcast.

For some reason, my retired model of a Puerto Rican mother does not grow hair on her body. In the midst of my hair obsession, I asked my mom when the last time she shaved her legs were. Her response: “Hmm, no sé, maybe 3 or 4 months ago.” Like I was literally the hairiest person in my own little family.

But once I found out that my “hairiness” connected me to my people, I started to feel proud.

CREDIT: @floresimbioticas / Twitter

Who says we’re the ones who are hairy and that other people aren’t just bald? The reason we’re hairy is because American beauty standards center around white, thin, hairless, blonde beauty.

My mom is just an enigma. I’m not jealous at all. I mean, I was seething as a young adult, but being hairy has given me an opportunity to love myself and my body without permission from both white and Latino culture. We probably support the entire hair removal industry.

The truth is, I was never alone in the world of hair.

CREDIT: @408araceli / Twitter

It’s our beauty mark, and while it’s not something that my mother always told me to be proud of, it’s something I will tell my kids. For the first few years of the bullying, I resented that my mom would try to comfort me but couldn’t relate at all. Her solution was the same as mine: get rid of the evidence.

By the time I was 15, I was getting my upper lip and bikini line laser hair removed. This was laser hair removal over ten years ago so it hurt like a mother.

And it didn’t help that mámi didn’t let you shave.

CREDIT: Sandra Mendez / Buzzfeed

Meanwhile, my own mother is somehow the same bald Puerto Rican beauty queen model she’s been since she was my age. Oh, and she weighed 20 pounds less and her nickname was Double D’s. You know…whatever.

Still, mi mamí was against shaving until I was at least 13 years old. It’s like Nair was the safety scissors of Latina grooming. As a good, stereotypical, vegan, composting, liberal lesbian, now I’m horrified that I intentionally smeared chemicals onto my skin that are so intense, they burn hair off. (!!!)

If you have brothers, you definitely had live-in bullies.

CREDIT: @IVIeghan / Twitter

My little brother was the worst. He sucked A$$. Gio, if you’re reading this now, this is your public retribution. My little, sweet brother was straight up always asking me if I was turning into a man what “y’know, because you’re growing a mustache to match your hairy arms.” Sometimes they were gorilla arms, but most of the time, I was Sasquatch at school and at home.

My dad and other brother would laugh and my mom would try so hard not to laugh, but it was pretty obvious. I’m traumatized.

And you f*cking hated it when your white friends would tell you they have the same amount of hair as you.

CREDIT: @jigganutttsssss / Twitter

“Pero like, your hair is literally invisible and glitters in the sun and my hair is as dark as outer space.” There is no comparison or reliability there at all. Nobody picks on the blonde girl for her arm hair. That’s fake news.

By the time I was 15, I had brunette friends that were bleaching their own arm hair every month. Since my mom wouldn’t let me do that, I was wearing long sleeves… to cross country practice… in August in SoFla.

To be clear, if you shave your arms and body hair, I have no judgement or problem with you.

CREDIT: @kalinawatsonroberts / Twitter

I say, do whatever makes you feel good in your body. For a time, I shaved from the bottoms of my eyebrows down to the floor, but, for me, it wasn’t worth it. I have friends who do that and feel like a glamorous queen and I love it.

Whenever my happy trail or arm hair or even back hair (I was being so extra), started to grow in all prickly, I would actively hate myself and my body. That’s just my experience.

Obsessing over my body hair made it harder for me to love myself.

CREDIT: @elisexmia_ / Twitter

I would come up for air and have a moment of, “F*ck the patriarchy, I love myself and my big hips, and hairy ass body,” and then someone would call me Sasquatch. 🙄 Now it seems so below my radar, but during puberty, that would strike me deep.

We all feel awkward enough in our bodies, can we please stop commenting on each others?

In a way, learning to become resilient about people’s commentary on my body, forced me to give myself a degree of separation from what they say and how I feel about myself.

Maybe it’s maturity, or maybe it’s the #BoPo movement, but today, I see beauty in body hair.

CREDIT: @nono.rueda_ / Twitter

More than that, I see beauty in learning to unlearn the self-oppressive messages I saw through the ’90s and ’00s. I need to know if Jennifer Lopez is the same breed of Puerto Rican beauty queen as my mom and is naturally hairless.

We grew up with the few models of Latina beauty as totally hairless. Thankfully, full eyebrows and full hips are mainstream and we’re living our best lives up here. I’m also getting to see some of my own fearless friends get less serious and more playful around body hair.

The truth is that Latina body hair has superpowers like no other. This is Harry Potter sh*t.

CREDIT: @analsmasher420 / Twitter

I used to have a schedule: shave my legs every other day; armpits, upper lip and toes everyday; arms and happy trail once a week. Like that was ever enough. I was like a walking cactus, all prickly and conscious about someone touching me and noticing.

Thank DIOS for Twitter because never before have I felt so validated by the Internet. I hope my experience helps validate your own. You’re not a weirdo or an outcast for having body hair. You’re a badass Latina.

But that eyebrow arch is a universally accepted perk.

CREDIT: @melyyy_ms / Twitter

I *think* I have a unibrow, but I haven’t seen my natural brows since I was like 13 years old and let my best friend basically tweeze me into Cruella de Vil. My mom was *horrified* that my eyebrows were basically gone. In that moment, she told me that “my eyebrows frame the soul.” Y’know, since eyes are windows to the soul.

We’ve always been proud of our eyebrows from the moment we learned we could tweeze away the strays. We’ve got shape, baby.

And I get it–my blonde hippie friends have pressured me in the past to stop shaving and I hated it.

CREDIT: @tatianagonxalez / Twitter

Your natural blonde hair may make you look like an admirable, carefree goddess and be applauded in our society, but I resent any light hair Becky telling me how to experience my body.

I don’t resent Becky for going natural—I totally celebrate you and love that you think your little blonde armpit hair is cute. I resent Becky for pressuring me into living more “care-free.” It definitely takes a lot more confidence and my own lesson of self-love to walk around in the world with proud, thick black Latina leg and arm hair than it does for Becky to go natural.

But every single summer, me and my cousin would compete to see who could grow the longest leg hair.

CREDIT: @phoenixluv77 / Twitter

It’s too embarrassing for me to make up, I swear. So why was it actually all fun and games between us girls and a total nightmare when we left our little family bubble? Why is the outside world teaching young boys that it’s okay to police their classmates on their body hair? I’m finally getting it now and I’m enraged.

What would it have been like for me to see a hot, cool, hairy woman out in the world walking around with confidence?

If you’re reading this and in high school, plz @ us and tell us it’s better now.

CREDIT: @heidiramirez971 / Twitter

I see your generation dying your armpit hair hot pink and teal and lavender and I am both extremely proud and severely jealous. I have two lil chia pets under my arms that I could have made *art* with in high school. I mean, I guess I still can, but age (and those hours of grooming I was talking about) has made me lazy.

Here I am praying we live in a world where Latina women everywhere stop cursing their ancestors, cause before you know it, that’ll be me you’re cursing, guapa.

So, with all the reasons to shave installed in us since birth, I leave you with my own personal reasons not to shave.

CREDIT: @Life_OfA_LaTina / Twitter

What could you be doing with those 40 minutes? That’s 40 more minutes you can spend studying, or reading a book by Latina authors, or playing an instrument, or making art out of your armpit hair, or whatever it is that every other white girl and every single boy in America gets to have. You get to give permission to other women to stop shaving and stop buying into the hair removal industry.

Also, you get to save made water if you’re a person who cares about the environment.

Thirty days ago, I embarked on my own social experiment and stopped shaving.

CREDIT: @danymorc / Twitter

Full disclosure: I’ve already entrapped my girlfriend into living together, so she can’t leave me (jk, jk, jk) and I’m not trying to woo anyone. But really, being truly loved by someone has felt really good, and in some ways has given me permission to love myself in a more radical way.

It wasn’t a big decision or anything I gave much thought to. I just decided I wanted to challenge myself to make ultimate peace with my body hair and feel sexy and good in my natural body.

More disclosure: I’ve spent money and time on laser hair, so I’m not in my most natural state, and I regret it.

CREDIT: @TheZombiUnicorn / Twitter

I pray that nobody from Costco reads this, but I 100 percent used an at home body hair removal system where I shaved my entire body every 3 weeks and spent 2 hours laser hair removing it. It was boring AF, and I’m just as hairy but with a couple of random bald spots on my legs. Now that my armpit hair is all grown out, I can see that it was all a waste of time…but not money.

I returned the machine just before it’s 12 month return policy came up. 😅 Patriarchy makes you stupid sometimes.

But I do feel more liberated than ever.

CREDIT: @Steph.quixotic / Twitter

It feels good to stop subscribing to other people’s beauty standards and start living in my own. My natural body is my standard of beauty, no matter what it looks like. This is just one, very easy part of my healing from body dysmorphia and disordered eating. Loving all of my body.

While life is a whole lot more bearable outside of school, I still get some long stares at my pits by older white ladies out and about. At first, I felt a little uncomfortable with the attention, but then I felt proud to know that there might be someone younger in the same room who feels like they can take up more space.

Plus, poco a poco, we’re seeing Latinas truly represented in TV, like in One Day at a Time.

CREDIT: Netflix

Also, now we know that it’s a myth that shaving makes your hair grow back thick. Throw away the Nair my friends. Shaving is SAFER. If you want to join me, you can also toss your razor and just see how it goes. When it comes to our bodies, we’ve all probably seen our own moms take a pinch of fat, diets, or a wrinkle way too seriously.

I know my own tias would be talking mad sh*t about me if they knew I wen’t #shavefree. But I saw my leg hair measuring cousin, Cecily, take that step and felt permission to do it for myself. You don’t need permission from anyone to live how you want to live–whether that’s hairless or hairy.

This is just my story, but maybe you can relate. No matter what, my message is to love yourself.

If you feel like a liberated goddess with baby soft, hairless skin, do you boo. I applaud you as my Latina sister in this life. I know how much time, money, and effort it takes and I respect how women decide to take care of themselves in this world.

If you’re like me and felt like body hair removal was more oppressive than liberating, I encourage you to take the 30 day challenge. It has been a healing experience for me and I don’t feel the same pressure I used to feel to prioritize a 40-minute shave over getting a project done or doing some self-care. I probably will shave again at some point in my life, but it feels pretty great to let go of the pressure. ❤️

22 WOC Body Positive Brands

Fierce

22 WOC Body Positive Brands

The body positivity movement has seen a real shift in the way that we think about beauty standards, and also pop culture. While the content we consume influences the way that we perceive beauty and our bodies, we can also exercise the power to change our culture that privileges thin, white, able bodies. And so, we’ve put together a list of WOC body positive brands – from bigger companies, to authors, models, right down to individual influencers – to ensure that we can participate in a culture that shows beauty in all its wonderful and gorgeous diversity.

1. Plus Model Magazine

Instagram / @plusmodelmag

Plus Model Magazine is curated with content for, surprise-surprise, plus-sized women. Led by editor-in-chief Madeline Figueroa-Jones, this publication strives to show its audience not only stylish options for dressing but also body confidence in action.

2. The Chenese Lewis Show

Instagram / @cheneselewis

The most powerful part of the Chenese Lewis Show is that it is a podcast made for plus-sized women, by a plus-sized WOC. The show features interviews with women and asks for commentary from plus-sized influencers, in addition to industry experts.

3. Jibri

Instagram / @jibrionline

Plus-sized women’s clothing brand Jibri was founded by American fashion designer, Jasmine Elder. Inspired by her teenage mentor, Jibri Mann, Elder created her classy fashion brand and has since had her work featured in the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and also InStyle Magazine.

4. Daily Venus Diva

Instagram / @dailyvenusdiva

This online publication, headed up by creator Steph D. Penn, highlights plus-sized fashion and pop culture, driving content that ties beauty and body positivity.

5. Moonlight Serenade Apparel

Instagram / @moonlightserenadeapparel

Moonlight Serenade Apparel boasts a gorgeous array of lingerie, reminding plus-sized ladies to embrace their sexy side, too!

6. Maiysha

Instagram / @maiyshakai

Maiysha is a force to be reckoned with. As the managing editor of The Glow Up at The Root, iconic plus-sized model, and Grammy-nominated artist, she’s one to watch as a one-woman show-cum-role-model.

7. Nikki Gomez

Instagram / @thenikkigomez

These days, Nikki Gomez foregrounds beautiful big black bodies in her work as a photographer, balancing her photographic work alongside her love for blogging about food and fashion on her website, The Nikki Gomez.

8. Christina Mendez

Instagram / @modelchristinamendez

This lifestyle blogger professionally models plus-sized clothing on both her Instagram and website, spending her time promoting body positivity online and in the community.

9. A Curious Fancy

Instagram / @polka.cafe

Fashion blogger Ragini Nag Rao started blogging a decade ago, in 2009. As a veteran in the online community, she’s been working hard to normalize fat fashion by showing off her classy vintage outfits and looks.

10. Chronicles of a Mixed Fat Chick

Instagram / @mixedfatchick

Founder Pia Schiavo-Campo uses her platform as a blogger, public speaker, life coach and style expert to foreground #fatfab40s. Body positivity isn’t just about size or skin – it’s also about embracing age, too!

11. Full Figured Fashion Week

Instagram / @moguldiva

Full Figured Fashion Week, or FFFWeek, was a 20-year project in the making from the likes of visionary and entrepreneur Gwen DeVoe. While FFFWeek isn’t running in 2019, we can expect to see it return in 2020, after DeVoe has dedicated her time towards hosting smaller events revolving around plus-sized fashion and body positivity.

12. Monif C

Instagram / @monifcplussizes

With 14 years of business behind it, Monif C is a small business that produces lingerie, primarily catering for bigger women. For those of you who are interested, you can find its delicious selection of racy underwear on Etsy.

13. Model Behavior with Sharon Quinn

Instagram / @modelbehaviortvwithsharonquinn

Having spent many years on the modeling circuit as a plus-sized WOC, Sharon Quinn used her platform to create an award-winning talk show series that focused on both fashion and the entertainment business.

14. Premme

Instagram / @premme.us

Co-founded by the real “OG fat girl” model, Gabi Gregg, Premme is a clothing brand designed with bigger bodies in mind. Part of the joy of signing up to their mailing list is getting a sweet 10 percent off your next purchase – jump on it now, babes!

15. I Weigh

Instagram / @i_weigh

I Weigh, an online community founded by The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil, was created after Jamil realized that, as a successful actress, she had a platform she could use to promote body positivity and diversity. The intention behind the movement’s name was to show that we are all worth more than how much we weigh. I Weigh shows love for anything from tiger-stripe like stretch marks to beautiful disabled bodies and gorgeous curvaceous women.

16. The Body is Not an Apology

Instagram / @thebodyisnotanapology

This online course and community, initiated by activist and performance poet Sonya Renee Taylor, is geared towards teaching people how to love themselves, in all their imperfect glory.

17. The Shopping Slayer

Instagram / @theshoppingslayer

Created by author, mom and self-confessed lipstick-lover, Lisa Scott, The Shopping Slayer celebrates fashion from the perspective of a WOC plus-sized model. Rather than hiding her body, she adorns it in eye-catching patterns and bold color.

18. Su-Style

Instagram / @sustyletv

Su-Style has been a hit within the Latina community, as founder Suzanna Ujaque found her niche as a Latina fashion blogger and Plus-Sized expert. She creates content on both her Instagram page and Youtube channel promoting body positivity and diversity, which supports her own lifestyle blogging activities.

19. Virgie Tovar

Instagram / @virgietovar

This author of You Have the Right to Remain Fat advocates for the “right to bare arms” and embraces all of the rolls and wrinkles that come with living on the larger side of life. Beyond her advocacy for body positivity in her books, Tovar de-stigmatizes the plus-sized community by sharing her day-to-day life, spending time with friends, eating what she likes, and generally being all smiles, all of the time.

20. Plus Size Biz

Instagram / @nationalcurvesday

Founded by Jennene Biggins, Plus Size Biz is centered around making body positive brands easier to find in the US. Functioning as a search engine of sorts, the site features both location and business categories to make finding a business that caters for plus-sized people a straightforward process.

21. The Curvy Fashionista

Instagram / @thecurvyfashionista

The Curvy Fashionista is an online publication that knows its audience: WOC who want to see themselves represented in the media that they consume. Having operated since 2008, the magazine continues to feature stories centered on the body positivity and resources for plus-sized women.

22. Susan Moses

Instagram / @madameandmademoiselle

Susan Moses is undeniably a trailblazer, with her styling talent featured on the red carpet at events such as the Oscar’s, Golden Globes, Grammies and American Music Awards. Considering her illustrious career working with gorgeous and talented women – yes, she can name-drop that she’s Queen Latifah – Moses wrote The Art of Dressing Curves to celebrate and empower curvy women.

The body positive movement has given us much to celebrate, from thinking about the way that we relate to our own bodies, to how we think about other people’s bodies, too. What’s your experiences with the body positive movement – and have you already had the chance to interact with WOC body positive brands? Tell us about it on Twitter – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

These Body Positive Latina Instagrammers Will Give Your Feed All Of The Love And Light You Need

Entertainment

These Body Positive Latina Instagrammers Will Give Your Feed All Of The Love And Light You Need

@thebigbad.co / Instagram

Social media can be a Gemini-like platform like no other. While all at once managing to tear us down, its the same platform that can lift us up and teach us how to love ourselves.

Still, one of the worst offenses social media has created has been perpetuating a false idea that all women look, or rather should look one way. But this is an idea that most of us know can’t be farther from the truth: each individual’s body is different, and our curves are shaped by genetics, habits, life experience and the inevitable passing of time. And all of are beautiful. There is nothing more empowering than a woman that knows who she is, who wears her wrinkles as a trophy and a sign of a life well lived.

Yet, we know, there is this expectation that we all should look like 20-something supermodels. But like America Ferrara discovered in one of her early roles, real women have curves! Yes, small, big, uneven curves. Luckily, along with the judgmental influencers who populate Instagram and other platforms, there is an increasing number of women who have joined the body positivity movement. Body positivity is loving oneself as the first and most important step towards acceptance and change. Body positivity doesn’t mean that you have to be complacent if you have health issues or you could improve your daily habits: it is about acknowledging who you are, knowing your body and therefore knowing what it needs. It is also about being sexy in our own skin, knowing that sensuality does not derive from stupid ideas around acceptable and unacceptable body types, but around attitude.

Here are some Latina women who have embraced the body positivity philosophy and have decided to share the wisdom.

Read, reflect and smile.

This queen who silenced haters and called for bravery

Credit: Instagram. @slendertanes

Enough is enough! Basta! We have lived long enough trying, or being forced to satisfy an unreal, and frankly stupid ideal, of what the female body should look like. To them, we say: calladito te ves más bonito. In short: shut up and don’t project your insecurities on our gorgeous curves.

This lady who showed us that our bodies can be beautiful landscapes

Credit: Instagram. @sus_y_drlecter

The caption for this amazing black and white caption is empowering and honest. “I want to steer away from what is beautiful and be myself. I am what I am without worrying about how others see me. This makes me very happy”. And we are happy with you, reina hermosa. 

This mami that teaches her kid the value of self-love

Credit: Instagram. @kikilawyer10 via @goodbyeflaca

This Panamanian queen is showing her little boy the real value of appreciating and loving one’s body. We can’t stress this enough: we have to talk to our chiquitos about what their wonderful bodies are capable of, how to take care of them and how to face the unavoidable doubts that all of them will face during their teenage years (or even before then, as some studies have shown recently).

This superstar that strikes a pose and tells the world: “I am sure you like what you are seeing”

Credit: Instagram. @camychocolate

Her gaze just hypnotizes us. This is a woman who is sure of herself, that wears her curves with pride and who faces the world con una actitud chingona

This super flexible mujer de primera

Credit: Instagram. @transforma_coach

This woman knows that every body type can get fit, and fitness not always means estar flaca como un palo. The message is clear: “Self-love is important in the process of bettering our relationship with our eating habits”. If you love yourself, you will kick ass, hermana, plain and simple.

This future mom who slays pregnancy

Credit: Instagram. @neniyah

Pregnancy is one of the most transformative life events a woman can go through, not only emotionally but also physically. This post sends us a really clear message: cellulite is nothing, especially when a life is growing inside you. Awwwww. Ternura por todos lados.

This body positivity advocate who has a message for all of us: be proud of your scars

Credit: Instagram. @thebigbad.co

If you don’t already, you should follow this body positivity advocate who takes the best photoshoots and delivers empowering messages. La moraleja de hoy: let your scars be part of you, don’t hide them, they tell the story of who you are and where you’ve been.

This muchacha who found inspiration in Dumplin’

Credit: Instagram. @flo.madera

Among their original productions, Netflix really le dio al clavo with Dumpling, a movie about body positivity in the world of beauty pageants. We love this quote from the movie, user Flo Madera made it her own. Yes, queen!

This amazing battle cry

Credit: Instagram. @nutricion_001

We love this illustration by @deditodesalchicha. It says: “No one should be at war with their own body”. Need we say more? If you have been at war with your cuerpecito, just stop, it makes no good.

This woman who celebrated her dignified muffin tops!

Credit: Instagram. @ara_mcallister

This photo tells the story of this woman, who met an old lady that told her she was very skinny when she was 7-years-old and commented on how “fat” she is now. Her F-U is well deserved.

This Dominicana who reminded us our bodies are amazing and do wonderful things

Credit: Instagram. @liztaveras_oficial

We often forget that by simply keeping us alive out bodies are already doing wonderful things. Come to think about it, our bodies are well-oiled machines that put thousands of chemical processes in motion and keep a balance that makes us who we are. That is nothing short of miraculous. “Love your body not because of how you look, but because what it is capable of doing”, is this wonderful woman’s motto.

And she serves us some more body positivity wisdom!

Credit: Instagram. @liztaveras_oficial

She says: “Do not change so you can fit fashion, make fashion fit YOU”. Easier said than done, but we promise we will try, querida.

This awesome young woman who decided to give the finger to society. Good on her!

Credit: Instagram. @dian_261

Body positivity sometimes comes with a bit of rage. After all, it is society’s unspoken rules that lead women (as well as men and non-binary individuals) to feel inadequate in their own skin. This woman’s declaration of independence is awesome: “I started feeling free when I realized that I would never fit the cookie cutter mold that society had reserved for me”. En otras palabras, everyone please mind your own business.

This woman who acknowledges that the body changes and we need to feel at home in it

Credit: Instagram. @alejandrared

Alejandra knows, like many of us, that bodily changes can be terrifying. She takes this at face value and then gives us a pearl of wisdom: bodies change because they want to protect us. We need to be grateful, love our bodies like a comforting, cozy home

And this beautiful illustration by @Pattysupercool

Credit: Instagram. @divinamujer_catalinapaz

We just want to shed a happy tear looking at this cute illustration. The motto: “You look so gorgeous since you love yourself”. And that is what body positivity is all about, amarte siempre y sin pretextos.

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