Affirming The Shape of a Latina
Today, on the Tiki Tiki, we present a gallery of Latinas sharing images they say represent the body positive views they have of themselves. If I had added my own photo, it likely would have been a picture of my nose.
Yes, my nose.
After many years of thinking it too pointy, too long, I have come to appreciate esta nariz que tengo. I actually really like it. Maybe part of my acceptance has to do with the fact this long, straight nose proudly runs in my family and maybe the other part has to do with the fact that it fits my face, it is mine.
See, when you boil down the angst we feel about our bodies, or body parts, it is pretty silly, right? (As a teen I worried about skinny ankles. Can you imagine?) We spend way too much time obsessing on, well, nada. Years and years of minute ridiculousness and poor body image adds up to just a bunch of wasted energy and it keeps us from celebrating all the beauty and power we truly possess.
In Pictures: Latinas on Body Image
I hope this past week’s series, Accepting the Self: Latinas on Body Image has given you a little bit of hope and freedom if you are among those of us who has been stuck, whether it be from negative thinking, the extra pounds that hold you back, the incorrect perceptions and opinions of others.
I asked Tiki Tiki readers to take the essays a bit further and submit photos of themselves that address their own body image — what part of themselves do they love, what about their bodies do they appreciate? The responses by these Latinas in the U.S. were about both outer beauty and inner power in a range of bodies as diverse as is our culture. (FYI: A click of their names takes you to their personal sites.)
Victoria: Confidence and Determination
“Yoga has been the one thing that I’ve done constantly for three years, even if its just a 20-minute yoga session. I first started practicing in 2008 and quickly became addicted. Within three months I just felt different. I had more confidence and, of course, I looked better (30 pounds). In 2009/2010, I gained half my weight back and have been trying to get rid if it ever since. It’s a constant struggle because I love food!
Currently, I joined a bootcamp and have been working out with them three times a week for about a month. I still practice yoga on Monday and whenever I get a chance by myself. I also invested in a bike and have been for 30-minutes on days I don’t workout at the boot camp.”
Bren: The Thighs Have It
“I love my muslos. Just love them! Do I have talks with them on days they decide to act “cheezy”? Sure! But, I’ve embraced and accepted after many, many years of being called “thunder thighs” that my thighs hold me down! They are strong, defined, and allow me to run in the sand…Additionally, since I don’t have the biggest culo in the world, my thighs are that juicy part of my body that keep it sexy no matter what and ultimately support the hips that’ll allow me to bear children. And for fun, the men love some thick thighs! These aren’t going anywhere.”
Lore: Marathon Strong
“When I talk about running marathons, I preface the conversation by “I’m more athletic than I look”. People have this erroneous idea that to be a athletic, you need to be slender, muscular, etc… I’m muscular, just under some curves. I’ve always been athletic then in the summer of 2009, I was talking to my aunt (who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor) about our bucket lists. She mentioned that she had always wanted to run a marathon, I had this brilliant idea that I would run it for. I made a deal with her, that I would run if she promised to be waiting for me at the finish line. We both kept our promises, as I turned into the finish chute, she was the first person I saw after 26.2 miles.
When people tell me they can’t do it, I tell them ‘YES you can.’ Its all in wanting. I have no allusions of coming in 1st, I run very slow, but I’m out there participating, having fun and meeting people. Since I’ve cycled for years, I figured a marathon would be a snap! Not so much… But it was an amazing experience. So far I have under my (fuel) belt one full marathon, four half marathons, and one sprint triathlon. I’m already registered for two more halfs this year and one early 2012.
I may not look the part, but I know that I can do it, who cares what anyone else thinks, and that makes all the difference.”
Mercedes: Those Eyes
“I am highlighting my eyes as my best feature. I love to accent them with eyeliner and love making people guess what nationality I’m from. I get plenty of Egyptian or Arabic guesses and I get excited when I tell them I’m a dominicana from New York City’s Lower Manhattan.”
Anissa: No More Lazy
In the last few months, Anissa has lost 18 pounds and 22 inches through exercise and a healthy diet.
“I got tired of looking at myself and seeing my swollen belly and my flabby arms. Also, I’m a group fitness instructor (Zumba) and I am supposed to be setting a standard. People come to Zumba class and look at the instructor and, hopefully, they think: “I hope this class will get me to look like HER.” I don’t want them thinking, “She does Zumba and she’s still chubby???”
“I got tired of all my excuses. No matter what excuse it was, it was lame, and I knew it. It was up to me. If I wanted it, I had to do it. Period. So I continued teaching Zumba and found Formula55 (formula55.com) and my life changed. I love the way I look and hope that I will never look like “Lazy Anissa” again. I also feel a tad smarter with how I eat.”
Suzanne: Gloriously Pregnant
“I love this picture of myself at 37 weeks pregnant. I didn’t feel beautiful at 37 weeks but my husband was able to capture a little of what he saw in me with this picture. It is my favorite photo as a preggo.”
The Boudoir Photo Session
Latina Vega is a photographer in the Tampa area who does Boudoir photography. The picture above is of a client.
“It’s gratifying to be able to empower women to see a part of who they are that is typically hidden from everyone, including themselves. Boudoir photography helps bring out their sensual and adventurous side. I love hearing how a boudoir session with me has changed their view and often times their opinions about themselves.
In my years of doing Boudoir I’ve worked with woman of all ages, sizes and cultures, and in that time I have learned that underneath everyone’s persona lies their true self, and it just takes a little coaxing to come to the surface. That’s what drives my passion for this genre of photography. Its more than just capturing someone’s image, it’s about helping you see a truer you.”
Maria: Strength and Serenity
“I love this photo because it shows me the strength and serenity I have been able to achieve through yoga. I strayed from that path for a while, but now I’m back, older, wiser and more appreciative of my inner and outer beauty. It’s not about weight loss, it’s about the outside matching the amazing woman I’ve become on the inside.”