Consider this list the eye-opener you need to realize that beauty has no definitive standard or measure because as the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whatever the standard social media and happenings around you may have consciously or unconsciously taught you to idolize, know they are in some cases ridiculous and should have no bearing on how beautiful or desirable you consider yourself to be.
Women have been conditioned to be extremely critical of their bodies and to inadvertently tie their self-worth to how many boxes their physical appearance can tick off on the seemingly universal beauty quality control checklist. And of course the media makes it worse with the way they overtly and covertly reinforce unobtainable and unrealistic beauty standards.
It is safe to assume that almost every Nigerian woman has spent a good part of her adult life pandering to at least one of the beauty standards on this list. They sold it to us as body goals; but then again why should something I have little control over be a goal and why should I spend an entire life time chasing after it?
It becomes even more annoying when you realize that sex appeal like many other societal constructs is highly dependent on popular culture. Having a “Fat ass” once upon a time was considered an affront to the beauty standards back in the day even to black women, but today it is the new measurement for sexy.
Now that you have been adequately gingered, here is a list of six ridiculous beauty standards Nigerian women have normalized.
1. The Flatter The Tummy, The Better
There is an entire industry worth millions of Naira devoted to helping women achieve and maintain a flat tummy and it has reached the point where it poses serious health risks to women, but I guess anything goes in the name of beauty right? I am talking about flat tummy teas with questionable ingredients, waist trainers with unconfirmed results and various kinds of surgeries at quack clinics with a 50/50 survival rate. At some point, we have to realize that a perfectly flat tummy is simply unrealistic and certainly not the hill women are meant to die on. I would love for that time to be now. Embrace your fupa!
2. Having Lighter Skin Equals Beauty
Despite how culturally advanced and socially conscious we are, the issue of colorism is still very much present in our Nigerian society. Till date, having lighter skin is still perceived as a determinant for how attractive a woman is. Not even Beyoncé’s empowering “Brown Skin Girl” lyrics can stop people from bleaching, or deter skincare vendors from launching new “skin lightening” creams every other month.
3. The Perkier The Boobs, The Better
The scam for perky boobs started when people began to insinuate that saggy boobs are a side effect of too much sexual activity. Since then, saggy boobs have been branded the consequence of promiscuity. But this is just another one of society’s lies. Contrary to popular belief, saggy boobs are not an ugly body part that women have to over-compensate for. Breasts come in different shapes and sizes, and will either stand or fall. Therefore, it is certainly no measurement of a woman’s beauty or worth.
4. Big Butts, The New Measurement For Sexy?
The fact that social media has conditioned women to treat big bums like a must-have accessory is deeply unsettling. Week after week there is a new song that glorifies women with big bums claiming they have more superpowers than wonder woman, or even a tweet about how big bums are the measure of a woman’s sex appeal. It has become an insulting cliché, because not only is it a verdict on women whose backsides are less endowed, it is also a trite objectification of women who have big bums.
5. Coca-Cola Bottle Body, The “Ideal Physique”
Every woman will not come in the exact same shape or size and that is okay. No one body type is more ideal than the other, it is all about dressing right for your body type. Every body is a spec and every spec has an audience. Find your audience sis and you will realize that with or without validation from anybody, your body is perfect.
6. Thigh Gaps, A Must Have For The “Perfect Body”
Someone somewhere said thigh gaps make women’s hips look sexier and suddenly it became a body milestone for every woman. However, when you factor in that women are still expected to have thick thighs, you begin to see how the math does not really add up. How can one have a big bum and thick thighs and still maintain a thigh gap? If you ever figure this out, please let me know.
Bonus: Perfect Makeup; A Requirement For Beauty
Sis, it is okay if you can only get one wing of your eyeliner right. Winged liners are sisters, not twins. Trust me, we are all struggling with Contouring and Ombre lips. We are still watching YouTube videos on how to perfect our brow game. Do not be too hard on yourself, and your brows.