February 17th, 2011
Not Skinny Skinny — But Latina Skinny

First off, let me say I like my body. My big butt, small boobs, wide hips (insert child-bearing joke here) and big thighs have been good to me, as I am healthy and happy, and am lucky to never have suffered any major health-related calamities. However, I will also say that going back to elementary school I have been battling my body in my mind, trying to figure out why I would never have svelte legs, grow taller, have bigger breasts, or generally look like anyone on TV.

I know this is an old story and that I’m not the only one to re-tell it, but I think it’s a discussion worth having. I didn’t really consider myself attractive until I graduated from college in the Silicon Valley (Where I was told more than once, “It’s okay Sara, at least you have a pretty face.”) and found myself along the border (Where I couldn’t run away fast enough from the wagging tongues waiting for my skirt to blow up in the wind). At this point in my life, along the border, I found that, whatever “it” was, I had it — and lots of it!

Perhaps it’s tragic and anti-feminist to say that, once I was in a place where men (and women, too) valued the way my body looked, I felt better about it myself. We shouldn’t be measuring our self-worth against the standards of others, right? But that’s the whole point. When you live in a society, your measures of self-worth are created in-part by your society’s values, and since I was a husky-non-slim-kid-turned-voluptuous-young-woman, it took me a long time to realize that just beneath the macro version of these values was a whole different world.

When I started boxing for the first time, I slimmed down beyond my wildest dreams into my abuelita telling me repeatedly I was too skinny territory. I look back at those photos and I realize how skinny I actually was. Yet, at the time the problem for me was that I wasn’t skinny enough — I just couldn’t get my butt to be any smaller, my thighs to be any thinner or my boobs to be any bigger. It was a hard nut to crack.

Finally, perhaps it was maturity or being fastidiada with so much drama, I have given up on trying to will my body to look differently. Now, I  just accept the fact that I’m fine the way I am. It’s okay to walk around in a body that doesn’t resemble TV’s “American beauty” because I am healthy and beautiful in my voluptuousness. While I may never be “American skinny,” I do consider myself to be “Latina skinny.” And what’s more, as far as my family and friends are concerned, I look fine. Most importantly, when it comes to my potential mates, those big hips and thighs and butt are perfect — even if it would take lots of surgery to get to Pamela Anderson’s cup size.

12 thoughts on “Not Skinny Skinny — But Latina Skinny

  1. Sarita, mija, self acceptance is sexy. And nothing makes a woman sexier than thinking she is (This is not a comment about sex, but a healthy attitude about our bodies). Keep up the good work.

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  3. as i read this article it reminded me a lot of what i went through as a kid and through my early teen years. i could really relate to the whole story and how at the end of the day you learned how to appreciate and love yourself and being grateful for what you have. as a Dominican young lady, we get that on a daily bases from our family, (well that’s a bit of a general statement), but i read that body image issues is something very common among Latinas, which is sad especially when they don’t have that moment of realization that they are worthy.

    basically i just wanted to let you know that i really appreciated and liked your article :)

    • This is interesting. A few years back, I knew a Latina woman, who I thought was absolutely stunning. Dark hair, smoldering eyes, wonderful curvy figure. Her dad was in the AF and so she had spent a lot of time at bases in North and South Dakota. She said she spent much of her teen years wanting to have blonde hair and blue eyes like most of the girls she went to high school with. I told her she could look into mine any time wanted, but it didn’t work.

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  5. I go to asian and eastern european style spas where dozens of people are walking around nude. When you get to see so much buff, its easy to realize that skinny might be skinny, but it doesn’t necessarily look very good without something to cover it up.

    And then you go to co-ed areas, or in some cases there are co-ed showers, and no matter what body shape a shape is, there is someone who loves it, and someone who loves the person that carries it around. And while certain aesthetics may be pleasing to eyeball, there’s just so much more to our social connectivity than the eyeball.

    So, what am I saying? Being around other naked people makes me feel good.

    That was weird.

    I don’t mean in a sexual way, or I’m-skinny-buff-perfectly trimmed-lookit-me way, but in a “people are people now” kinda way. Relax, have a steam bath, and shake whatchyour momma gave you – just not while you’re having your steam bath – you can get kicked out for that.

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