Even though award shows are seemingly getting more and more inclusive in terms of body positivity, they still aren't, like, the place to turn to if you're hoping to amp up your self love vibes or intersectional thinking. That's likely because Hollywood and media representation are still pretty homogenous worlds — hubs for the white, the thin, the rich, the (conventionally) beautiful. But at the 2016 Oscars, there was one incredibly unexpected moment of body positivism that became my life mantra as soon as the words were uttered.
When Chrissy Teigen in all her usual glory and pregnancy pride showed up on the carpet of the Feb. 28 awards show, E! presenter Ross Mathews couldn't contain his excitement over her maternity-wear. Teigen was slaying as always in a Marchesa gown with lace detailing and a body-hugging silhouette. The train was impeccable, and she was essentially the IRL embodiment of a Disney princess, because I guess that's just the world we live in. But when Mathews caught site of the foodie-proud sweetheart-of-the-moment, he said, "The best accessory is a belly now, look at that. She’s rocking that prego belly."
So I know that Mathews was probably speaking to Teigen alone, and possibly referencing the newfound maternity-wear revolution we've been seeing on the red carpet thanks to women like Kim Kardashian and Blake Lively, who have helped de-stigmatize the pregnant body by showcasing it in body-hugging silhouettes rather than black, baggy T-shirt dresses. But I can't help but feel that "the best accessory is a belly now" can mean a lot more than that to folks who are listening.
In terms of pregnancy, well, women are often bombarded with pressures to "get their pre-pregnancy bodies back as soon as possible." Natural bodily changes are very rarely celebrated at large, but a petite waist size certainly is.
And in terms of fat shaming? I'm willing to bet that the stomach is one of the most targeted body parts out there. So many of us try to slim it, flatten it, tuck it, suck it, and minimize it — and it's a damn shame. I've always believed that we don't show our bellies love nearly enough as we should in this life, so a statement like Mathews' is just the sort of thing we need to hear more of — albeit applied to all bodies rather than those that still predominently fit into conventional beauty standards.
The truth is that our bellies are all stunning entities. The main tummy type most of us are likely used to seeing in our image consumption is the flat, toned, maybe even six-packed one. But that's simply not the only way there is to have a belly. They come in all shapes and sizes, in all levels of wobbliness, with different kinds of rolls, or with none at all. Some of them have stretch marks on them. Some of them cellulite. Some of them are proof of a very dedicated work-out routine. But all are worthy of being treated well; of being celebrated.
Personally, I'm 100 percent down with deeming my belly my best accessory. It's big. It's proud. It jiggles in joy when I walk. And it's mine. It does everything it's meant to do and more. I'm willing the latter is true for a lot of us.
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