I have written before in this blog about my past with eating disorders/disordered eating, and my body dysmorphic disorder. While eating disorders are something I recovered from, my body dysmorphic disorder is something I still manage daily. Being happy and comfortable in a healthy body is a task I set to from the moment I wake up every morning. After years of work, now most days are a breeze. But some days are still a struggle against crushing despair. Even if you are not afflicted with BDD, the relentless onslaught from mainstream media urging self hatred is tough to stand against. We are constantly overwhelmed with messages that we are not good enough and must be fixed. We need to lose weight, get bigger boobs, become tanner, have less hair, have more hair, clean our skin, whiten our teeth, be fashionable, be better so that we’ll be loved and successful. Companies trying to sell clothes, beauty products and services must first sell us on the idea that the way that we currently look is wrong and the only way to be right is to change ourselves. They display the way they think we should look in advertisements and commercials so that we can compare ourselves and find our bodies wanting. The images of bodies and faces we see in mainstream media are curated for us, not for health or comfort, but to sell us things. Once, I was on the subway with someone I was dating. On the wall behind our plastic, orange seats was an advertisement for a gym. The thin, muscular women in the ad was very obviously photoshopped, and I sneered at it. “What?”, he asked. “What’s the problem? There are women who look like that in real life.” Yes, that’s true. But that woman doesn’t. By photoshopping bodies to look closer to an ideal, we’re sending the message that that body is incorrect in some way. Even if there are people in real life that look like the altered version of that body, it’s deeply damaging to change people, even with a computer program, to say that’s how everyone should look. We are inundated with this toxicity and counteracting it takes a lot of work. The main tool I use to do this might seem counterproductive - Instagram. Instagram, the haven for fake candid shots and selfies and “thinspiration” pictures. This picture app can be a seething cesspool, full of posts of people sucking in and posing to look as skinny as possible. But what’s different about Instagram, as opposed to walking down the street and seeing billboards, is that you can choose who you follow. You can curate what you see. A couple of years ago, I began to fill my Instagram feed with accounts that promote body diversity and positivity. It’s not that we need to see more types of bodies in media. We see them all the time - as the butts of jokes, as the “before” picture in a transformation, as something to avoid. Haha, look at that pathetic fat guy. Ha, look at that flat chested girl. We see them as the worst scenario, something to be ashamed of. We are convinced that we need to starve ourselves, hurt ourselves, change ourselves so that we’re not like them. But one day, I came across an article featuring accounts celebrating body positivity and diversity. I clicked and scrolled through them. These Instagram accounts came as a revelation to me. Fat people, skinny people, scarred people, hairy people, balding people, people with stretch marks, people with cellulite. All displaying themselves with joy and confidence. People of all sizes, skin colors, hair colors, tattooed people, pierced people, people wearing whatever cute outfits they want, even if it’s not “complimentary” to them. Fat women in crop tops, skinny men in muscle shirts. I started following a bunch of them. Posting pictures of yourself on Instagram, while much maligned by millennial-scorning grumps, can be an incredibly powerful act when your body isn’t considered the ideal. Showing the world that you’re happy just the way you are, that you’re confident enough in your appearance to show it to the world in a positive light, can be revolutionary. After a few weeks of filling my eyes with these pictures every day, I started to notice a change in my perception of both myself and others. Traits I had previously thought of as flaws - the dimples on my thighs, my size ten feet, my flat chest, my uneven smile - begin to lose their negativity, their clutch on my self esteem. They became just parts of me, things I didn’t have to worry about or change. Hundreds of photos of smiling, beautiful women with stomach rolls made me stop trying to cover mine up when I sat down at a restaurant. These pictures showed me I didn’t have to be ashamed, that happiness and stomach rolls aren’t mutually exclusive. My daily time on Instagram began to be restorative. I started to look for other forms of media - comics, movies, books - that positively featured body diversity. Now, after nearly two years of this (alongside weekly therapy and a lot of self care/emotional labor), I hardly ever despair when I look in the mirror. My eyes don’t linger on the thickness of my legs or the size of my upper arms. I focus on putting together an outfit I think is cute because it makes me happy, not because it obscures the shape of a body part. I see myself as a whole picture, instead of zoomed in shots of “problem areas”. It’s still a daily effort, something I have to consciously work at. It’s worth it. Minimizing the agony I used to be overwhelmed by is worth it. Curating the media I see, as much as is in my control, continues to be a huge help.
I-I wish I had a chest like yours!!! Mine's so flat... ;_;
ah t-trust me….with a big chest comes a multitude of problems lemme name just a few:
1) neck and back pain
2) your skin literally hurts when you run or move fast its like putting a weight under the skin and letting it press and pull and you want to die
3) loose shirts makes it look like you’re heavier than you really are…even if you have a small waist, i-it doesnt matter because its usually never shown,, (bonus if drop shirts sorta poof out like you’re wearing pregnant clothes…)
4) tight shirts make you look like you’re trying for the attention
5) oh dont get me started on swimwear chokES
6) with going bigger, there are always ways to enhance what you got! like push up bras or padded ones(NOT THAT YOU SHOULD tbh id be so happy with a small chest)…..b-but trying to flatten a big chest is painful and you can only go so far…never completely flat haha…
7) if you get your chest really early on like me, it…leaves you seriously secluded around other younger girls. i was surrounded by skinny small chested girls and it gave…me a terrible complex.
be really proud of your chest even if its small! boobs in general are all really beautiful… but sometimes bigger isnt always better >///<;;; but thats just my opinion…
For here’s what happens when you have young girls’ breasts in a newspaper. You’re ten, at school, laying out newspaper on the tables in preparation for art. Some boys find page 3 and gather round it, making jokes. And they turn to the girl who’s the most “well-developed” and say, “Do yours look like that? Show us!” or - to the flat chested girl - “Haha! You need a boob job!”. And it’s probably your first experience of that awful, incoherent rage/shame that you feel when your body is objectified. And you’re ten.
Caitlin Moran laying down the fucking truth in her Times Magazine column on the Page Three Takedown Campaign. 07.02.15
i’ll never understand people that turn having small boobs into some sort of joke like “haha you’re flat-chested” like. alright. you got me. i’m flat-chested. i like being flat-chested. what’s wrong with being flat-chested. please, tell me. tell me what makes someone’s breast size so hilarious to you. or anything you need to comment on. go on. tell me. i’m listening
I’m so sick of being trans I hate it everyday it’s like
“Oh I thought she was a boy till she opened her mouth”
“That hair cut really makes you look like a boy but you’re a girl lol”
“You just look like a dude who wears makeup, you know like a drag queen”
“Wow Alyssa you have a really flat chest no offense!, haha no worries tho I love boobies of all sizes (seriously wtf)”
Yes it’s because I wear a fucking binder???
W-What's your advice on posing? ;v; (can't pose for my life OTL)
Study your character! And mimic them in a mirror as much as possible until you get a decent feel for it haha It takes a while, but after some time and practice, you sort of memorize what angles work best for you! That goes for body as well as face! When you try to mimic a character, also try to incorporate the fact that no one’s body is exactly like any given character, (animated characters rarely follow actual human anatomy) so it’s best to play around with your stances and posture. Its best not to be exact but easy to recognize! Sometimes doing exact poses of a 2D character can look silly in 3D haha
For girl characters especially, its very important to feel comfortable in your skin and know what works best for you, especially if you, yourself are female. Work your bod into it’s best angles and also have that character’s personality in there too! Smile for a happy character! Wave and look energized! or if they’re calmer or sinister, really give off that aura and glare and stand really straight, letting your arms sway at your sides in more elegant poses! Female characteristics can be a bit simpler sometimes just depending on the personality you’re trying to show. I personally feel like posing for girl characters really rely heavily on their personalities ;w;
And for boys, DO THE BOY LEAN HAHA. Stand straight and keep your legs apart, sometimes a little bent at the knee, and then without moving your lower half, lean back. It elongates your torso and also gives off a more masculine and boyish look and body shape! This is the same whether you are male or female so any gender cosplaying a male character should do this because I think it works pretty well! (in my opinion at least ;;w;;) And if you’re binding, it can also give you a good flat chest too haha DO NOT POINT YOUR TOES INWARD FOR NON CUTESY BOYS EITHER! Having your toes more outward will also give a good masculine appearance in photos! Here’s some examples:
But like I said, it varies a lot depending on the character TAT;; Especially if your cosplay is something from anime, we all know how obscure personalities can be in those and are definitely not limited to gender. But let’s just call these feminine and masculine character traits TUT;; The female poses can easily be used for certain boys and vise versa for the male poses! I’m just being really straight forward.
I HOPE THIS HELPED AND DIDN’T JUST CONFUSE YOU. I KNOW I MAKE NO SENSE SOMETIMES HAHAHA //cries But good luck! Practice a lot and it’ll be really easy for you in no time! I know I usually feel more confidant when i know what my pose is gonna be, so feel free to give any of this a try <3