Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this picture?: A local up and coming model is photographed obscurely nude in a bath tub with flowers floating on blue coloured water and the reaction from some observers was outrage that she did not Photoshop her stretch marks .
For the past few days, model Gotlhe Kgosi’s sensual pictures, which are featured on popular American culture blog ‘Afropunk,’ sparked a colourful conversation on social media about women and their bodies. She is seen obscurely nude, and the first thing that catches the eye is her untouched stretch marks, captured by Botswana based photographer ‘Van de aarde’. The reaction to the pictures ranged from outrage, specifically about her stretch marks than her nudity to cheers for embracing her flaws.
She made a statement on her Facebook page to address the controversy: “I’m one of the women who have accepted their flaws, but to my surprise, I am being judged for embracing them. Who is anyone to decide what is beautiful and what isn’t?”
“Contrary to Beyonce’s song ‘flawless’, no woman is flawless, let alone wakes up that way. The expectation on women is another way we are bullied to conform to impossible beauty standards,” one comment stated.
It’s no secret that the media and society emphasize and push for a definition of beauty that is a result of endless polishing ÔÇôthe kind that takes make-up, touch ups, and women who have blemishes, saggy breasts and stretch marks, rarely get positive coverage. This has led to a backlash, with issues such as ‘body shaming’ surfacing to address the criticism women face about their bodies. In addition, it has led to more reports of skin bleaching, unhealthy diets and low self esteem.
Local plus size model Bonolo explains that she has also faced a lot of body shaming in an industry known to promote and accommodate a certain type of beauty. She called for a more inclusive industry. “Body shaming is real. To some people it doesn’t exist not knowing that a lot of people no matter their body size struggle with this issue. Just the little snide remarks people make and the brutal teasing can make one lose confidence and hate themselves. Some people go to the extent of wanting to hurt themselves because they are told they are not beautiful enough. We have all been created in the image of God therefore we are all beautiful with our flaws. It takes loving yourself first and having confidence before you care what people think about you,” she tells Lifestyle.
It is not all gloom and doom though. Various campaigns are emerging that push for body positivity regardless of shape or colour. Clothing brand Jet recently launched a campaign aimed at validating women’s diverse beauty under the hashtag #JetLoveYourself, which garnered a lot of attention and praise on countless platforms.
Although we might verbally embrace that beauty comes in various sizes and shapes, more must be done to curb women from regaling the idea that they must be ‘flawless’ to be beautiful.