From a young age, my grandmother would remind me about the beauty and benefits of big hips. This was before the Kardashians made them a thing that society marvels at. She would tell me how as a young woman, she and her sisters had large hips and that their large hips were where they held their pride.
She would tell me that big hips were a sign of being a strong woman, and I took this as a compliment as she would never allow my mother and I to forget that I too had inherited her large hips. I knew this was her way of reminding me that I was a strong woman. Her and her four sisters saw their hips as the embodiment of womanhood, pride, strength, and motherhood.
Middle school was the place where my hips were first called to the attention of those outside my family, in ways that were sexualized and negatively commented on. Having a shape as a young girl automatically seemed to place me in a category that slut shamed me. Without speaking, my body seemed to silently grant me a label. My hips to the outside world did not symbolize strength nor womanhood, and they certainly no longer brought me pride. Many times, the comments that broke down my feature of strength came from other girls. There were many times that it was hard for me to remember my grandmothers words, or to listen to her when she coaxed me into overlooking what others would say.
It took a long time to accept and embrace my hips again. Despite my lack of positivity, my grandmother never failed to consistently remind me the beauty I held within them. I still struggle with acceptance sometimes, and my ability to be happy in my own skin sometimes does not come easy for me. I am grateful that I grew up surrounded by positive and strong women, who never failed to remind me that I was one as well. My grandmother was the first to show me what body positivity was, and who set herself up as a role model for what a powerful woman is.