Olamide Iyanda is a Content Marketer & The Founder of Naija Girl Talks Podcast
Being Nigerian American, I always found my body was in a constant crossfire between two worlds. By American standards, my petite frame got me plenty of envy from those that were subject to European standards of beauty. From the “you can eat anything you want” to the “you’re so lucky” to the “you still look the same from high school.” On the other hand, by Nigerian culture, I would receive unsolicited threats to take me to the “fat house” or “concerns” about my eating habits.
If I were to start sharing my personal experience with skinny shaming in Nigerian culture, we would be gisting in the line on Judgement Day as God is deciding the fate of those in front of us. I can remember visiting my best friend in Abuja and having her aunt, who was hosting us, say to me “If I were your Mother, I would be ashamed to have you as my daughter” as I was making my way out the kitchen. To be honest, I never took it personally, because I realized that only miserable people spend their days destroying the confidence of others.
I no be on satan’s payroll...
Like every culture, there is a preferred way of doing things and having things done. This does not exclude the human body. While a certain beauty standard may be more recognized than another, that does NOT mean we can not celebrate going against the grain. For my “lepas shandys”, embracing your body without other’s unsolicited approval is more liberating than waiting for people’s approval before you accept yourself. So find styles that accentuate your curves and shape. Find what highlights your features. Literally ditch anything that doesn’t spark joy. You never know who you are inspiring to be their unapologetic self.