It is really difficult to ignore the 90s/Y2K resurgence that is happening right now. From big artists using samples of hit 90s/Y2K songs that are going viral; to the attire of many artists and celebrities at the 2023 BET Awards; to mainstream makeup brands using the eras’ aesthetics for their recent campaigns, 90s/Y2k is back like it never left. And unfortunately, following behind the trendy styles and bangin’ music that have resurfaced in pop culture, “thin is in” and the awfully unapologetic culture of fatphobia is hot on the trail.
We thought it’s only fitting to acknowledge this traumatic aspect of those times, and talk about how we can give ourselves the mental fortitude necessary to survive and even participate in the resurgence, all without sacrificing our mental and physical health in the process.
Radical Self-Love is Needed for Us Now More Than Ever.
The main point on this topic we have to cover is Radical Self-Love. If you don’t know, the term Radical Self-Love was coined by Sonia Renee Taylor in her book “The Body is Not an Apology: the Power of Radical Self-Love”. It’s an incredible read and Radical Self-Love is an even more incredible and powerful philosophy to live by, because when you live by it –by refusing to apologize for your being and the way that you are made– you make space for others to do same which will create positive, radical change not only a personal level but a systemic level. A quote that comes to mind that relates to the topic of this article is:
“Living in a female body, a Black body, an aging body, a fat body, a body with mental illness is to awaken daily to a planet that expects a certain set of apologies to already live on our tongues. There is a level of “not enough” or “too much” sewn into these strands of difference. Recent discoveries in the field of epigenetics have established how the traumas and resiliency of our ancestors are passed onto us molecularly…” (pg 13, revised and expanded second edition; The Body is Not an Apology: the Power of Radical Self-Love)
We need to understand and live by the principles of Radical Self-Love now more than ever. You are not broken. There is nothing about you that needs to be fixed. You are not less than. You are not incapable or undeserving of love, respect and kindness. NO ONE deserves to be treated unjustly, oppressed and disregarded because of the way they look, and you shouldn’t believe or internalize the ways people have treated you because of your appearance. Love yourself anyway. And this is Radical Self-Love.
Don’t let the daily, large or miniscule ways people have treated you unkindly because of your appearance continue to make you believe the only way the mistreatment will stop is if you conform to their standards of what’s worthy of kindness, respect and love. Love yourself anyway. Love others with differences to the conventional standard of beauty, health and what is “acceptable” anyway. In doing this, you are radically refusing, rebelling, against the systems that have made it acceptable, legal even, to murder, oppress, mistreat, disregard and dehumanize people for their existences.
In choosing to love yourself and others anyway –despite what you’ve been taught and are constantly being coerced into believing by the way you and others who don’t fit the “standard” are often harmed– you are fighting back, and giving light, hope and truth to yourself, your community and the world around that there is more than enough space for all of us to exist as we are, in the bodies we were given, joyfully, freely and in love.
How this relates to this 90’s/Y2K resurgence is, I am making sure the rampant fatphobia of those times that is also resurfacing does not coerce me into believing that I should not love my fat, black, female body and that others shouldn’t love their fat bodies, either. (Please enjoy pictures I posted of me below, <3) I’m a survivor of the fatphobia of those times – I grew up during them and I’ve been fat since I was a child. Because of “thin is in” and diet culture, there were points I considered no longer being here becuase I was taught to be so disgusted by my body and my existence.
I know this is an experience and trauma many of us share, which is why this time around, I am equipped with the knowledge and resources to mentally fortify myself against the wars systems of oppressions are constantly waging on our bodies. Oh yeah, the wars on our bodies are waged, and have been continuously waged, whether 90s/Y2K was in or not, but because the fatphobia of eras was so blatant, I couldn’t sit idly by without acknowledging the harm these eras have caused on our bodies and shining light on the best way forward. Thank you, God, for Sonia Renee Taylor!
You don’t have to carry the burden of body shame upon you especially when you were not born with it. You were given it by the governing bodies of this world and you do not have to keep it, nor should you. Here are some affirmations to help get rid of the body shame for good.
Affirmations for Radical Self-Love & Body Positivity
I am no longer apologizing for my body, but rejoicing in it.
I am not ashamed of my body
My body is perfect because it is my own.
This is my body, and I am worthy of feeling beautiful and loved.
Regardless of what I see in the media, I know that I am beautiful.
I am worthy of feeling happiness and joy in my body, just as it is, in this present moment.
I am a beautiful human being, and I refuse to believe all things that try to convince me otherwise.
I deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.
I am breathtakingly beautiful. My beauty lights up every room I enter.
I am loved, and I radiate love.
This body has carried me through all of my days, good and bad, and for that, I am grateful.
I accept the changes that my body has gone through with love, compassion and grace.
I give myself compassion and grace, for all my body has triumphed over.
I am celebrating, loving, and cherishing my body just as it is.
I am not a reflection of the unkind, harmful ways people have treated me.
I was not born with body shame and I am no longer continuing to live with body shame.
I hope you find these affirmations helpful and a tip for picking some to say in repetition: whichever affirmation stood out to you, made you warm or made you feel like you were healing something when you read it in your head is the one to memorize and carry with you throughout your day.
I love you,