“I don’t want to look back at my teenage years and my early 20s wishing I’d loved myself a lot more,” said the incredibly wise Chidera Eggerue, also known as The Slumflower.
At only 23, the London native has caused quite a stir online with her #SaggyBoobsMatter hashtag. Scroll through the hashtag and you’ll see women from all over the world supporting the movement and finally embracing their bodies.
The award-winning blogger, writer and social media influencer became fed up with the constant pressure for “perfect” breasts and decided to begin loving the body that she was given. Now she is spreading her message of body positivity to the world.
The Londoner isn’t the only young woman who has once felt ashamed of their body. Parents.com reports that girls as young as nine years old are feeling ashamed of their bodies.
60 percent of people surveyed reported that their body shaming experience came from a classmate or friend’s comment about their body. Others reported that their parents and the media had also contributed to their body shaming.
Whether it be your weight, the size of your nose or your saggy breasts, it’s not hard to feel bad about yourself in this social media era where everyone you see online looks perfect. Even the beautiful Instagram models with millions of followers have their flaws, but many use photoshop and filters to disguise them.
There’s nothing wrong with plopping on a filter from time to time, but it’s especially refreshing to see someone like Eggerue who refuses to mask a part of her that has been deemed socially unacceptable. Not only does she refuse to change her sagging breasts, she makes it a point to flaunt them in order to inspire other women to do the same.
“When I’m wearing an outfit without a bra, I often get stares from people so trapped in their own insecurities that the sight of someone else taking charge of their body intimidates them. A majority of the time, people’s problems with you are an extension of their problems with themselves.
“It’s hard enough trying to silence the voice in your head telling you that you will never be good enough, so why make room for an external voice that will only amplify that self-hating voice?” said Eggerue.
Eggerue says that she wants to reclaim ownership of the negative connotation attached to the words “saggy boobs.” Moreover, sagging is usually associated with older women while all young women are expected to have perky breasts. This, of course, is the opposite of realistic; society has taught people that women should not only act but look a certain way.
Much of this stems from the need to appease the male gaze. But, as Eggerue says, women do not exist for the consumption of men. In fact, women are biologically built for babies and not to look a certain way to make men happy. Your hungry baby certainly won’t care if your breasts are less than perky, so why worry about how men want them to look?
“Men aren’t and will never be in a position to tell women ‘how to be a woman.’ Impressing men isn’t even a goal worth making,” said Eggerue.
The media’s interpretation of women only reinforces the belief that there is only one way to look. Along with simply hating your body, unrealistic body standards in the media have been known to lead to eating disorders. Weight, of course, is a sensitive subject for many. Most of the women you see in the media are all the “ideal” weight. With their perfect weight comes perfect boobs.
This ideal body image has pushed unrealistic expectations of what one’s body should look like. It’s not just hard to find a realistic looking woman on film and television, but anyone who has walked into a clothing store knows that all the women in the ads around the store look socially acceptable.
“A lack of representation of saggy-looking boobs when I used to go bra shopping in M&S [as a young teenager] made me realize that something is wrong with the way the world views women’s bodies,” said Eggerue to BuzzFeed News.
“The packaging would always have a picture of a white woman with perky boobs, yet when I’d try on the same bra in my correct size, my boobs just wouldn’t look like the model pictured.”
The lack of representation led Eggerue to resent her breasts and start planning her boob job. Luckily for everyone, the surgery didn’t happen and Eggerue turned that resentment into self-love. The internet star says that her body-positive campaign has inspired young women to cancel their cosmetic surgery consultations.
Breastfeeding mothers even told the blogger that her hashtag made them feel more beautiful during the breastfeeding process. This proves that a simple hashtag can actually help women accept their bodies.
The inspiring blogger also commented on body shaming within the black community. She believes that body shaming is more prevalent in the black community and that black men should do more to empower black women.
“The way society is structured — black women are the least protected, the most scrutinized and not allowed to be perfect,” said Eggerue. “When it comes to issues like black women loving themselves, we see the backlash from black men.”
On her podcast, Eggerue tells the story of when she posted a picture online of herself without her wig on. Soon after posting, the comments section was full of negative comments. Many of the negative comments came from black men, tearing apart her natural looks and shaming her for being happy with herself.
Black men talking down to black women is not a foreign concept. In fact, there are countless black men out there that only date outside of their race. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with interracial dating, but when a black man purposefully dates women outside of his race and avoids black women and/or drags them for their looks, something is definitely wrong.
If you decide to follow Eggerue on her social media platforms, you’ll definitely become educated on topics such as these. She has a series of podcasts discussing issues such as colorism and finessing your flaws.
The blogger is also a published author with her book titled “What a Time to be Alone: The Slumflower’s guide to why you are already enough” available for preorder right now. The book will continue Eggerue’s empowering messages and teach young women to take charge of their lives.
Chidera Eggerue’s unapologetic confidence and self-love are definitely contagious and she wants to continue impacting young women all around the world. Most importantly, she wants to let women know that “you were made with intention and your body is not a mistake.”