This morning I learned what a ‘Banana roll’ is. No, unfortunately it’s not a dessert — it’s a part of the body which is considered undesirable in the eyes of modern media and consequentially to many women too. A banana roll is a build-up of fat below the buttocks on the upper hamstring and is considered highly problematic. It’s near impossible to get rid of and is caused largely by genetics. I have this feature, and while I don’t particularly like it being there, I hate that my little pudge has been thought of so badly that it’s been given a hate-name of its own.
It’s actually the second nasty word I’ve learned in the last month to describe a part of my body ubiquitously considered undesirable. The first was ‘violin hips’. This is where the hip bones are highly positioned and when viewed front-on, creates a slightly square appearance to the pelvic area.
Over the years I’ve heard many, many more cruel names and ways to describe areas of the female body, shaming its natural features for the sake of beauty ideals which simply cannot apply to us all. The longer we continue to apply names to the parts of our body we don’t particularly like, the longer we fuss over them. And the longer we fuss and focus on finding way to ‘fix’ them, the deeper enslaved we become to the media and the socioeconomics which continue the cycle.
We buy into cellulite lotion, toning creams, stretch-mark oil and all kinds of surgical treatments to ‘fix’ parts of our body that life has naturally given us. We keep buying them because we’re told they can correct a problem that we have, that we’re not good enough as we are naturally and that we need their product to feel better about our bodies. And because we’re told this, believe it and spend money, we continue to fund the cycle that is body shaming, cosmetic enhancement and physical insecurity. I know I’m spurting old news at this point, but giving cruel names to parts of our bodies only exacerbates an already esteem-crushing problem.
Let’s stop, shall we? We don’t need to rename them with something nicer. Heck, we don’t even have to desperately convince ourselves that we love the parts of our bodies that we’re not happy about. We don’t have to gaze into the mirror, our faces contorted in a strenuous smile of false admiration proclaiming: “I love my squashy thighs and my ‘booty cushion’!” We just have to accept them as they are, as a whole, and in their unique, naturally occurring state.