We Are So Here For Body-Positive Tattoos

by Nikkya Hargrove
Originally Published: 

Over the years, actor Jonah Hill has been very vocal about his weight struggles. In an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show in 2018, Jonah shared, “I became famous in my late teens and then spent most of my young adult life listening to people say that I was fat and gross and unattractive.”

On his Instagram last February, along with a screenshot of a Daily Mail article, he talked about finally being comfortable in his own skin. “The idea that the media tries to play me by stalking me while surfing and printing photos like this and it can’t phase me anymore is dope,” he wrote. “I’m 37 and finally love and accept myself.”

Recently, he got a permanent reminder of that self-love via a new, body-positive tattoo. Jonah’s ink had people talking and revisiting the discussion about what body positivity means. His tattoo is small, but his point is clear and forever etched onto his shoulder reminding him to have “Body Love.”

Being body positive means so many things. People can be mean, cruel, and nasty, especially to people who are plump, thick, chubby, or fat. I am a Black girl, with a butt, and for years I was self-conscious about it. Until other people (my wife) made me more comfortable in my skin. Whatever way you get that confidence, hold onto it when you do. Now I love my butt, in all of its Black girl glory. It’s mine and I can’t get rid of it. I got what I’ve got.

Body positive tattoos have shown us that body love can also mean meeting your rolls where they are. Like these amazing works from tattoo artist Carrie Metz Caporusso, whose “roll flowers” serve to highlight the curves that society has told us to be ashamed of.

And the roll flowers aren’t her only body-positive designs:

What we tell ourselves about our bodies is more important than what other people have to say. Model Ashley Graham shared with Vogue in 2014, “I got most of my confidence by having a mother who never said, ‘I don’t like this or this.’ It was just, ‘You’ve got to love what you have because it is the only body that has been given.’ I know that is where a lot of my confidence came from.” And for many people, getting these positive messages inked on is the perfect everyday reminder.

Jes Baker, author and body image coach, did a fun roundup of her favorite body-positive tattoos on her site, The Militant Baker — including her own.

Self-talk is one way we can be body-positive. It can help to silence that voice inside — you know, the one that says you’re too this (fat) or too that (short). When Lizzo came on the scene, I started to pay attention to what I told myself about my body. I changed the dialogue in my head, and the negative self-talk became less frequent. Self-talk, for some, has turned into artistic expression inked onto their bodies.

For now, I will stick to ink and paper and write love letters to my rolls and my high cheekbones. But for those who love tattoos, they can help shift the way we think about what it means to be body positive. The way we express our love and appreciation for our bodies can come in the form of art.

Body positivity means loving what you have. It means changing the internal dialogue. It means telling the body in the mirror looking back at you that those rolls look good, honey. And why not add a flower to that lovely crease, the place where your belly meets your thigh? Self-love and body positivity starts from within, from the food you eat to the words you say to the way you exercise — but that can translate into a constant reminder via ink.

I’ll leave you with some Lizzo realness. She recently told People Magazine, “[I]f you’re feeling down on yourself today, just remember that your body is YOUR body. Nobody’s got your body. So enjoy that bitch!”

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