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It could be because I grew up primarily with my mother and fully Colombian big brother, or perhaps because whenever I took that five-hour plane journey from JFK to Medellin, I was met with passion and energy and vitality. As with any culture, though, there exist the goods and the bads, and those depend on the individual and his/her unique personality. But that didn’t mean I was equally enamored with every aspect of the culture I perceived.
For me, I gravitated toward Colombia because I felt it somehow possessed more heart than anything or anyone I’d encountered in New Jersey. I loved how friendly and welcoming the people were. One of those aspects was the confusion I felt over societal perceptions of beauty. media always puts out that image of the woman who is slender, tall, somewhat boyish in frame. Colombians believe that the “perfect” woman has curves, and a lot of them.
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“I became aware of the many outlets for promoting acceptance of every body type in other cultures, and it’s obvious that my culture still has a lot of work to do.”I suppose it does have a lot of work to do, but so do most places.
I would spend entire summers in Medellin, and throughout them I’d be critiqued for being too big — but what I found was that it wasn’t out of cruelty or malice, like it would often be in the states.
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It just doesn’t happen.”Looking back on it, I still appreciate that curves are seen as a beautiful thing within the Colombian culture.
So often they’re viewed as a negative in the states, and it’s refreshing to know that at least the other half of my culture is a little more open to voluptuousness.
But that’s not to say I appreciate how confusing it is for a young girl to hear that she should be voluptuous because voluptuous is beautiful, but not too voluptuous because too voluptuous is ugly.“A woman who is too voluptuous is often criticized, devalued or underestimated,” says Anna Maria Salgado, a 21-year-old, size-four student at the University of Medellin.
“But the line between too voluptuous is so vague that I don’t know how anyone is supposed to know what to do.” Salgado spent a few years studying in London, and quickly found that other cultures were embracing the beauty in the big as she'd never seen before.