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Accepting Your Body at Any Size : Lessons from Roller Derby

In a culture obsessed with thinness, it was sort of surprising at first to see a sport that
encouraged women to embrace whatever body type they had, but that is exactly what
happens in the sport of roller derby. If you ever go to a roller derby game, you will
notice there are thin girls, short girls, amazonian girls. It is a wonderful motley crew.
Each of these body types carries some advantages in the sport. If you are short and
small, you may be able to get low enough to get past your opponents, whereas being
bigger may give you extra-strength to block or hit your opponents.  

Roller derby turns all of the regular conventions of the "right" body type on its head.
A prime example of this is a player named Beyonslay. She learned to use her larger size
to her advantage. She is pretty amazing as the video link below attests. And because
she is so amazing at using her larger body, it starts to subtly change the way everyone
on the team looks at weight and body type.  

The Queen City Roller Girls,  who wrote a piece about how roller derby encourages a
positive body image had this to say,

"The importance of "looking your best" is taught to girls from a young age and is
continually stressed as necessary for success. Unfortunately, this lesson in proper
self-care too often forgets about what may be your best and instead teaches us that
we should aim to achieve whatever is considered to be the best, an ideal. The
western ideal of an unrealistically thin, feminine and toned physique prevents
many women from feeling satisfied with their own bodies, but it’s never too late
to break the cycle.

Because roller derby defies the notion of an "ideal body type" skaters often enjoy
a more positive body image and an increased confidence in what they and their
bodies are capable of, a confidence which often carries over from the track to
other aspects of living. When asked how roller derby has affected her self-image
one Houston skater responded, "I was so excited to be part of a sport where you
could be any body type, personality or background and still be accepted. This
alone helps me to view myself as worthy and not needing to change anything.”

Before you spend a lot of time, energy and money trying to change your body, I
encourage you to first focus on how you can embrace the unique and wonderful body
you were given. Find ways to use your body that help you feel strong, beautiful, and
useful. For some women, roller derby has done that.  For you, it may be something
else. Don't be afraid to try something new, or to even get the wind knocked out of you.
By using your body to do something you didn't think possible, you may find yourself
feeling more capable and accepting than ever.

Struggling with your body image? We have Houston, Texas Counselors who can meet with you. You can contact us at 713 -591- 3612 or by email at

Related blog posts:

*this blog is not intended to substitute for professional counseling


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