What's the deal with "the pouch"?
CONTENT WARNING: This piece discusses negative body image, eating disorders and body dysmorphia, which may be distressing for some readers.
The pouch refers to the pouch-like fat almost all women have on their lower tummies—underneath your button button, resting on your pelvis. Although the pouch is a biologically normal part of all female bodies, girls have been told to "do away" with it. Let's discuss the pouch, why many are against it and how you can embrace such a natural and normal part of your body.
As a result of today's obsession with being thin, having a pouch is a societal no-no. Thanks to the "magic of modern technology," I'm about 105% sure every girl has seen ads on social media telling them how to lose their stomach fat in seven days, or how to rid of tummy fat with a mix of spices and acids that burns your throat more than cough syrup. Yep, the pouch has been the catalyst for so many harmful displays of diet culture, wrecking the body image of so many women who have been told their bodies are not enough.
Ladies, there is *nothing* wrong with having a pouch. This layer of belly fat sticks around because it serves an important purpose: to protect vital organs such as your liver, stomach and uterus. Bear with me through the science of it all, but abdominal fat cells have teeny, tiny white filters that collect info (bacteria, antigens, all that good stuff) to keep your abdominal cavity in prime condition. This layer of fat serves as an important immune organ, and without it, you could suffer from more than just a few bad stomach aches. Scientists have actually taken a lot of data from the cells of lower belly fat tissue in hope of discovering cures to cellular diseases such as cancer.
Trying to do away with the pouch will only further promote diet culture and wreck your relationship with food and your body. As teens, we are no strangers to beauty standards. Society loves to tell women how to act and speak, and they are absolutely obsessed with telling women how they should and shouldn't look. Taylor Swift spoke out about this conundrum in her documentary, Miss Americana: "There's always some standard of beauty that you're not meeting. 'Cause if you're thin enough you don't have that [butt] that everybody wants. But if you have enough weight on you to have a [butt] then your stomach isn't flat enough. It's all just...impossible." T. Swift, once again, hit the nail right on the head: It's impossible!
And I totally get it. Staring at the reflection in the mirror—one that does not match the posts on IG of celebs and influencers—makes me constantly doubt myself. These thoughts always appear, sometimes fleetingly...or sometimes in herds of hundreds. It's improbable to believe that you can prevent these thoughts for good, not in the society surrounding us today. But you must hold your ground against these harsh thoughts: Fend them off through positive affirmations, a mindful stance on self-judgments and purposeful action to care for your body's needs. When I inevitably face the mirror during bad body image days, I try my hardest to show the girl in the mirror compassion.
She is not the enemy. You must care for her. She is depending on you. Show her the love she undoubtedly deserves.
The pouch should be embraced, not erased from all the beautiful things we love about ourselves. Not to get all mushy, but everyone is truly beautiful in their own spectacular and quirky ways. Whether it be the patterns of strech marks on your hips or the soft, plump curves that round out your cheeks. Or the plush of your stomach that jiggles and squishes in all the best ways. Thank your pouch, right now...and go get yourself a snack :)
Check out our other posts about body image below:
💖 What is body neutrality and is it better than body positivity?
💖 How to ditch diet culture and accept your body
💖 So...you gained weight. Here's how to move forward
Tag us in your beautiful Instagram posts @girlslifemag for a chance to be featured on our feed!
We want to hear from you! Send us your weirdest body questions here (seriously, we'll answer anything!) and it just might get featured.