Alright, first things first: what is a VBO? I’m so glad you asked because I didn’t know this term until last week. (I thought I was writing a story on VPL — visible panty line — and I’m all about freeing the panty line because why should I have to pretend not to wear something I am wearing?) VBO stands for visible belly outline, and apparently, there is an entire movement to free the belly. As someone with a belly that is also visible and not going anywhere anytime soon, I am all for this!
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes — and VBO embraces that reality
How many times have you talked yourself out of crop tops, bikinis, bodycon dresses, tight jeans — or quite frankly, any kind of clothing whatsoever — because you didn’t want your belly to show? Just like the VPL or visible bra straps, the VBO movement is gaining traction, especially on Instagram under the hashtag #vbo. Also, why do we care so much about regulating what women and girls are wearing anyway? (Oh, right. Patriarchy.)
Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to wear “flattering” styles or squeeze yourself into soul-sucking shapewear. Like, how are we literally paying money to force our bodies into shapes that are not actually our bodies? It’s like paying $100 for a square watermelon: purely ornamental and not very tasty. Our bodies are not ornaments and are plenty tasty and sexy — tummies, especially!
People come in all shapes, sizes, and abilities, whether you’ve had babies or not. Bodies are more than how they look or what they can do.
Women are embracing their VBOs
Look, I know it’s the makeup and fashion industry’s jobs to make us hate ourselves so that we will buy their products instead of being perfectly happy with last season’s clothes and eyebrows, but enough’s enough. Born from the body positivity movement, women are unapologetically embracing their FUPA (fatty upper pubic area). It’s a beautiful thing to witness women confidently rocking their VBO, not to mention empowering AF! Plus, I have it on good authority (confer with my four kids) that soft and squishy tummies are the best.
People normalizing VBO
But I get it. Sometimes you can read or hear about a thing but not quite believe it. It takes time to unlearn all the lies we have born into our bodies. But don’t just take our word for it! Social media is full of folks who are helping normalize VBO, regardless of body shape or size.
Aaronica Cole is an entrepreneur who runs multiple businesses and an award-winning green and eco-friendly lifestyle blog. Cole is a mom of three and not only does she make her own clothes, she is her own best model.
Msen Kamsendoo is a joy. Kamsendoo is an entrepreneur and body positivity influencer on Instagram. Her effusive personality as she enjoys both her own body and fineness (and she is SO fine) is beautiful to witness. Bonus if you start believing what she reminds you about your own self.
Gabi Fresh is a body positive blogger from way back who wrote about VBO and about how our bodies are okay and good. She now has a swimsuit collection and discusses fashion, travel, and design.
Jari Jones is an actress, singer, plus size trans model, creative, photographer, videographer, and activist. To Jones, her life and surviving is her activism. Expect to see Jones in more fashion spreads in the future.
Ratnadevi Manokaran is a plus size fashion blogger, boutique owner, creative, influencer, and TedX Talk speaker. Her mission in life is to empower women.
Toni Furmanski is a lifestyle blogger who focuses on fat acceptance, fashion, body liberation, self-love, who is also an amputee. Also, she loves plants and Chipotle.