Chidera Eggerue Wants You To Make Peace With Your Boobs, Bush and Bodaciousness.
By Audra Heinrichs.
In 2017, I started following Chidera Eggerue on Instagram after she coined the hashtag, #SaggyBoobsMatter. I was 23, navigating my post-grad life as a young professional in New York City and simultaneously loathing everything about my body.
Frustrated by the widely-accepted notion that bralessness was unattractive for anyone that didn’t fit the mainstream models and the fashion blogs that catered almost entirely to white womxn of the middle to upper class, Eggerue created an antipode and thus, ‘The Slumflower,” bloomed through the cracks of a largely bankrupt blogosphere.
The writer, speaker and sage of self-esteem, made herself the face of the saggy boob movement – much to the chagrin of angry men on the internet – flooding social media with selfies wearing the backless dresses and halter tops I had always told myself I didn’t have the body to wear.
Seemingly overnight, #SaggyBoobsMatter became more than a hashtag. It was step one of leading a liberated life. Even for its maker.
At the age of 25, the South Londoner has given a TEDx talk, hosted her first sold-out live show, presented Bring Back the Bush, a documentary examining why women shave their pubic hair, and penned two books, What A Time To Be Alone and the newly released, How To Get Over a Boy.
She describes the latter as, “a self-help book for the newly single.”
“It’s about feeling the positive of right now and knowing that there is something better on the other side. I wrote the book for my future daughter, so she might navigate a break up with dignity and self-worth.”
The book also delves deep into identity, setting standards and society’s gross insensitivity to womxn – particularly Black womxn.
“No matter how much pain we are in, our expression is always labeled as ‘bitter,’ ‘angry’ and ‘aggressive.’ I simply want black women to know that it is very okay to be angry; it is very okay to believe you are the best; it is very okay to take up as much space as you want.”
If occupying space were once difficult for her, it would certainly appear an art form now. When she isn’t teaching a lesson on how to sever with societal beauty standards and serve looks, she’s teaching a lesson to men online. Eggerue often chronicles her conversations with men on dating apps, posting screenshots of exchanges she hopes her audience might glean wisdom from.
She is assertive, transparent about her time – or lack thereof – and finally, demands a date she deems, ‘high-quality.’
“There is no shortage of men – make wise choices!”
Her personal life isn’t the only place Eggerue is teaching audiences to deeply question their internalized beliefs and biases. Earlier this year, when she hosted Bring Back The Bush, she examined the near-inherent repulsion surrounding womxn’s pubic hair in a series of segments. One of which included taking straight men to talk about what influenced their downright unrealistic preferences for womxn’s bodies.
She got the idea for the documentary after posting a selfie, defiantly boasting a bushy bikini line that was met with an onslaught of vitriol online.
“The abuse I received from strangers proved exactly why I wanted to make a documentary about pubic hair in the first place: to start a conversation and invite people to challenge their deep-rooted stigmas towards women’s pubic hair. We need to normalize it, body hair is not the enemy, it is the self-doubt and fear that stop us from embracing it.”
Eggerue, as I’ve come to understand, functions not to make anyone feel too comfortable. Not even me, a fan. Instead, she’s fashioning a career from what even the most high-functioning, successful adults don’t seem to have the energy for: Challenging herself and her online community to depart from the status quo and demand the things they’ve been conditioned to believe aren’t rightfully theirs.
“My mother always taught me: Never believe anybody is better than you. You are who you need to be and nobody can replace you.”
It’s taken years, but I realize now that The Slumflower was never about sagging boobs, a bountiful bush or even a couple of perfectly worthy self-help books. Eggerue just wanted me to like myself enough to get what I need. And for you to follow her on Instagram.
Photos by Rachel Sherlock