Are You Body Positive?

An article notification popped up on my phone one day that asked, “Is summer sexist?” I didn’t read the piece, but I gathered that the gist of it was how summer is more demanding of women, who feel like they must be thin and hairless to look good in swimsuits.

I remember a meme that went around one other summer that said, “How to have a beach body: 1) have a body, 2) go to the beach.”

It really is that simple, isn’t it? The advertising and weight loss and fitness and cosmetic surgery industries would have us believe that we have to achieve a certain level of sex appeal before we can wear shorts or sleeveless shirts or bathing suits. 

I feel so sad to know that there are people who will avoid going to the beach or being outside at all in the summer because they’re afraid they don’t measure up. 

Hopefully they’ll take to heart the message of the body positivity movement. In her article, “An Imperfect Human’s Guide to Body Positivity,” Nora Whelan explains, “Body positivity is unlearning the idea that only certain bodies are worth acceptance and praise, and instead recognizing that all bodies are equally valuable. It’s deciding what feels good and healthy for you personally, and letting other people do so for themselves. It’s understanding that you deserve to live in your body without receiving the prejudice of others (whether that means rude comments, reduced economic opportunity, inadequate health care, or something else), and working toward a world where no one’s body is the target of such bias.”

She points out that 

  • modern body positivity is 100% inclusive—of people of any gender or skin color or size or disability
  • fat acceptance is not promoting obesity (rather, “Living joyfully in one’s body and not hesitating to share those joyful moments with others, or giving representation to people who aren’t normally visible in media, only *promotes* not delaying happiness until you reach a certain dress size or number on a scale.”)
  • accepting and loving your body doesn’t make you vain
  • it’s not OK to make yourself or someone else feel better by insulting someone with a different body type (the author mentions a song by Meghan Trainor who proudly sings she’s “all about her bass” but puts down “skinny bitches”)
  • advertising is manipulative; some ads promotes thin, hairless models with airbrushed perfection, while others promote an image of inclusion that’s not real
  • we can accept people now and still encourage healthier lifestyle choices with genuine love and sensitivity
  • we need to be authentic: we can be honest about not being attracted to everyone, but we owe it to ourselves to think about WHY we have the outlook we have.

Ultimately, it’s about body autonomy. “Body positivity is about working toward a world where everyone can live in their bodies as they please while receiving the same respect, representation, and opportunities as everyone else. So explore why you feel the way you do about your body, decide based on those factors what the correct decisions are for you, and be kind and empathetic toward — and consistent in your defense of — other bodies, and you’re off to a good start.”

Now get out there and enjoy your summer!!


Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth Posted on June 12, 2019

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