What Is Body Positivity?

Positive Body Image vs Body Positivity

What Is Body Positivity?

At first glance, positive body image and body positivity may seem the same thing, but they are not.

What is body positivity?

People seem to be latching on to the idea of loving and appreciating their bodies. Social media users post body positive pictures all the time and while this may seem a positive thing, unfortunately, much of the true meaning of “body positivity” is lost in mainstream social media.

A Social justice movement is what body positivity is to give voices to those individuals in marginalized bodies. It’s rooted in the belief that ALL bodies are GOOD bodies. Including, but not limited to: fat bodies, disabled bodies, trans people, bodies of different races/ethnicities. Everyone deserves to find a place of body peace and respect for themselves.

This is separate from having a “positive body image” and/or loving/liking the way your body looks. The body positive movement is so much more than aesthetics.

It’s about existing in a world and being treated humanely regardless of how your body looks.

Individuals who live in marginalized bodies have done so much work starting and continuing the body positive movement. The problem is, well, privileged women. Honestly, myself, white, cis, smaller bodied etc.

Have, most ly unintentionally, made it into something it’s not. I can understand why it happened.

Who doesn’t the idea of “body positivity”? But now, the voices of people who have started the movement are diluted, due to the other “body positive” noise that’s out there.

Body Positivity vs. “Positive Body Image”

I was inspired to write this blog after reading Lauren Newman’s (aka gofeedyourself) Instagram post on body positivity vs. positive body image. I LOVE how eloquently she put it. I got permission and am going to quote her:

“Body positivity is a social justice movement. It’s about centering the voices of marginalized individuals and acknowledging the oppression they experience in our society. Body positivity is NOT about “feeling good” in your body.

It is NOT a place for thin white cis able bodied women to post pictures of their bodies and talk about their body image struggles. Of course those struggles are valid and important to talk about and process.

However those conversations about positive body image and self love don’t belong under the title of “body positivity”. They are not the same thing.

 If you are a thin, white, cis, able bodied woman ( me) and want to be involved in the body positive movement.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Stop posting body pics and calling it body positive.
  2. Follow others who hold marginalized identities. Read and learn from them. Support them via sharing their content or contributing financially to their work.
  3. Educate others on this difference.

    Call people in to this conversation when you see them sharing problematic content or misusing terms body positivity.

  4. Do work around unpacking your privilege.
  5. Don’t talk about weight loss. Seriously.

    Even if you’re doing all the other things above… talking about weight loss is still problematic AF. First and foremost, body positivity is NEVER EVER about loving your body after a “weight loss journey.” Body positive and intentional weight loss just do not go together.

This is such a complicated concept. It’s difficult sometimes for me to wrap my head around it. And it wasn’t until I started reading more about the body positive movement over the last 6 months or so that I’m truly starting to understand how I can be a better ally.

And I have a couple of thoughts after reading through the comments on Lauren’s post and other blogs/articles about the body positive movement.

Number One: Your body image struggles are valid

I think it’s so important and totally okay to have body image struggles if you live in a smaller body, white body, cis body….etc.

None of us are immune to insidious diet culture and the pressures to conform to our society’s ridiculous (stupid) beauty standards. You are totally allowed to struggle. And totally deserve to find freedom from body image struggles. I view that work as “working on body image” or “improving a relationship with body.” Not necessarily working on “body positivity.”

Basically, if we call it “body positivity.” Which I have been guilty of in the past and still working on today. The movement loses momentum. And people who the movement wasn’t meant for, Stacy who lost weight, eats clean, and now loves her body, start to become the faces of the movement. And that completely misses the point. 

Number Two: We all live in diet culture 

Recovering from an eating disorder also requires taking a look at your own biases and judgments when it comes to people in larger bodies. I have done this work to be a better dietitian/ally and am still doing this work. Again, we all live in diet culture and we all have judgments about “gaining weight.”

That doesn’t make us bad people, it makes us human. And all it means is that we have work to do to change those thoughts (and all of society, but let’s take it one step at a time, yeah?). When you feel ready, with your therapist or RD, you may want to explore what makes “fat” bad…

Think About…

What would be scary about living life in a larger body? Do you judge people who may be larger? If not, why would you judge yourself if you gained weight? Could you still live a happy life? Are there things you’re not going to do until you lose weight? What would it be to do them now?

Perhaps it could be helpful to follow some peeps who are doing AMAZING fat advocacy work. …Tess Holliday, Jes Baker, Ivy Felicia, Whitney Way Thor, Dani Adriana, Olivia Campbell, Eff Your Beauty Standards, Ragen Chastain, and Megan Jayne Crabbe.

Number Three: Body positivity does not “promote obesity”

The body positive movement does not “promote obesity.” OH MY GOD. Can we please stop saying this? Firstly, it truly upsets me that we call “obesity” a disease. The very word tells people in larger bodies they have a “disease” and their bodies are wrong. NOT TRUE.

Body size cannot describe how healthy/unhealthy someone is. The fact that we use body size to tell us about health is actually totally problematic (that’s another blog, coming soon).

And besides, health is not a moral obligation AND larger people are not required to shrink themselves to make others feel more comfortable.

Why should we care if larger bodied men and women are enjoying themselves?

This judgement is 100% coming from diet culture.

So, then, what do we do with all this information? Three take home points:

  1. Remember: all of our body image concerns are entirely valid. It’s just important to label body image work as “body image work” not “body positivity.” We don’t want to water down the message of this social justice movement.
  2. Follow people of ALL different shapes and sizes and gender identities and sexualities on Instagram, …etc. It can be empowering and liberating to see all different kinds of people going through life. We’re all on this crazy journey together and have similar (not the same) human experiences and emotions. Might as well support each other through it. Not tear each other down.  I’m also always looking to diversity my feed.  
  3. If you want to be an ally to the body positive movement, check out Lauren’s tips above

    Источник: https://rbitzer.com/positive-body-image-vs-body-positivity/

    The Importance of Body Positivity — The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab

    What Is Body Positivity?

    For many decades, certain body types and sizes have been considered most acceptable by society. Traditionally, Western countries have given recognition, appreciation and privilege to those whose appearance fits within a certain ideal. Most often, this ideal involves thinness, muscularity or body shape.

    The messages of what is considered an attractive or appropriate body type and size can be damaging for many people who do not fit these specific criteria. These expectations can lead to poor mental health, body dissatisfaction and unhealthy behaviors around food and exercise. 

    The body positivity movement was born the need to widen the range of bodies considered acceptable by society. The movement encourages a rejection of ideas that bodies must fit a certain mold and encourages people to accept and celebrate their body as it is. 

    History of the Body Positive Movement

    Ideas of body positivity have been around for over a hundred years, but have only more recently formalized into a social movement. Body positivity dates back as far as 1850, where women protested that they should not be required to use corsets to change their body shape. 

    The idea of body acceptance became a topic of discussion following the publication of an article titled “More People Should be Fat!” by an author named Lew Lauderback. The author argued that fatness did not equate to being unhealthy and pushed back against fat-shaming. This article contributed to the creation of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance in 1969.

    More formally, the body positivity movement was created by Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott in 1996. The movement was started Connie’s own experience with an eating disorder. Elizabeth, a psychologist specializing in eating disorders, also co-founded the organization.

    Since this time, the body positivity movement has grown to include activists, health professionals and scientific researchers. The body positivity movement has impacted the fashion and advertising industries, use of social media and general levels of inclusion and acceptance of different body types within the wider community.

    What Exactly Is Body Positivity?

    The phrase “body positivity” is used more frequently now than ever, but there is still some confusion around what body positivity is. Body positivity is a movement that represents appreciation, respect and acceptance for bodies as they are, and for the functions and activities they do. More specifically, body positivity includes:

    • Appreciating unique aspects of one’s body 
    • Gratitude for the functions a body can perform
    • Admiration for parts and features of the body, even if they differ from societal ideals
    • Comfort and confidence within one’s body
    • A focus on the positives rather than perceived imperfections or flaws
    • A rejection of negative images or information about bodies

    Body positivity is a process and requires the practice of self-compassion and acceptance. While the process of body positivity and acceptance is most certainly difficult, it can lead to improved well-being and mental health and encourage society to be more inclusive and accepting.

    Common Misconceptions

    The body positivity movement challenges some of the long-held beliefs of society. Because of this, there can be many misconceptions about body positivity and the intentions and benefits of the movement. 

    Body positivity is a broad concept. Within it there are many types of body diversity and acceptance. Often, comparisons are made between body positivity vs. fat acceptance, and though they share many values, they are not the same thing. Fat acceptance is part of the broader body positivity movement, but it includes the specific acceptance and equality provided to people with fat bodies. 

    Self-love and body positivity encourages acceptance of bodies as they are. For many, this can mean giving respect and acceptance to bodies that are overweight, underweight or look different from what is commonly deemed “acceptable.” This can be a difficult concept since messages of what bodies should look are strong and persistent.

    Common misconceptions about body positivity might include the belief that people who are body positive:

    • Are lazy or neglect taking care of themselves through diet and exercise
    • Are simply people who don’t feel overly negative about their body
    • Are vain
    • Make judgments on others to improve their own body positivity
    • Are able to simply ignore or reframe constant social messages about body and appearance

    Some people may also believe that body positivity simply involves changing thoughts. However, true body positivity is an ongoing process of changing beliefs, thoughts and behaviors and examining how they interact with one another.

    Psychology Behind the Body Positivity Movement

    The body positive movement was born the understanding that strict and negative messages about bodies and appearance were emotionally, psychologically and physically damaging to many people. The body positivity movement offers a solution to the problematic and harmful beliefs encouraged by social messaging and negative body image.

    Body positivity is founded on positive psychology, which focuses on ways to improve functioning and well-being rather than focusing on illness or disorder. Body positivity includes not just the absence of negative body image but also having meaningful respect and appreciation for one’s body.

    Of course, negative body image can have consequences for mental well-being and can worsen many aspects of functioning.

    Body positivity is guided by the understanding that feeling positive and accepting of appearance can improve mental health, reduce the risk of eating disorders, and allow someone to function at their best.

    Psychological research has shown that body positivity is associated with improved self-care behaviors, including healthy diet and exercise, fewer unhealthy diet behaviors and lower risk of depression.

    Changes in Media and Advertising

    There is a growing understanding of the impact that the media, social media and messages about bodies and appearance can have on an individual and the community. As a result, there has been substantial pushback regarding the types of messages and bodies represented in mainstream media.

    Due to this pushback, there’s been an increase in positive body image in the media. This includes representation of different body shapes, sizes and races, and diversity in the types of bodies shown on a regular basis. There are several campaigns that have improved understanding of how media can positively affect body image.

    Truth in Advertising Act

    The Truth in Advertising Act is a federal law that states that all types of advertising must be truthful and supported by scientific evidence. It’s considered illegal to mislead consumers in advertisements about food, medications or diet-related products. This law aims to protect consumers from being misled or taken advantage of by claims about weight loss or changes to appearance.

    Aerie Real Campaign

    The Aerie Real Campaign is a campaign that includes a wide range of bodies, abilities and ethnicities, with no retouching. The campaign followed the company’s recognition of the impact of negative body image on communities and, in particular, women. Since 2015, Aerie has partnered with the National Eating Disorder Association to work toward the prevention of eating disorders.

    Dove Real Beauty

    The Dove Real Beauty campaign was launched by Dove to promote beauty as a source of confidence, not anxiety. Within this campaign, beauty is shown through real women who represent the diversity seen in society.

    In addition, the campaign uses only non-models and is committed to no retouching or digital distortion in their images.

    The campaign aims to improve body positivity and education surrounding positive body image in women and young people.

    Criticism of the Body Positivity Movement

    As with most social movements, the body positivity movement has been subject to some criticism. Although the movement has made great strides in promoting the acceptance of diverse bodies, some critics suggest that body positivity encourages obesity.

    This criticism is the belief that bodies that do not fit the norm ( thin or lean bodies) are a result of laziness or moral failure. Critics suggest that weight poses a significant risk to health and should not be underestimated.

    There has been significant debate about whether intentional weight loss can be considered part of body positivity. 

    Body positivity has also been criticized as unrealistic or expecting that people should feel good about their bodies all the time.

    Although body positivity encourages self-compassion, it is normal to have days where acceptance and celebration are difficult.

    this, critics suggest that some people may feel they have failed at body positivity if they feel critical or dissatisfied with their appearance, which may worsen their self-esteem. 

    There is clear evidence to support the role of body positivity in improving mental health and well-being. Despite these body positivity movement criticisms, acceptance, inclusion and tolerance of diverse body types can improve the health of individuals and the community as a whole.

    Источник: https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/related/importance-of-body-positivity/

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