The big idea behind “body positivity” is the acceptance of the fact that bodies are all different but equally as beautiful and valuable. The movement encourages the idea that everyone should decide what feels best for themselves.
The standards for what has been considered “beautiful” by society have shifted dramatically over the past hundred years. We have been as delighted by the curvy iconic figure of Marilyn Monroe as we have by Twiggy’s rail-thin physique.
Today, fitness cultures have emphasised muscle definition and strength as the desirable qualities in a figure. Body positivity is a movement that began back in the 1960s, but it has resurfaced in this modern age of social media to celebrate the beauty of all body types and sizes. The goal is that all people no matter their shape, size, race, sexuality and/or presence of disabilities can feel great and accept their body.
Can I Be Body Positive?
Everyone can be body positive. Though modern pressures have made physical beauty far more important to the female demographic, men can also embrace their own physique. This is also important to those who identify outside of their gender. But the greatest pressures these days fall on plus-sized women, with companies that claim to sell the best shapewear for plus size women.
It may seem that fat body positivity is merely an excuse to embrace obesity and make no desire to change, but this is not the case. Body positivity must be established on a love for oneself and a determined plan to gain positivity and confidence despite what has been portrayed by society. This could mean a thicker physique or a lean and narrow body type, as there are judgments made at every point.
This movement encourages people of all types to lovingly embrace their physical characteristics including cellulite, scars, stretch marks and sagging flesh. This is not a movement about promoting unhealthy life habits like excessive weight, but daring people to look in the mirror and be comfortable, pleased and even proud by what they see.
Does the Media Influence This?
Oh, the media plays a major role in the way women and beauty is portrayed to the public. The stereotypical beauty is a petite, light-skinned and non-disabled girl that is considered attractive. Consider the type of girls seen in Victoria’s Secret and Guess advertisements. It can be hard for girls to look at these women on billboards and talk shows and not think that with a little work, they too could look like this. Guys also experience this, to a lesser degree. Not every guy looks like a Calvin Klein underwear model, but this doesn’t stop them from exerting themselves at the gym in an effort to get as close as they can.
There is much money to be made by preying off purveying this insecurity far and wide. Businesses like fitness industries and diet programs all push this idea of attainment so that you will buy their products and programs. There have even been businesses who have taken this message too far just to promote sales.
But, there are brands who do well with their message. For example, Dove and Aerie frequently use models who aren’t photoshopped and this promotes an honest body concept and engenders acceptance of diversity.
How About Social Media?
Social media can also play a huge role in the way people perceive and feel about their body. Over 500 million people use social media every day and with each photo viewed the image of this person places an imprint on the person who views it.
Choosing Body Positivity
It is a brave choice to accept yourself despite the roar of public opinion that may be voicing confusion. Claiming this confidence is never easy, but it is your right. Make the choice to change your perspective and you will change your world.