- What is the body positivity movement
- Loving your body matters
- Why Body Positivity is important
- How the body positivity movement started
- The body positivity movement is growing
- Body positivity and helping People with disabilities
- Why people end up hating their bodies
- Disabled women even report body-hate more than men do
- Inclusion is key to body positivity
What is the body positivity movement
The body positivity movement aims to promote the acceptance of all bodies. Body positivity activists work to end body shaming and the promotion of unrealistic beauty standards.
- Their appearance or size shouldn’t determine a person’s worth, but it can be hard for people who face oppression because of their weight or size to feel valuable when society constantly tells them they aren’t good enough.
- Body positivity activism is about promoting self-love and understanding that everyone deserves love, respect, and kindness despite any physical differences they may have from what society deems “perfect.”
- I’m an activist because I want every single person on this planet to know how beautiful they are just as they are. There is no one way anyone should look or act.
Loving your body matters
I was first introduced to body positivity activism through social media.
- After scrolling for what felt like hours, I realized that so many people out there feel the same way I do about my body.
- It’s not easy feeling like you’re never good enough, and these accounts show me that I’m not alone in this struggle.
- “What do you think about when I say ‘body positivity’?” “Do you cringe at the idea?” “Do you smile and think, finally? Do a happy dance in your head?” If any of these questions are yes, then this blog post is for you.
Why Body Positivity is important
It saves lives by making people feel better about themselves, no matter their size or what they look like.
- It teaches children self-love instead of self-hatred, which leads them to have healthier relationships with themselves and others.
How the body positivity movement started
Ever since Dove released their body wash ad “Real Beauty Sketches” two years ago, the world has been on a mission to end the stigma of what’s considered beautiful. And while we’re not there yet, it seems like things are changing for the better.
- Some days I’m convinced that all this talk about inclusivity and representation will change how people see themselves and others, but then other days come and remind me that we have a long way to go.
- That being said, there are some pretty awesome organizations out there who are making incredible strides into expanding our view of beauty – one being the Self-Love Club! Self-Love Club is dedicated to spreading the love by encouraging self-love through community events where they live.
- The body positivity movement is about embracing and celebrating all shapes, sizes, and colors. It’s not just for women or the “plus sized” community either. Body positivity can be practiced by anyone who wants to feel better about themselves no matter what they look like.
The body positivity movement is growing
As more and more people are becoming aware of the damaging effects that society’s unrealistic beauty standards have on individuals.
- Body positivity activists fight back by promoting positive messages about body types, sexualities, genders, races, abilities, and other “non-normative” aspects of identity.
- They want to show everyone that there is no one way to be beautiful or sexy – we’re all good enough just the way we are!
- This includes promoting self-love for everyone regardless of their physical attributes or what they can or cannot do.
- At its core, the movement is about redefining what it means to be beautiful.
- It’s about understanding that every person has worth and that they should not be defined by society’s assumptions of what their bodies are supposed to look like or how much size they are supposed to have.
Body positivity and helping People with disabilities
Even though the activism against fat-shaming often targets disabled people because of perceived notions around being ableness-weight proportionate, the reality is that disabled people do suffer from depression due to how society treats them.
- This idea was explored in an excellent essay titled “The Shameful Fat Bodies of Disabled People,” written by Alice Wong, a writer and disability activist.
- In her essay she discussed how society views disabled people as “broken,” which can lead to an onslaught of negative emotions:
- Frustration, anger, and resentment are the typical responses from people who feel their body is being disrespected.
- When a person feels their body does not work as they expected it to (i.e., not thin enough), they often focus on what’s wrong with them instead of focusing on what society could change to accommodate their full participation in public life – such as wider dressing room doors, accessible parking spaces or fewer stairs at stores.
- So blaming your body for this can be easy because you find yourself needing more things accommodating your needs than other people. You begin to feel you are “bad” or broken, and no one will accept you the way you are.
Why people end up hating their bodies
80% of women with physical disabilities have had eating disorders at some point in their lives compared with 40% of all women. Among those formerly obese, 60-70 percent regain that status within two years after injury.
- This idea of being “broken” can lead many disabled individuals to adopt a hatred for their bodies, leading them to seek out weight loss programs like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers to reduce their weight.
Disabled women even report body-hate more than men do
Disabled men also reported similar levels as non-disabled men: about 5%. As such, Wong argues that fat stigma is an issue that needs to be addressed more broadly.
- To address this issue, Wong suggests that people who support size acceptance need to advocate for a better understanding of disability:
- The idea of body positivity is fantastic, in my opinion, because it embraces the fact we are all different and unique. Like the LGBT community has done with “born this way,” we can change attitudes toward ableism by having media and celebrities speak up about their feelings.
– Let’s learn some lessons from intersectionality: anti-racist campaigns don’t focus only on white privilege but also highlight black and brown people; likewise, body-positive activism should include disabled folks as well.
Inclusion is key to body positivity
This means being inclusive of those who are differently abled. For example, when we tell fat teens “your obesity is hurting you” or their health, what is implied is that thin people don’t have those problems – which isn’t true.
- I think messages like this need to be changed, so there’s no shame in having a disability and accepting your body for what it is.
- We must also address the cost of healthcare, accessible transportation, and other barriers disabled people face every day.
- Body positivity needs to be more than just an empty slogan on social media; it should go beyond BBW and jewelry ads that exclude plus-sized women with mobility devices.
- Those who are differently-abled don’t have the same healthcare access fat people do – so if you’re a white, non-disabled person who wants to be body positive, then make sure there’s room for disabled folks and not just fat women.
- Also, let’s not forget that men, particularly men of color with disabilities, are less likely to see themselves in ads or social media campaigns than non-disabled women.
- To read Wong’s entire essay, click [HERE].
We have included some resources below that you may find helpful if you are looking for more information on this topic – especially as it relates to understanding your own biases! It’s essential not only for our well-being but also for society to stop shaming others based on their looks because every person deserves respect just by being human. In what ways have you experienced body positivity activism?