What does body positivity mean?
Body positivity is the declaration that everyone deserves to feel positive about their body. It’s the idea that we should celebrate all bodies, despite how society perceives the ideal appearance, size, and shape. Body positivity is a movement that encourages the acceptance of everyone’s body. The movement challenges how we view body image. There’s a focus on body acceptance and practicing self-love. The idea is to challenge unrealistic ideas surrounding the ‘perfect body’ and pushes against unfair judgments commonly made about size, race, disability, gender, and more.
The movement holds the media accountable for encouraging unrealistic beauty standards. There are many different themes to explore from health to clothing, and even food choices. Body positivity helps individuals to create a healthy relationship with their own body. To learn more, let’s take a look at a brief history of the body positivity movement.
What is the history of body positivity?
According to VeryWell Mind, ‘Body positivity has its roots in the fat acceptance movement of the late 1960s. Fat acceptance focuses on ending the culture of fat-shaming and discrimination against people based upon their size or bodyweight.’
Some people have argued that fat acceptance glorifies an unhealthy lifestyle, but that’s completely missing the point. As G-Club put it, ‘It’s important to remember that being body-positive doesn't mean romanticizing obesity or other health problems. Body positivity pushes society to recognize the existence of those bodies, which are valid.’
The term body positivity is now used to celebrate the idea of accepting your own body as it is. It’s about rejecting a culture that represses the body and fuels self criticism. It means enjoying your body, without obsessing about weight loss, aging, or ‘imperfections’.
How can we help society adapt to body positivity?
Female body positivity has come a long way, however many different types of bodies still face discrimination. To help society adapt, we need to support the body positive movement. So what can you do to show your support? Here are a few ideas:
- Educate yourself: If you want to support the movement, you’ve got to spread the word. Before you can share your knowledge, you’ve got to educate yourself. Check out books like The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor.
- Support body positive advocates: Make sure that you support female body positivity advocates, for a few places to get started check out influencers such as Jessamyn Stanley or Em Ford.
Surround yourself with positive people, who are learning to love their bodies too. Positive influences can help to motivate you. Of course, one of the best ways to support the cause is to practice body positivity yourself.
How can I practice body positivity?
There are so many ways that you can practice body positivity. For a few great starting points, check out these.
Positive affirmations are positive statements, the idea is to challenge negative thoughts, and focus on being optimistic. By reading and writing positive affirmations, you can improve your body image. Here are a few body positive affirmations from Living Pretty Happy:
‘I am at home in my body
I release my insecurities and grow more comfortable in my skin.
I am more than a number on a scale.
My body deserves love and respect.’
Many women feel like they don’t have the ‘right body’ to wear beautiful or sexy lingerie. Female body positivity seeks to challenge this notion. No matter what type of body you have, treat yourself to some new lingerie, or plus-size lingerie. Celebrate the way that your body looks and feels.
Having sex is a great way to celebrate your body and the pleasure that it can experience. Whether it’s self-exploration, or using adult novelties with your partner, expressing your sexuality is a great form of body positivity. For more ideas to practice body positivity, check out some sexual self-care apps like Emjoy.
3. Don’t compare yourself
To become body positive you’ve got to banish your negative thoughts and stop comparing yourself to others. It’s easy to compare yourself to those who you believe have a ‘better’ body than you. Instead of comparing, focus on what you love about yourself. Write down the things you love about your body. You can start small if you don’t feel that confident. Whether you love your freckles, or your new haircut, write it all down and get positive!
4. Focus on health
Instead of setting weight loss goals, focus on achieving healthy goals. You might set a goal to attend a local dance class. Or you might learn how to cook a new healthy recipe. Maybe you want to treat yourself to a new skincare product, or a smoothie maker. Focus on the amazing things your body can do. Whether it’s, ‘my body can breathe,’ ‘my body can run’, or ‘my body can see.’ Love your body for its functions rather than judging it on appearance alone. It’s about championing the idea that all bodies are beautiful, equal, and acceptable.
5. A body-positive wardrobe
If you want to celebrate your body, why not treat yourself to a body-positive wardrobe? What exactly is a body-positive wardrobe? It’s pretty simple. You buy any clothes that make you feel comfortable, happy and expressive. Choose bright colors, patterns, body-hugging dresses, anything that makes you feel good. No more worrying that you ‘don’t have the right shape’, for that dress. Wear the items you love, with confidence.
There are plenty more ways to celebrate female body positivity, so trust your instincts and get creative. It can take some time to feel more comfortable in your own skin. Don’t stress if it doesn’t happen overnight. Whether you treat yourself to some sexy lingerie or start a body-positive journal, there are plenty of ways to feel confident!