Izzy Harris discusses what the Body Positivity Movement is and gives tips on how to be more body positive.
Body positivity is a relatively new genre you may have seen floating around Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Recently there has been an influx of bloggers discussing ‘self love’ and ‘self acceptance’ whilst talking about rejecting beauty standards and accepting the body you have now. But,what is actually the Body Positivity Movement?
The movement was essentially born and raised on social media, with influencers and individuals using platforms like Instagram to voice concerns about the pressures of diet culture and to challenge fashion standards of beauty. All over the world, people of every weight, shape, size, race, gender, religion and physical ability started sharing pictures of themselves and messages that promoted the embracement of all bodies, not just the conventionally attractive models we see in Calvin Klein adverts and on catwalks. The movement is grounded on the concept that everyone should feel comfortable in their bodies regardless of any comparison. Body Positivity Bloggers promote the idea that we all have flaws in our physical appearance, but we can still love our bodies despite the media and the diet industries telling us that these flaws need to be ‘fixed’ in order to feel valid and worthy as an individual. The main aim of the movement is for everyone to realise that true beauty comes from within, and your self-worth should not be defined by how you look, but rather by your character, talents, values and kindness.
In an age where eating disorder rates are sky high, and girls as young as seven feel that they need to alter their physical appearance in order to feel happy, the Body Positivity Movement is needed now more than ever. We live in a world where we are bombarded with images of famous people on social media every time we log on, so it’s no surprise that many individuals think they’re not attractive because they don’t look like the people who are worshipped on social media.
Accepting your body, its flaws and its power is an important ability for every single person regardless of your gender, age, race or size. The more time we spend worrying about our physical appearance and comparing ourselves to others, the less time we can spend doing the things we love, concentrating on work, helping others and enjoying life.
Loving your body and embracing your imperfections, however, can be easier said than done.
So here are a few starter tips on how to be more Body Positive.
- Start following Body Positive accounts on social media. Just by typing ‘Body Positivity’ or ‘Self Love’ into the search bar on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you’ll find a whole host of accounts that post daily messages and photos on how to accept your body and how to live in the moment. We spend so much time on social media, we may as well follow people who inspire us and make us feel good about ourselves, rather than make us feel insecure.
- Realise that you are not defined by how you appear to others. Your body is only a small part of the impression you give to other people. You are defined by the things you do, the message you put out to the world, your sense of humour, your taste in music, your life goals and your attitude to other people. The sooner you start recognising these qualities in yourself, the sooner you will prioritise living your best life over analysing and altering your appearance.
- Stop judging other people by the way they look. Standards we set for other people often are transferred to us too. We need to stop criticising and insulting people because of their weight, skin colour, height or anything to do with appearance. There is no wrong way to have a body. We would all be so much happier if we lived in a world where we didn’t feel pressure to look like someone else, but we can only start building that world if we stop judging others based on their looks.
- Everyday, look in the mirror and choose three things that you like about the way you look. Start seeing features of your body that you are proud of, like your eyes, hair colour, freckles or smile wrinkles. Often people think that it’s vain to appreciate our appearance or to admit that you like certain physical features of yours. They couldn’t be more wrong. Seeing your body as something you like is the first step towards Body Positivity. It makes my day to hear someone say that the think they look great in their new jeans, or when I see someone upload a selfie in which they look happy to be in their own skin. Start recognising the features that you like and soon you’ll be feeling more confident in your own body.
- Make the disconnect from numbers and body image. We’re told that body image is about numbers; calories, clothing size, weight when these units of measurement were originally designed to have a practical purpose, not for us to use to define ourselves by them. I used to be terrified of going up a dress size, eating too many calories or seeing the numbers on the scale increase, until I started to realise that I was so much more than a few numbers. Don’t let numbers affect how you see yourself because beauty isn’t a number.
These are only a few ways to start embracing Body Positivity. However, the movement thrives online and you are just one search away from a wealth of information, advice and inspiration that will help you realise that you are the only one to define what beauty is, not the other way around. Be part of the movement and realise that you are your own version of beautiful.