What is Body Positivity?

“Body Positivity is a radical redefinition and reclamation of the body. It arose in response to a Western culture that recognizes only white, able-bodied, heterosexual, and thin bodies as ‘worthy’ and ‘beautiful’.” 

       -Caitlin of The Ellipses Project

 

Why is body positivity important?

    Body positivity tackles many crucial problems in our community, including but not limited to: mental disease, drug abuse, racism, prejudice, homophobia, classism, sexism, transphobia, and low self-esteem. The University of Washington concluded after a study that self-esteem (a large component of body positivity) can be solidified as early as age 5. Self-esteem has been proven to affect every aspect of life and those with low self-esteem tend to make less in wages, have tumultuous relationships, and project their hatred on themselves and others. By promoting body positivity within ourselves and our community, we learn to tolerate and respect other people’s decisions, way of life, and physical appearance. All Bodies are Good Bodies; no one body can be "bad". We are all made  differently and we should celebrate that!

 

So, is it simply about loving yourself?

    Though that is important, body positivity runs much deeper than that. It is all about loving and respecting yourself as well as respecting and tolerating those different from you. Too often we are programmed by others and the media to believe that there is only one form of beauty or way of life. Body positivity confronts these notions and reinforces healthier ways of living not only to benefit ones self, but for everyone. You cannot be body positive if you do not apply these notions to everyone around you! Remember, there is no wrong way to have a body. 

 

Wait, so do I have to love everyone or find everyone attractive?

    Not necessarily. Love whom you choose to love, but respect and tolerate those different from yourself. You do not have to find everyone attractive or appealing but you should be tolerant of others.  You CANNOT be a body positive activist if you are disrespectful, discouraging, or degrading towards others. There is a difference between having a preference and being disrespectful. Having a preference is cool but Body Shaming is not. 

What is Body Shaming? 

Shaming someone for their body type & the act of discriminating against other body types. 

Example: 

 “Ew he's too skinny”

“She's soooo fat it’s disgusting”

 “She has small boobs and no butt, you know I love Thick girls”

“He's so short, how does he even have a girlfriend?”

"She's got a pretty face for a Big girl"

"She has nappy hair" 

"You would be so pretty if you did __ "

"Maybe you should eat a salad instead, you could stand to lose a few"