Body positivity is a social movement that advocates for the
acceptance of all body types and sizes as a means of achieving emotional
What Exactly Is Body Positivity?
Body positivity (or body acceptance) is a social movement
that advocates for people to accept and celebrate their physical appearance and
abilities, as well as to deconstruct beauty standards as dangerous societal
constructs. In recent years, the movement has become especially active on
social media sites, with a number of hashtags and plus-size model
representation. The body positivity movement is part of the larger fat activism
and fat rights movement.
Brief History of Body Positivity
Since the mid-twentieth century, the body-positive movement
has gone through three waves:
1960s: The first wave of body positivity emerged in the
1960s. The fat acceptance movement of the 1960s brought to light mental health
issues surrounding beauty and weight loss, such as the toxicity of media beauty
standards and societal body shame, the dangers of diet culture, and the
prevalence of negative body images and eating disorders, particularly among
young women and adolescents.
1990s: The second wave of the body positivity movement
emerged in the 1990s, with a focus on exercise inclusivity. Proponents of the
movement emphasized exercise for all body sizes and shapes, with the goal of
creating safe, inclusive spaces where people of all body types could exercise
comfortably without being judged for their weight or size.
Modern day: The body positivity movement evolved again in
the 2010s in response to the influence of social media and edited photos. The
movement now emphasizes body functionality, self-esteem, and loving your body
despite perceived flaws.
Benefits of Body Positivity
The body positivity movement has several advantages,
including the following:
focuses on beauty standards as a social construct: The body
positivity movement seeks to educate people about how modern beauty standards
are based on cultural expectations rather than objective truths about bodies
and appearance. This helps to dispel the notion that your body falls short of
the ideal or that it needs to look different to be beautiful.
Encourages self-acceptance and self-love: Body positivity,
at its core, means self-love, and it can assist many people in achieving a
positive body imageâ€”feeling more at peace with themselves and more in harmony
with their body, appreciating it for its unique characteristics.
Identifies unachievable standards and objectives: The media
often promotes unrealistic beauty standards that can only be met with expensive
procedures or digital photo editing. In order to decrease body dissatisfaction,
the body positivity movement seeks to expose these standards as impractical and
emphasize realistic bodies.
Body positivity criticism
The body positivity movement has come under fire for several
reasons, including the following:
It may encourage people to disregard their physical health:
Extreme body positivity, according to some, can enable people to disregard
medical advice and lifestyle recommendations, encouraging decisions that pose a
risk to their health.
Promotes the value of appearance: The body positive movement
continues to promote the importance of appearance and body image as a crucial
aspect of one's worth, encouraging people to upload pictures of themselves to
social media or to view their physical characteristics as a route to
self-acceptance and self-confidence. Some activists disagree with this strategy
and advocate a body-liberation or body-neutrality version of self-love, which
places more emphasis on internal characteristics than external ones.
Overemphasizes positive emotions: Occasional negative
emotions are a normal aspect of life and motivate us to make positive changes
in our circumstances, our surroundings, and ourselves. According to some
researchers, body positivity overemphasizes positivity at the expense of
crucial self-authenticity and the desire for positive, attainable change in
both our own selves and the social system of beauty.
Sometimes ignores intersectionality: occasionally disregards
intersectionality In their messaging, the body positivity movement frequently
features white women, underrepresenting people of color, people of other
ethnicities, men, nonbinary people, and other groups.
How to Develop a Positive Body Image
You can use the following methods to feel more adoration for
your own body:
Recognize and value your physical prowess. Your body serves
a variety of daily tasks and is much more complex than it may initially appear
to be. To keep in mind your body's impressive qualities, celebrate all of its capabilities,
from breathing to movement to smell.
Add self-care to your daily routine. Self-care techniques
for your body and mind can help you refocus and remember to value your body as
it is. To emphasize the respect your body deserves, think about incorporating a
calming, mindful activity into your regular scheduleâ€”whether that's a bath, a
meditation practice, a favorite dish, or a run.
Be aware of unattainable body standards. Users may be
bombarded by unrealistic images of ideal bodies on social media. When you see
images like these, pause and acknowledge that they are unreal. To prevent
instilling unrealistic beauty standards in your mind, think about cutting back
on these images in your daily life.