Monday, 25 May 2015

A Rant about Body Positivity

Starting this blog has been one of the most rewarding challenges that I’ve ever pushed myself to complete; however, it has opened my eyes to the unfortunate amount of body shaming, as well as blatant disregard of human feelings, that can come as a result of standing up and saying “hey, I’m okay with the way I look”. Take, for example, the #effyourbeautystandards movement – this positive reaffirmation of our need to love our bodies, despite what standards exist out there, has been misconstrued and reused as a way to fat shame. The opposite is also true when we look at the comments under pictures of women reposted by Instagram pages such as @plusmodelmag. Our own comrades in the fight for plus size recognition openly degrade these images stating that “they are pretty and all but I don’t think she really counts as plus size” simply because they appear to look “smaller” than a socially constructed image of what plus size should be. 

It is so ironic that I am unsure whether to laugh out loud or cry uncontrollably.

Nowhere is it stated that a requirement of being body positive is being plus size, just as being plus size does not automatically make someone body positive. Body positivity is a mind state that transcends size, race, gender and pretty much any other barrier. It is the belief that we are all beautiful in the body we are currently in, as well as the acknowledgement that our body may change as we journey through life. It is the collective understanding that each of us was created using a different mold and that our outward appearance should no more define who we are at the core as our height or favorite ice cream flavour does.

I’m fed up of the judgmental, insensitive and tactless attacks that take away from the true nature of the body positive movements. Body positivity is not a right reserved for a certain few – it should be defined as a communal world view that celebrates people in general, flaws and all.  I applaud men and women who love their bodies and are proud of their flaws, whether they are a size 0 or a size 32. I applaud men and women who have decided they want to work at changing their bodies through adopting a healthier lifestyle or plastic surgery because they have enough insight to know that their decision is what will make them happy and comfortable in their own skin. I applaud men and women who have survived eating disorders and are working to gain weight because that is the path they have chosen to attain happiness in this lifetime.

Who are we to judge others based on something as meaningless as size? I do not reserve my applause for anyone purely on the basis of how they look – my applause is intentionally blind and seeks only to celebrate those who are willing to celebrate themselves while inspiring others to do the same.

It is time to end this backwards way of thinking about body positivity. It is not a realm in which only plus size women can inhabit nor is it a space in which negativity can be forced in. Being body positive simply means appreciating the body that you are in, sending positive and reassuring vibes to those who are equally as able to appreciate their own bodies, all while helping to create a safe, inviting environment where others, who may not be quite there yet, can learn to love themselves. 

Love & Light