Welcome once again to Back to Basics! In these posts, we break down feminist concepts for readers curious about feminist vocabulary, concepts, and ideas! Today’s question is….
“What is body positivity?”
Body positivity is a movement and a set of ideas based around body acceptance and challenging social norms of thinness as beauty. It challenges diet culture and the thin ideal with radical body acceptance and practicing intuitive eating. We as a society have been policing fat bodies and shaming fat people, and body positivity is a response to diet culture, limited sizing, and discrimination based on size.
“So what does it mean to be body positive, like for me and my body?”
It’s different for everyone, but the basics of the practice are…
1. Practice appreciating all your body does for you instead of evaluating it on aesthetics
2. Do what feels good for your body, not what others tell you to do. This doesn’t mean eat sweets 24/7 because it feels good, it means listen to the cues from yourself to eat when you’re hungry, take naps when you’re tired, and exercise when you can.
3. De-center your body from your self image and self worth, and cast off magazines, billboards, and other media that would tell you to become thinner to conform to a beauty standard.
“Isn’t body positivity unrealistic? I mean, bodies can’t be healthy at any size.”
It is literally impossible to know someone’s health by just their body. Body positivity is a response to fatphobia and policing bodies based on their size and beauty standards. The whole idea of body positivity is to not judge yourself, or others based on looks and size. So, if someone is very large or very small, it’s not anyone’s societal duty to shame them. Making inferences about people’s health and shaming them to eat less, or exercise more is not helpful or healthy.
We should all practice body positivity, regardless of your gender, age, or size. Some people feel like “body neutrality” or “body acceptance” is a more suitable name for the movement, but all three terms describe roughly the same ideas. Wanna learn more about body positivity? Click here. And, if you want to learn more about basic feminist topics, check out our post on the myth of “man-hating feminists” or intersectional feminism!