Back to Basics #3: Body Posi Club! Starting Now, Ending Never!

By: Sierra Voorhies

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!

Gym Etiquette for Feminists

by Matiara Huff

If you don’t know basic gym rules, click here. These are the rules for a feminist at the gym.

1. Don’t let anyone stand over you.

I have mostly only seen women face this problem, but it happens to men as well. If someone decides that is okay to stand over you or stare at you while you use any equipment, tell them to FUCK OFF! It is rude and creepy. Don’t let anyone ruin your workout, because if you stop your workout early because some jerk made you uncomfortable you are only hurting yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable yelling at them, its okay to go get a staff member to handle it or to just purposely take longer.

2. Wear whatever the fuck you want.People always want to try to control what women wear at the gym, claim that it’s “too distracting”. The truth is, you can we

ar whatever you feel comfortable working out in. Remember that you are at the gym to better yourself not anyone else.

3. Only interfere if it gets dangerous.

At this time of year, there are always people that are new to the equipment. They will probably struggle a little and for the most part its best to ignore them, because no one wants to look up and see someone watching them struggle. It’s embarrassing. The only exception to that is if you see someone doing something dangerously wrong.

gyn4. Check your insecurities at the door.

I know that this one may seem kind of harsh, but the thing is, EVERYONE at the gym is insecure. Many people are there to focus on fix there insecurities, so don’t let yours affect your workout.

5. Put your headphones in if you don’t want to be bothered.

Headphones will forever mean “don’t mess with me!” use that to your advantage if you need to!

6. You deserve your space.

This kind of goes back the first rule. Basically, all I am trying to say is don’t let yourself think that you are any less entitled to the equipment than anyone else. You are allowed to use that equipment for as long as you need, and you are allowed to take up as much space as you need. We all get in our own heads sometime, so this is just your reminder that you don’t have to modify your workout to accommodate others.

7. It’s okay to work out alone.

Working out alone can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you are just starting to work out, or you don’t know the gym very well. Just remember that everyone there is doing the same thing you are.