The Body Positive movement has been trending across social media for a while now, gaining popularity by brands like Aerie, Dove, and Old Navy.
What exactly is the Body Positive movement?
The Body Positive Movement is a social movement that focuses on encouraging people (male & female) to adopt a more forgiving and affirming attitude towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being. In addition, this movement is focusing on breaking societal norms by challenging the beauty industries opinion of beauty.
Sounds like a great thing for our society, huh?
However, for some folks, it is raising the question;
Is this a self-esteem movement or obesity encouragement?
Lisa Kaplin argues that we are both hurting ourselves (and our children) by focusing on body image, positive or not. She goes on to state that whether your fat or thin, the focus is always on how you look. You can read the rest of her article here. That being said, I think she holds a valid point; is looking in the mirror and liking what you see enough?
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2014, 70.7 percent of adults 20 years old and over were considered either overweight or obese. By encouraging women to embrace their bodies and love themselves for who they are, aren't we encouraging obesity? This is a common discussion held by medical professionals.
These are common misconceptions of what the body positive movement truly is.
The idea that body positivity serves as an excuse to take part in poor health behaviors is an incorrect interpretation of the movement’s mission.
“Body positivity is not saying it’s an excuse to be fat or unhealthy, but it’s a way of saying we don’t need to put each other down and we don’t need to put ourselves down,” said Dr. Christopher Leeth, licensed professional counselor, assistant director of counseling at the University of the Incarnate Word and lecturer at University of Texas at San Antonio.
By empowering both women and men to love how they look and who they are, we are not only encouraging self-love and boosting esteem but when a person loves themselves, they are more apt to take care of themselves. It has been said for years, ‘no one looks like the girls in the magazine”. If no one looks like that, why is that still the standard of beauty? This movement is causing the world to shift its view toward what real people look like- i.e. no thigh gaps & stretch marks.
If you still don’t quite get it, check out this video.
Becoming a Body Positive man or woman is not an easy road, but damn does it feel great! It is a journey, and you have to take it one day at a time.
If you're interested in learning more, you can meet (& follow!) eight of the leading Body Positive activist here!
"Loving yourself is the greatest revolution"