The Body Positivity Movement Leaves Those Who Need It The Most In The Dust

The Body Positivity Movement Leaves Those Who Need It The Most In The Dust

Activism can never be truly powerful or significant unless it's accessible and applicable to everyone.
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I've been thinking a lot about body-image and the various trends that aim to improve body image, specifically that of young girls.

And I started to wonder: why is it that present-day body positive feminist trends seem to rediscover parts of the female body as if we never knew they existed?

Seriously, it seems that every day the internet discovers something “new” about women’s bodies that have, indeed, been there since the dawn of time. Like suddenly, someone woke up and looked at their hips and went, "Oh my god, there's a gap there!"

Body hair, stretch marks -- you name it! Aspects of the female body that used to be considered unattractive, or at least not ideal, suddenly become symbols of pride, strength. Even power.

The people who start these trends aim to reveal the truth that these qualities on a woman are not inherently unattractive, but simply natural, and should be treated as such. "Real women have stretch marks ––real women have curves–– real women don't shave." These ideas are often presented as feminist but they serve only to exclude many women from this depiction of "realness." If you remove your stretch marks or try to get rid of them, or shave your legs, you're weak for falling into the "traps" of a patriarchal society aimed at destroying women's self-esteem.

Well, I take issue with these "trendy" rediscoveries of the natural female body. Not only do I feel that they exclude women who do not have them as not "real," but they are only seen as attractive on women who already fall into otherwise conventionally attractive body types.

See: thin. And most of the time, white.

I noticed this trend and decided to test it on good old Google Images. I started with body hair.

I looked up "woman with body hair" and found an array of smiling thin girls with nose rings showing off their multi-colored underarm hair. These girls are "cool" for growing their body hair out because they're otherwise "pretty" and do trendy things like dye their armpit hair and get nose rings. It's a trend for them. Also, they're almost all white.

Then I looked up "black woman with body hair" and was pleased to find a few pictures of gorgeous black women showing off their underarm hair, although of course, they were thin. I was upset to find, however, that most of the photos on the page are of black women showing off their head-hair clearly styled with relaxers, weaves, or other unnatural methods aimed at erasing their blackness -- which is another problem altogether, which is worlds more messed up and complicated than the subject of this article. It makes sense that black women would feel less inclined than their white peers to show off their body hair -- they aren't even encouraged to show off their natural head-hair!

Finally, I looked up "fat woman with body hair." And found: nothing. Well, not nothing exactly: I found a lot of photos of beautiful fat woman. But none of them had any body hair. The trend of showing off the underarms just doesn't extend to fat girls yet. As for reasoning? It'd be nice to sit around and try to figure this out from an academic standpoint, but let's be real: everyone would assume a fat girl with body hair was just too lazy to shave, just like we assume her size is due to laziness.

It worked the same way when I searched stretch marks, –– mostly thin and mostly white. Although I do have to say that much more black women showed up when I searched for them specifically, and larger women as well. My only issue is that, when you look up black woman with stretch marks, it's almost always in black and white, whereas white women with stretch marks are typically depicted in color. I don't know if this is because of dislike of black skin tones, or just because darker skin looks super metallic and shiny in black and white (which it totally does!). The black and white tone also diminishes the appearance of the stretch marks, though, which is a little counteractive in my opinion.

Obviously, if you look up "fat woman with stretch marks," you'll get results, since stretch marks have always been a main target of fat shamers. But still, I was disappointed that most of the images were, again, of skinny girls. The post is about stretch marks! Yes, people at any size can have stretch marks, but it's women who have had children and gained weight that have been historically shamed for them! All of the images of women showing off their stretch marks in confident poses are of thin women. They've basically become a symbol of pride for women who are thin to reclaim that one "unattractive" part of their bodies. For women who are already fat to begin with? Try as we might, I think they'll always be a source of shame.

The latest trend that really irks me is "hip-dips," which became popular on Fitness Instagrams over the summer. Hip dips are when there is an inward gap between where your legs (hips) and torso (pelvis) meet. Here is a picture of hip dips:


These hip dips ––the ones on thin, fit people–– are archetypal of what was displayed all over Instragram this summer. Hip dips created by belly fat, however, were never glorified or even acknowledged. Seriously, I can't even find any pictures of women with hip dips from belly fat. And I know they exist, because I have had them before!


Body positivity movements really serve to make people who have mostly conventionally attractive bodies to feel even better about themselves. The people whose bodies are actually targeted by shame are usually left on the sidelines.

And I'm sorry, but I don't buy the sudden "self-love" of body parts that have been the same way forever. It’s like these people sit around looking at their hips, and then all of a sudden realize, to their own amazement, that there is a large crevice there.

There’s been a space on my hips for years. I never hated it. Now all of a sudden it’s sexy? I just don’t get it. Maybe I've just never been taught to love it. Or maybe, hip dips aren't really the part of the body that people are most ashamed of, and they're being glorified because they skirt around the real issue. Or maybe it's the fact that none of the hip-dips people are so in love with look anything like mine.

Activism can never be truly powerful or significant unless it's accessible and applicable to everyone. Give me real women. And by real women, I mean women of all shapes and sizes.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram | @thesassytruth_

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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You Are Enough, And 14 Other Reminders Every Woman Needs To Hear

It's fine, up until it isn't.

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You may not really notice it the first time it happens. You're just minding your business, living your life, and suddenly it happens. Self-doubt rears its beastly head, wraps its palms delicately around you and squeezes.

It's nothing that is out of the ordinary. Just the result of looking in the mirror a little too hard, and tallying your imperfections. It's a pinch at first, just a little bit of discomfort really. So you go about the day, medicating this minor pain with the application of lipstick, and the put on of a fake smile that says, "It's ok, I'm fine, this is fine." And it is, up until it isn't.

Self-doubt notices its effect is ebbing, and it strikes again. This time it bites a little harder, taking pieces of your confidence, your sense of self-assurance. This time it attacks your confidence in your abilities, whispering softly "You can't do that". So you resign yourself to the belief that somehow you're lacking. That you're the problem. And Self-doubt smiles because he's done his job. He has crept into your soul, uninvited but not unnoticed, and set up camp. And worse yet, he plans to stay.

So what do you do? In that moment what do you tell yourself? Here are 12 reminders that every woman needs on those days that she feels unworthy. (Hint: you aren't.) Read them, repeat them, and believe them.

1. You are enough

Never let someone tell you different.

2. The heart knows what the mirror does not

You are worth so much more than what you see in the mirror.

3. You are flawed...and that is OK

Everyone has flaws. But there is beauty in your flaws. You just have to be willing to see it.

4. It's a bad day, not a bad life

You have to have bad days in order to be able to enjoy the good days.

5. Life isn't obligated to go the way you planned. Learn to adapt

"A tree that is unbending is easily broken." Don't be that tree.

6. You are the author of your own story. Write whatever ending you want

Make your story a good one.

7. It's OK to not be OK

You may not be OK now, but one day you will be.

8. You are unstoppable

Never forget it.

9. Your past travels do not determine your future journey

Always keep moving forawrd.

10. Your heart will break occasionally. Don't worry, it's designed to be put back together again

You can handle more than you think.

11. Be the girl boss you already know you are

There is nothing wrong with being bossy. It just means you were born a leader.

12. You are loved

Whether you believe it or not, you are.

13. Do not measure your self worth by the opinions of others

Stop comparing yourself to those around you. You are not them. They are not you.

14. You are capable of way more than you think

You are amazing. Never forget that.

15. You are You. And that is all you need to be

You are perfect the way you are.

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