About a year ago, a body-positive tweet I posted went viral. I'd tweeted similar things in the past, and never had any inclination that it could amass such a large response. After being retweeted and favorited over 100,000 times apiece, I have learned a few things.
Comparison photos taken a little over 1 year later.
1. Body shaming comes from both males and females
The tweets I used specifically in my post were all from women to make a point that women body-shame women too. A lot of the responses I got were, "see, men aren't the problem!" It is important to note that males aren't exempt just because 12 tweets weren't from men, and there are plenty of negative tweets from men.
2. Complimenting one body type by insulting another body type is not a compliment
I got so many comments saying that "men don't like skin and bones" and "this is so much better than skinny women" and things of that nature. If the only way you can celebrate one body type is to bash another one, then maybe just keep your mouth shut.
3. People on the internet can be terrifying
Being a woman on the internet is hard in any facet, but I've learned that being a woman who went viral for scantily clad photos is terrifying. I have had people get blocked and make 10 different accounts, been sent disgusting photos and had a man make a collage of photos of me for things I did not want to know about. Being a body positive woman on the internet opens you up to some very creepy things, but do your best to block them and move on.
4. Every body is absolutely beautiful
I had so many men and women tweeting photos of me, telling me they felt confident to wear something because of my post. The craziness of that aside, I have seen so many different bodies looking so beautiful in their own way. Never believe that only one type of body can be attractive.
5. You can love your body and actively work to change it
I still workout 5+ times a week. I still have a goal weight much lower than my current weight and goals that I'm not even close to. Wanting to make progress in your body does not mean you don't love it the way that it is. Don't feel like to be body positive you have to remain stagnant.
6. Weight does not equal body type
I've been told countless times, "you don't look like you weigh over 200 pounds!" That was kind of the point of the tweet, to show that 200 pounds might not look like what you expect it to look like. 200 pounds will look different on someone like me who is almost 6'0", and someone who is 6 inches shorter than me. 200 pounds will look different on an athlete and someone of the same height who doesn't exercise. "200+ pounds" is not a body type.
7. Weight is truly just a number
You can want to weigh less, but the goal, (at least for me), always comes down to looking and feeling better. I weigh more than I did in high school now and I consider myself so much happier and more confident than I was back then. Your goal weight is a fine goal to strive for, but you might be less disappointed and more successful if you strive for happiness instead.
8. You're still going to struggle
You aren't "not body-positive" or a poser for saying you love your body and still struggling with it. I continue to struggle eating well and I still am not the biggest fan of my stomach. It isn't how you feel, its how you act on it. It is important to keep right on loving your body, even if you don't like it sometimes.
9. Angles, lighting, and poses make a difference
It is crazy how much your body can change based on how you stand, how the photo is taken and how it is lit. I'll provide some examples, but the bottom line is... Don't get discouraged because you look bad in a photo! There's so much that goes into it, and it more than likely isn't you.
These photos were taken within 30 minutes of each other, and the pose I'm doing completely changes the way that I look.
The lighting in these two photos has a large effect on the way that I look. On the right, the lighting is more harsh ad it brings out the flaws in my stomach as well as my legs, where the lighting in the left photo covers them up.
These photos were taken in the same night, and the angle of the photograph, as well as the lighting, completely warp the way my body looks.
10. For all the negativity out there, there's ten times the positivity
For every hateful comment I received, I got 10 positive ones. I know it is easier to get caught up on the negativity and the shaming, but know that those nasty people are in the vast minority. It is important to remind yourself that there are people out there who think you are beautiful, and I hope you are one of them.