Updated March 2023
Body Positivity In Our Society
We live in a society that claims to be “body positive’, but doesn’t accept all types of people. I always hear “every person is unique” and I get that. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t celebrated. I don’t mean that we should all get participation trophies or be praised for anything we do, but everyone deserves to be comfortable and welcome without exception. It’s true that we are all unique. We are different shapes, sizes, and colors, but we should feel the same – confident and comfortable.
I was taught to be “body positive”. What does that even mean? Why do other peoples bodies concern me? That’s just it. Other peoples bodies don’t concern me, and my body doesn’t concern anyone else. Is that body positivity? Not really. It definitely isn’t my place to tell anyone else what to do with their body. Different things empower different people. I don’t think to be body-positive means that you can’t make observations about other people’s appearance, but I believe they do need to be empowering.
I know that the celebration and representation of all people can be directly related to self-confidence, so why isn’t diverse representation more common? It’s because we, as a society, have become used to a particular image being showcased. Some people cannot see themselves in this image, so they begin to feel inferior. Most people’s first reaction is to be judgemental. I’ll admit it. Sometimes I see someone and think. What are they wearing? but then I remember they can wear whatever works for them. It doesn’t matter what I think. If I don’t like it, then I won’t wear it. We have to train ourselves not to be critical of others because we are constantly reminded of something that doesn’t really exist. The “ideal body” cannot be captured in one image. Everyone has a different body, and that is enough, we shouldn’t accept or strive for one type of body.
On the other hand, we are too harsh on ourselves. I am. You are. We are all hypocrites. We tell others they should be confident, and turn around to belittle ourselves. At the same time, we get dressed, stand in front of the mirror, and pick ourselves apart. This would look better if my stomach was flat…or if my thighs were smaller, I’d be happy. The truth is, I’ll never be 100% satisfied with my appearance, and that’s normal. It’s important to remember that body positivity is for everyone – including ourselves.
I decided to write about how contradictory our society is when it comes to body image, because of a song I love. “Body” by Julia Michaels begins with an apology that we should all take notes on. She is apologizing to herself. She knows that she makes herself lose confidence and feel insecure. She knows that she shouldn’t treat herself like that, but she still does. All she wants is to love her body like she loves others’ and they love hers. Why are we like that? Why can we see the beauty in others, and others can see it in us, but we can’t see it in ourselves?
Personal Relationship With Body Positivity
My relationship with my body is constantly changing. My entire childhood I was a gymnast. I was short, strong, and could never find jeans that fit. Around the age of 11, I got taller. I was thinner, and the strongest I had ever been. Still, I hated my body. Then came an injury that ended gymnastics forever. For the rest of middle school, I was getting zero exercises and eating terribly. I was depressed. I hated myself, and I hated my body even more. The little bit of confidence I had was gone. I wouldn’t even look anyone in the eye.
Then high school started, and I was more comfortable with myself. I was adapting well. I was doing everything I wanted to – succeed academically and socially. Spring semester of my 9th-grade year, I got sick. I lost my appetite almost immediately, I was on a lot of medications, and the doctors were running dozens of tests that were not providing any answers. Nothing. I was also participating in swim team, so I was burning lots of calories and not eating any. Obviously, this resulted in rapid weight loss( almost 45 pounds in a few weeks). The sad part is I liked how I looked. I felt confident. Friends told me “Wow! You look great! Have you lost weight?” Yes, I did lose weight, but I was so unhealthy. I was ill. The time I felt most confident was when I was thin from illness…how twisted is that?
Remember that how you feel is always more important than how you look.
We should live in an environment where every shape and size is not only welcomed but celebrated. It isn’t difficult to be kind to those around us and ourselves. We all need to stop trying to fix what we see and focus on how we make each other, and ourselves, feel.
Want to read more about body positivity and self-love? Check it out here and here!