[Body neutrality is the idea of accepting your body as it is in its current state. Unlike the body positivity movement, it does not need to involve self-love talk or mantras about your body.]
We’ve all heard, and been bombarded with the body positivity movement. Being told left and right by celebrities that we need to love our bodies, cherish our bodies and be confident in our own skin because we are beautiful and unique!
While that is all nice and dandy, it seems like no one talks about how easy it is to “love and cherish your body, and not change a single thing” when you were born INTO the beauty standard. Like if you’re a size small / medium, with petite features and just are objectively good looking, you ARE the patriarchal beauty standard that we all subscribe to.
No hate to those that are, I would say I fall into that category as well. It’s not really something we can help, but I think there needs to be more self awareness around this movement.
I’m starting to see it all over TikTok.
I’m on “FatTok” which yes, is actually a thing. It’s a very niche part of the app that includes fat influencers encouraging people to stop equating the word “fat” with the word “bad”, and the word “skinny” with “good.” These two sets of words are not interchangeable and it’s important we recognize that.
I understand there were kind and wonderful intentions when the body positivity movement came about, of course there were. But it’s simply not fair to those who don’t naturally fit into the rigid, narrow beauty standard of today. It’s not that easy for fat people to just “love themselves” when every single thing in society is quite literally made for thin, skinny people.
I don’t think people truly understand how deep the societal hatred of fat people runs throughout our infrastructure.
It’s really easy to attack other women for succumbing to, or promoting the toxic beauty standard we are all unfortunately held to, when you belong to the beauty standard.
I’m tired of celebrities who are stick-thin, starting these campaigns telling young girls to just look in the mirror and “love yourself everyday!” because it's simply not that easy.
For me, I know there will never be a day in my life where I wake up, go to look at myself in the mirror and say, “I love my stomach, I love every inch of my body because it's perfect and it does what it’s supposed to!”
If I'm being honest, here’s what I DO think when I look in the mirror: I wish I didn’t look like pillsbury doughboy. I wish my stomach was less squishy and I hate my belly button, I wish my butt was bigger.
And that’s okay for me to think!
But you know what I also say? I say I love my legs, I love my chest, my clear skin and my green eyes.
Here’s a truth I don’t think many people are willing to accept: it’s not human to love every inch of your body, and we need to stop telling girls that they need to love everything about themselves because it’s just not realistic. What everyone should practice is accepting themselves.
Some ways to practice body neutrality are:
Taking “body” out of the conversation. Don't comment on people’s appearance, steer conversation away from weight, size or discontent with one’s body. Talk about how people feel rather than how they look.
Listen to your body. This is where intuitive eating comes in. Eat the foods you want to eat because you’re craving them, or because they make you feel good, not because you “have” to. And don’t berate yourself for eating ice cream or sweets. We’re all human.
Acknowledging and reframing body hating thoughts. When you notice yourself criticising your body, ask yourself what it’s doing for you at the moment. If it’s something you wouldn't say to your friend, you probably shouldn’t be saying it about yourself.
As a 23 year old, I feel like I’ve grown so much from hating myself and being ashamed when I look in the mirror or wear certain clothes. Now I simply just accept everything about myself. I accept things I want to change, I accept the things that I will never be able to change, and I LOVE the things that I love.
I encourage you to be more mindful of how you think of yourself.
Be kind and gentle to yourself.
I’m working on it, too!