8 ways to be body positive


I want to talk about some ways to be body positive.

Edit - as of early 2017 and the way body positivity has been co-opted by thin people I don't call myself body positive any more, but fat positive. Don't believe that body positivity has been co-opted? Go through the hashtag on Instagram and you'll soon see what I mean. Fat people are constantly edged out of their own spaces.
1. Don't engage in any body snark at all - not on bodies like yours, and not on ones different to yours. If you catch yourself commenting on someone else's body in anything other than a complimentary way, bring yourself up on it, mentally or aloud. That kind of talk is poisonous, even if we're talking about ourselves. Let's spread positivity about our bodies and everyone else's instead. Let's not have young people growing up expecting to have their bodies commented on.
2. Learn to believe that everyone is beautiful in their own way. That includes YOU. If you can't see someone's beauty, look harder or longer. It might be the light in their eyes, their laugh, their kindness to others, their strength under difficulty, their intelligence, their joy, their sense of humour, or yes, their physical attributes. I have seen truly beautiful looking people who've repelled me once I've realised they're horrible people, and I've fallen madly in lust with totally unconventional beauties with beautiful souls. Beauty is everywhere, in everyone and if you can't think of a single good thing to say about someone's looks, don't say anything at all. Being body positive doesn't mean thin bashing if you're fat and fat bashing if you're thin. There are no 'Us VS Them' camps - body snark hurts all sizes of bodies. Body positivity is about seeing the variety of bodies represented in nature - all colours, sizes, shapes etc - and thinking how wonderful that is, rather than dissing and dehumanising people who look different to us.
3. To help yourself out of the negative mindset, avoid media which is obsessed with controlling the size of women's bodies and the idea of a narrow version of 'perfection'. Perfection is an illusion cynically designed to make us desperately unhappy with ourselves so we spend, spend, spend on anti-ageing products, diet products, clothes, make up, plastic surgery, etc. Reject it. Give up magazines which are obsessed with the culture of 'perfection'. Give up gossip columns and magazines which base a woman's worth on the size of her body.
4. Know that there is no 'them' and 'us'. ALL WOMEN are damaged by the ridiculous standards of beauty we're held up to, and what is covetable changes with the decades. Post war, curvaceous bodies were held up as the ideal, and in the 90s it was Kate Moss' 'heroin chic'. There is no wrong way to have a body, no matter what the trend is at any given time.

5. Know the obsession with the size of women's bodies is a vehicle to take away our power, as unhappy women are not strong and powerful. All the while a woman is obsessed with 'perfecting' her body, she is kept from many other worthwhile things she could and should be doing with her life. Diet culture is absolutely a form of control. It's misogynistic bollocks as most men aren't held to the same exacting standards as women are.
6. Don't moralise food choices. Someone who eats pizza isn't 'bad' because pizza is 'bad', and someone who eats bean sprouts and tofu isn't 'good' because those are 'good' foods. Some foods are nutritionally dense and some are not, but there are no good or bad foods, and judging people on their food choices or YOUR ASSUMPTION OF WHAT THEY EAT is wrong.
7. Don't moralise exercise, and how much exercise you think people do or don't do. Not everyone can exercise like you do, and even if they did they might get different results, so don't assume it's easy to get someone else's body to look like yours. And don't forget some people can do little or even no exercise due to disability, injury or illness.
8. Know that no one looks like the people you see in the magazines - not even the actual people in the magazines. Limbs are slimmed and lengthened, boobs are made bigger, skin is made more luminous, wrinkles and spots are erased, skin is lightened in people of colour (this ENRAGES me) and so many other things. You have to know you are basing your self esteem on comparisons to these airbrushed not-quite-people. That hard time you're giving yourself is based on a LIE. Please don't beat yourself up for not looking like someone in a magazine.

What are your tips on being body positive?

Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo

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