Body positivity is much more than working out and dieting

By Shivani Gosai | Opinions Editor


You have most likely heard of the phrase “body positivity,” but what does it actually mean?

Body positivity is acceptance. It’s taking the idea of what a “perfect” body should look like and replacing it with the idea that all bodies are worthy of being loved and embraced. Body positivity includes deciding what is good or healthy for yourself instead of jumping onto the latest health food diet. Ultimately, body positivity is a movement created by women to promote the idea that no one deserves prejudice against their size or shape.

Recently, fitness guru Louise Thompson announced her new book titled “Body Positivity.” However the book title angered many female bloggers who claim it is simply filled with diets and workout routines.

Everyone should exercise to stay healthy; that is not the issue here. The book is problematic because Thompson is twisting words of empowerment for her own profit. Today, we can see an influx of celebrities jumping onto the body positivity trend; however they are misusing, and the movement therefore spreading misinformation that can be harmful to others. Body positivity was not created to promote diet culture.

It’s important to remember that your body will not react to a particular regimen or diet the way it does for someone else — everyone’s bodies are different.

What Thompson is essentially doing to this message is diluting and twisting it. I am sure that Thompson did not purposefully make this mistake. She was probably unaware of the true meaning behind these words.

Being body positive is not about changing your body to look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel (not that anyone, even the models themselves, look like that without retouching). Her book is encouraging slim people to be happy with their size, and teaching non-slim people how to supposedly get to society’s ideal shape. We as a society should not be preaching to others about how to take care of their bodies, but instead be working to make sure we are accepting of all people.

There are further misconceptions that body positivity is solely for plus-size women. This is not true, the movement accepts people of all gender, orientation and size. So whether you are a plus-sized man, a petite transgender person, or a disabled person, the body positivity movement is here to support you.

This movement is about accepting and loving your body, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about working on your nonphysical qualities. Body positivity can be useful in learning more about yourself and your goals.

With the announcement of this book and the recent airing of the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show, I believed it would be important to spread this message. You do not have to look like a model to be loved or supported. The people who are portrayed in media are selected to purposely make you believe what conventional beauty should look like. Internalizing those ideas of what you “should” look like is only natural, since we have been fed these ideas in magazines and movies our whole lives. Truthfully, it does not and should not matter what you look like.

Living a body positive life means embracing your true self and principles. Find acceptance within yourself . It’s important to note that loving your own body does not make you selfish.
Body positivity is about working toward a society where everyone can receive the same respect and representation, no matter their size or shape.