Body positivity. It's a topic we hear about frequently nowadays; we should love our own bodies and leave the bodies of everyone around us alone. The body positivity movement attempts to destroy the harsh standards of beauty that women have been subjected to for centuries. It serves to remind us that we don't have to be tall, white, able-bodied, and thin. We can just be ourselves, and be happy.
I love this new era of body positivity. It makes me so happy to see girls sharing photos of themselves on Twitter and Instagram, reveling in their own magnificence. I know that it takes courage to rise above the voices that have been telling women how their bodies should and should not look since the dawn of time. And while I enjoy watching the movement progress, and can honestly say I am happy in my own body, I am hesitant to be a leader in crying out for women to just love your bodies!
Yes, I love my body. But society has also made it very easy for me to love myself. I am skinny, able-bodied, tall, and white. I always have been, and I probably always will be. No, I don't have the curves renowned in our society. I don't have clear skin or a perfectly symmetrical face. But it's easy for me to see myself in the world; every Pacsun ad showcases a skinny, able-bodied white girl. Every makeup advertisement has some semblance to my own features. My relatives tell me I should be eating more, not losing a few pounds. When I shop for jeans, my problem is usually that I can't find a small enough size. The bathroom attendant at the county fair told me I could be a model. I have a freaking thigh gap. Society has never made it very difficult for me to love my body.
While I think it the body positivity movement is important, I will not be a champion of the cause. I'll leave that for people whose bodies are actually marginalized in society. As a person whose body is widely accepted, I'll stand to the side and do my part by appreciating women of all body types, not passing judgement, and being aware of places in society where my body is accepted and others are not, then asking how I can change it.
This isn't all to say that if your body is accepted by society that you don't deserve to love it. We all deserve to feel content in our own skin. But it is important that we recognize why it is easier to love our bodies, and do what we can to steer society along a path to a day when every woman will be able to be happy in her own body.
This also isn't to say that if you fit the criteria for body acceptance in our society, you can't have issues with your own body. The guidelines for beauty that have been forced upon us our so stringent that even the most revered models no doubt have trouble finding comfort in their own skin. I've struggled with body image issues in the past, and as my body continues to change, I could struggle in the future. But, on the whole, I have it easier than many women. My road to body love is shorter because of traits I just happened to be born with. I can recognize the struggles of others without having to discount my own struggles.
I hope my writing has shed some light on a different side of the body positivity movement for you, and perhaps made you consider your own privileges within the movement. If you have anything to add, please do it in the comments. For now, have a wonderful day, and don't forget to show your body a little love.