3 Reasons Why Body Positivity is Important
Body positivity is important because everyone should be empowered to feel comfortable and at home in their bodies. The importance of body positivity rests in the empowerment of all people regardless of shape, size, color, ability or identity. When we feel at peace with ourselves and our bodies, we feel confident in our abilities, and we can focus our efforts on our true joys and passions in life.
I’ve listed three reasons why body positivity is important for all people. No matter who you are, it is crucial that you practice body positivity in how you think, act, and speak about yourself and others. With more people joining the body positive movement, we will be working towards a world of love and acceptance for all people.
1. We must fight against fatphobia and discrimination
Body positivity is seen as a “light and fluffy” movement where all people are told to love their bodies and themselves, but make no mistake, body positivity is part of a social justice movement aimed at ending fatphobia and the discrimination against fat people. In the U.S., weight stigma is the norm. Movies, TV shows, and the general media perpetuate the harmful belief that fat people are lazy, unhealthy, and therefore less worthy than thin people. The result is that fat people are discriminated against in workplaces, they are fat shamed by doctors and given lesser care, they are not represented favorably in TV and movies, they are left out of sizes by retail brands, and they face shame and guilt for their size on a regular basis.
I encourage you to see the importance of body positivity as it ties into the fat activism movement and the subsequent fight for equality. It’s not about “glorifying obesity.” We know that people can be healthy at all sizes (health looks different on everyone) and that weight stigma does more harm to individuals than what they actually eat. Body positivity is so important because it is about the right all people have to feel good in their bodies and be treated with dignity and respect.
2. Your words have power
Whether you’re talking about how much you love your body or how much you hate your body, your words have power. If parents speak poorly of their own body, for example, that sentiment has the power to strongly influence their children. Have you ever had a friend say how much they hate a part of their body and you start thinking about that body part too? When we hear negative self-talk from others, we start thinking about if that applies to us as well.
The same goes for diet culture talk. If we hear someone say “I shouldn’t eat a cookie, I can’t afford the calories” it doesn’t make us feel so great about eating that cookie either. Please be conscious of speaking negatively about your body or what you eat. These words put down ourselves and others. Stop those thoughts in their tracks and instead, think about how you can have a body positive mindset by speaking about yourself and your body with kindness.
3. You are more than your body
Our culture values thinness and beauty standards like they’re the best things we can contribute to the world. The media frequently reduces people (especially women) to their outward appearance when we have so much more to offer. We have passions, personalities, hopes, dreams, and talents. The culture can distract us from how we want to live by making us think that we need to focus on changing our bodies above all else.
When negative self-talk takes over our minds our thoughts revolve around how we can become thinner, have a flatter stomach, or look more attractive by society’s standards. However, the reality is that we have better things to think about than what we’d like to change about our bodies. Kamala Harris wouldn’t be the Vice President of the United States if she spent every hour of her day thinking about how she can do everything in her power to conform to beauty standards. It’s safe to say she has MUCH better things to think about, and so do we.
Overall, body positivity is a counter-cultural invitation to the idea that we ALL live in good bodies. In a world that is hyper-focused on achieving beauty standards, body positivity is the important reminder that yes, our bodies are good, but we have better things to think and talk about. In fact, if you’re looking to remove yourself from media that tells women they need to change their bodies and hear more about how empowered women are following their dreams and achieving their goals you can listen to the podcast Ignited by Inner Beauty.
These are only a few reasons why body positivity is important, but the list goes on and on. The importance of body positivity rests in the acceptance and empowerment of all people, because matter what you look like or how you identify, you deserve love and respect above all else.