- Sarah Kimball
Body Positivity and Body Neutrality: What's The Difference?
What is the difference between body positivity and body neutrality? While body positivity strives for all people to have a positive body image, body neutrality aims for all people to have a neutral body image and not think of their bodies as positive or negative on a daily basis.
I believe everyone deserves to have a positive sense of body image, and it would be wonderful if we could all love and appreciate our bodies everyday for all they do for us. However, it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to wake up every morning and think, “I am absolutely stunning, I love my body, and I wouldn't change a thing!” While this is certainly the ideal, in reality, some days we’ll feel good about our bodies and other days we don’t. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work towards a place of positive body image.
I like to think of body neutrality as a stop on the journey to body positivity. If you are struggling with your body image and self-love seems too far of a reach, body neutrality can be a more attainable goal. This was the case for my friend Shannon who found that it was easier to focus on stopping the negative self-talk about her body than it was to jump to a place of full body love.
While some say they prefer body neutrality to body positivity since it takes the focus off of physical appearance, we must not negate the importance of body positivity. Expressing body positivity and self-love is a way to take action against forms of oppression that tell us our bodies are unworthy. When we express love for our flawsome (flawed, yet awesome) bodies, we are taking a stance against beauty standards, body oppression, and discrimination.
Both body positivity and body neutrality are completely valid ways of expressing ourselves and thinking about our bodies. Every person is entitled to their own journey. However, preaching body positivity is the only way we will truly fight against the systems of oppression and discrimination that keep us from loving our bodies.