Defining Body Positive: What You See Is What You Get!
Body positive is: “a way of living that gives you permission to love, care for, and take pleasure in your body throughout your lifespan…” Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott, LCSW
Body positivity is: “ a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, and be accepting of their own bodies as well as the bodies of others.” Wikipedia
Body positivity is: “accepting your body as it is and attempting to make everyone else feel comfortable in their own skin as well.” Urban Dictionary
Body positivity is: “focused on embracing diversity, rather than striving for a perfect type as decreed by society. About representing bodies other than those usually seen in mainstream media…” Liadan Hynes
What & What If
So what is Body Positivity (BoPo)? As you can see above, the main ideal is loving the skin you are in! That basic premise is the thought process I was working through when I asked my partner, Chris, to help me think of a title for this piece. He cleverly came up with “What You See Is What You Get”. How real is that idea? When someone looks at my belly roll and jiggly thighs, what they see is what they get. Tah Dah! Almost as “duh” as my favorite anxiety relief motto: It Is What It Is
Too often we enter into a new relationship and after a time, an expectation of change rears its head. Maybe your friend suggests you join her for an exercise class so you can “tone up” together or your romantic interest keeps telling you how good you look in a dress you obviously would have to lose weight to fit into. Maybe you keep finding pamphlets on your desk at work suggesting a healthy cooking class. The people who commit these well-meaning faux pas likely have body image and self-esteem issues of their own.
So how do we, as confident and empowered women, share the message and meaning of the body positive movement? We know what BoPo is. We learned it in my second sentence. Simple, right? Or, at least it should be.
I was 47 when the light bulb turned on over my head. How old were all of you? Do you have the confidence to respond to people who are “just trying to help” and educate the about BoPo? The way I deal with most of these situations is a polite “thank you”, “no thank you”, or to just ignore it, if appropriate. I am a very direct person and will let someone know if I find their comments inappropriate, offensive, or inconsiderate. However, I realize that approach is not for everyone, so I’ve come up with some suggestions for other ways to spread the word.
8 Ways to share and show what it means to be body positive.
- Hanging a BoPo image in your cubicle or on a bulletin board in the break room.
- Offer to lead a BoPo discussion.
- Place informational materials for people to take.
- Give compliments frequently and genuinely. Some things you can say are, “What a beautiful dress!” or “You have amazing confidence.”
- Have, and encourage, zero tolerance for body shaming.
- Demonstrate self-love openly. Some ways you can do this are to stand tall, make eye contact, wear clothes that make you feel beautiful, speak confidently, don’t hide to eat, and participate in activities you used to avoid due to fear of body shaming.
- Never talk negatively about food, other people’s clothing choices, or yourself.
So remember ladies, what they see is what they get, and no one has the right to expect us to change in order to be a part of their life. We make changes in our lives to please ourselves. I would like all of you to think about BoPo and the questions I presented, then email your thoughts, ideas, and stories to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, Blessings,