body positivity

What Does Body Positivity Look Like Today?

It’s been quite the year. With a global pandemic seeing more than 3.5 billion people in voluntary or mandatory confinement, it’s fair to say that 2020 has made us all a little more introspective.  

Lockdown hasn’t been all bad, though. Many people have reconnected on a deeper level with loved ones, those with underlying health issues have begun to take better care of themselves, and with gyms closed, it’s forced us all to get outside and move our bodies.

What’s even more liberating is that many women have ditched the styled hair and make-up they wore every day in favour of going au naturel. They’ve got to know themselves again and have embraced what they look like without the primping — instead of covering it up, they’ve been letting it all hang out in the safety of their homes.

What is Body Positivity?

At its core, body positivity is a social movement that is based on the belief that all people should have a positive body image. It challenges unrealistic feminine beauty standards and aims to reverse the harm inflicted by these representations in media and advertising. 

Body positivity is about accepting all bodies regardless of weight, size, gender, race, physical ability, or appearance.

Social Media & Body Activism

Social media is littered with heavily edited and over-filtered images. Snapchat and Instagram’s built-in filters smooth skin, plump lips, and brighten eyes, while cheap photo-editing apps have brought studio perfection to the social media selfie, making these platforms a dangerous place for anyone with a low sense of self-worth.

As a result, there has been a surge in body positive accounts that promote self-love. Dubai-based journalist Danae Mercer proudly displays her cellulite and openly discusses her bloating issues with her followers, while illustrating how the right lighting, back arches, and poses create those Insta-worthy photos we all strive for. 

Earlier this month, writer Emily Clarkson posted a now widely shared video on her Instagram account illustrating just how easy it is for anyone to enhance photos using filters and apps. ‘’How are we supposed to ever make peace with our offline appearances if we are able to make our online versions so much more desirable? How do we protect ourselves from developing dysmorphia if the reflection we see in the mirror is so consistently different to the one on our screen?’’ she said. 

Movements to Get Behind

People are finally understanding that counting every calorie and depriving ourselves of food to create a calorie deficit isn’t healthy for our bodies or our minds. The anti-diet movement is about freeing ourselves from harmful diet culture and eliminating entire food groups, and rather embracing intuitive and mindful eating. It also reframes exercise as nurturing our bodies through movement instead of viewing it as something punitive.

In 2018, when model and actress Jameela Jamil posted a photo on Instagram announcing she was fed up with the media perpetuating the shame and self-hatred women face over their looks, little did she know the impact she would have. I Weigh has become one of the biggest and most popular body positive movements, changing global policies at Facebook and Instagram around diet and detox products being shown to minors. 

Body Positivity Today

From embracing our lumps, bumps, and cellulite to going make-up free and living a healthy lifestyle, women are finally starting to give the false ideals the media portrays the middle finger and are changing the narrative on how they view their and other people’s bodies. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that it’s time to focus on what’s really important in life and for women to see one another for more than just their weight or body type — successful, desirable, beautiful, and deserving of self-love.

  • Tigs
    Posted at 23:41h, 16 August Reply

    Amazing!! Just what I needed to read and be reminded of!

  • Rachel Oberholster
    Posted at 19:38h, 23 August Reply

    I am grateful for this wonderful lesson of excepting yourself as you are. Life is short and it is better to focus on things that really matters.
    I am definitely share this with my staff and friends.
    Kind regards
    Rachel Oberholster

  • Louisa Maartens
    Posted at 23:04h, 05 February Reply

    I couldn’t have said it better myself! Thank you. What an uplifting read. I have sent it on to my twin sister. Another beautiful woman!

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