Body Positivity: According to You!
At The Emily Program, we believe that people of all shapes and sizes deserve respect and that everyone has the right to inhabit a body that is comfortable and healthy for them, regardless of cultural expectations. While we recognize that the body positivity movement has flaws, including the underrepresentation of diverse voices, we firmly believe that we should honor and appreciate how our bodies help us move through the world.
But last week’s much-discussed New York Times opinion piece “The Problem with Body Positivity” reminded us that the phrase “body positivity” carries a lot of complexity and can mean many different things to different people. This inspired us to reach out and ask for opinions on what “body positivity” meant to individuals in our network.
Here are some of our favorite answers to the question “What is body positivity to you?”
- “Being okay with how my body looks. It doesn’t mean I have love it but it also means I shouldn’t hate it.” –Sarah
- “Seeing and appreciating my body for what it can do. The crazy coolness of its inner workings. Not shaming it for what it looks like. Being kind and gentle with it.” –Tasha
- “That you can choose to be any size that is healthy for you and that is okay – the keyword here is ‘healthy.’ Physically healthy AND mentally/emotionally healthy.” –Anonymous
- “It means advocating for and supporting the idea that each person has the right to inhabit, live with, and enjoy a body that is comfortable and healthy for them, regardless of how that body looks in comparison to dominant cultural expectations. It means freedom from shame. And it means having the autonomy to modify one’s body–or not–in ways that feel good and helpful both mentally and physically, whether that means the additions of tattoos or piercings; adding muscle mass through weight lifting, or even letting one’s body soften because it means letting go of a rigorous and stressful diet and gaining some peace of mind.” –Morgan
- “Accepting where your body is at right now, even if you want to change parts of it.” -Cheryl
- “It means accepting the body I’m in right now, and accepting other people, no matter their size or shape.” -Kristin
- “It means making choices that will make me feel good, not being too judgmental about myself and my looks, and reminding myself that every body is unique, including my own, and that I can’t expect my body to look exactly like anyone else’s.” -Kelsi
- “When you feel good in the skin you’re in.” -Louisa
- “Honoring your body for what it can and does do, rather than for what it doesn’t do or [what it] looks like”. –J.