How Positive is Body Positivity?

For as long as I can remember, there has been an emphasis on men and women’s bodies in the media and in my everyday life. Up until about 1990, being curvy was “in,” and then by the time Kate Moss hit the runway, it was all the rage to be as thin as possible. Within the last five years or so, especially in the last two, there has been a rise in body positivity and body acceptance. People have finally started to come to the consensus that everyone is beautiful, no matter if you are tall, short, thin, or curvy; everything is accepted. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is the way to go when it comes to making men and women feel happy and comfortable in their own skin. No one should ever have to feel insecure because of how they look and there should never be a standard for everyone to try to live up to. Thankfully, we are in a generation that stands by the ideas of “wear what you want,” “do what you want,” and “be who you want.” I think that all of these things are great ideas to stand by to an extent, but we are still placing way too much importance on physical bodies.

It is normal to look at someone and notice their physical characteristics, but where we step over a boundary is making the body all there is to a person. By saying “all sizes are beautiful” we are still putting a lot of attention on the fact that everyone is a specific size and everyone should be aware that they should love themselves. Sarah Silverman said something very remarkable about young girls in on one of her comedy specials. She said, “Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. I think it’s a mistake. Not because they can’t, but because it would’ve never occurred to them they couldn’t” (Silverman, “Jesus is Magic”). I think that this applies not only to feminism ideals, but to body size and appearance as well. If we would stop telling women that they needed to accept their bodies, and if we stopped pressing them to look closer at their superficial characteristics, maybe it wouldn’t occur to them that physical value had to be evaluated and accepted. Everyone just would be accepted.

Obviously, it is hard to switch into this way of thinking when our society has been so critical of bodies up until now. I understand that we had to start being vigilant about accepting all different body types, and it’s important that we did. But people have souls, ideas, ambitions, and dreams. It’s time to look past bodies altogether. We should definitely be thankful for the body positivity movement and all that it has done, but I wish it didn’t have to exist in the first place.

-Rebekah Jones


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