Body positivity: Breaking down the misconceptions

  • lane-bryant
       Learning to love my body, flaws and all, didn’t come easily. Growing up I was teased about being bigger than others at school. I was ridiculed and often passed over by boys due to having dark skin and extra weight on me. I was often overlooked while boys focused on other girls. I can definitely agree with those that say it is very difficult in adolescent years to have a positive outlook on your body, when it seems like everyone else finds every reason to criticize you.
       I heard criticism and “jokes” about my size so much growing up that it just became easier over time to joke about myself first. The way I saw it, beating everyone to the punch with jokes about myself seemed to soften the blow for me. My family even grew comfortable calling me “big girl” and teasing me about my weight during my teenage years, because they had no idea my peers were doing the same in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. It caused me to not feel good about myself. I dressed in over sized clothing, and tried my best to fly under the radar outside of playing sports. The less I was seen , I was less likely to be a target for how I looked.
       Back then, I was doing things terribly wrong. I was letting other people’s opinions
    of me dictate what I felt about myself. This is something so many people do, even well into adulthood. Society plays a large part in that, always finding ways to somewhat exclude others that don’t necessarily fit the most popular beauty standards, and although we’ve come a long way we still have a lot more work left to do. There are still a lot of people out there that refuse to accept that beauty comes in all different shapes, sizes, and skin tones. This is the reason body positivity is so significant these days, as well as the reason body positivity is often misunderstood and/or criticized.
    Breaking down body positivity
       With such a large divide on the views regarding body positivity, it’s important to
    seperate what body positivity truly is as opposed to the misconceptions surrounding it. So what is body positivity? To keep it super simple, it’s basically having a positive mindset regarding your physical appearance. It’s acceptance and affirming of your body, your temple and physical shell. It’s feeling comfortable and saying/thinking nice things about the body you see when you look in the mirror.
    What others often think
      Body shamers usually assume that body positivity is something only women of the
    plus size community participate in. Many of them don’t even believe that body positivity is a “real thing”. The truth is that a person of any size can practice body positivity, and incorporate feeling good about their bodies into their lives as they see fit. It’s actually something that everyone should participate in.Whether you’re the fittest person or not, you still deserve to think positive thoughts and have a positive self concept. Body positivity isn’t some exclusive club only plus sized women can be a member of.
    The assumption of perfection
      People critical of the plus sized community tend to have this idea that a person
    cannot truly love themself and experience body positivity as a plus sized woman. It
    doesn’t seem possible for them. They are bothered by the thought that those who may be overweight can possibly feel good about themselves, especially when they still have extra weight they’re hanging onto. This thought process is highly influenced by society’s beauty standards relaying the message that the slimmer your body is, the more attractive you are. Because of this, a lot of people view the rise in body positivity a joke.
      Body positivity isn’t perfection, and perfection isn’t something we should expect
    from anyone anyway.It shouldn’t be expected of anyone walking this earth. We all fall short of perfect, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t love ourselves, be encouraged, and think positively about ourselves anyway. You don’t have to be a finished product in order to love on yourself. We are all works in progress in some kind of way, and you should know that you are just as valuable along your journey as you are once you get to your desired destination.
    The movement of pretenders?
      One of the most common misconceptions surrounding body positivity and
    acceptance is that people only engage in it because it’s gaining popularity, but not
    because they really are okay with their size. A lot of people feel that it’s just a stepping stone to pacify plus sized women until they lose the weight to get to the much smaller size they’ve wanted to be all along. This assumption is usually because of seeing plus sized women proudly proclaiming that they love the skin they’re in, and singing the praises of other curvier women, only to later lose significant amounts of weight, a loss that results in a drastic change in appearance.
    Examples of this type of weight loss are:
    singer Jennifer Hudson, actress/comedian Monique, Star Jones, and even model Ashley Graham, who has been getting a lot of criticism lately for what fans believe is her attempt to get skinnier and cross over from plus size modeling into mainstream.
      Body positivity is feeling good about the skin you’re in no matter what changes are
    made.It doesn’t mean you won’t have crappy days where you feel like nothing fits well. It doesn’t mean that you have to feel like the current size and look you have is the end all be all. It’s practicing self kindness, and a way to uplift yourself no matter what part of the journey you’re on. Body positivity is learning and/or knowing what works for you, and also understanding that maintaining healthy practices is just as important along the journey. It doesn’t mean that you have to stay the same weight in order to please anyone that may look up to or admire your confidence. Body positivity doesn’t require anyone’s approval but your own.
      If you feel that you need to lose weight to be healthier or remain healthy, then do just that. The only person that has to walk in your shoes is you.If you don’t like something about yourself, you are always free to change it if that’s what will make you comfortable. Body positivity isn’t something that is meant to keep you from evolving. It’s to help you progress as you desire. It’s loving and accepting yourself at any size, but also loving yourself through any body transformations you choose.
      You’ll mess up every time trying to keep everyone else in the world pleased. You
    have to love yourself for yourself. You have to like what you see in the mirror instead of relying on anyone else to validate you. Trying to keep up with what’s popular can be very difficult, because the public opinion changes quickly and often.
    Loving the skin you’re in is much more reliable. How you feel about yourself sets the foundation for what treatment you allow from others. Loving and uplifting that person you see in the mirror is much more important than trying to keep up with society’s beauty standards. Body positivity isn’t the easiest mindset to achieve, so hold onto it once you do get comfortable, and don’t allow anyone to make you feel bad or unworthy of it.

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