So, what is body positivity?
At it’s simplest, the body positive ethos is that everybody – regardless of size or shape or gender or colour – has a body that should be celebrated, loved, cared for, and most of all – respected.
You may also have your own definition of what it means to be ‘body positive’, that’s unique to you and your own experiences.
Throughout life your body is going to change. It’s gonna change in shape, and your weight will fluctuate and you might end up bigger or smaller than your internalised ‘ideal’.
If your own body doesn’t mirror the picture perfect bodies that surround us in the media every day, it doesn’t mean that your body is less deserving of celebration, love, care and respect.
Now, some of you will be mentally ‘switching off’ as you read that. You might believe that’s true in general, or in theory, but find it difficult to apply it to YOU. In the day-to-day, maybe you find yourself judging either those around you, or most often yourself, all too harshly, for not embodying this ‘ideal standard’ that society bombards us with.
That is unfortunately, very common.
- Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004).
- Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable describing themselves as ‘beautiful’.
- 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful.
- 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful, but do not see their own beauty.
- More than half of women globally (54%) agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic.
It’s not all grim news though. Within the Fashion and Beauty industry, some businesses are leading the change towards body positivity.
In 2012, Seventeen Magazine agreed to stop airbrushing models. In 2015, Women’s Health vowed to ban the phrases “drop two sizes” and “bikini body” from its cover titles. Sports Illustrated featured plus-sized model Ashley Graham in one of three separate cover images for their annual Swimsuit edition in 2016. And Miss Teen USA ditched their swimsuit competition “as part of a commitment to ‘evolve in ways that celebrate women’s strength, confidence and beauty for years to come.’” We’re seeing Dove, Aerie, and Victoria’s Secret (among other well-known product and clothing companies) at least attempting to incorporate what appears to be body positivity and diversity into their advertising.
Meanwhile, Teen Vogue is still knocking it out of the park on social and political issues, as well as having a super sound body positive framework. There’s hope for the future, we feel.
If you’re not feeling it yet though, what can you do?
1). Embrace Your ‘Flaws’.
Also, let’s agree to stop thinking of them as ‘flaws’?! You’ve all heard the worn out encouragement that your Stretch Marks are Tiger Stripes. Now, we might not want to be tigers, but most of us have earned those goddam stripes. It might sound silly, but repeating something out loud can literally re-programme your brain to new ways of thinking as you say it, and hear it. So, next time you catch yourself wincing at a part you’re not proud of… show it some love instead of telling yourself how bad it is.
Yes, we do mean to whisper “I love you, weird toe”, or to tell your tummy rolls they’re actually kinda cute.
Honestly, it works, when you give it some time and effort. You WILL feel better about yourself.
2). Change the Way you Give Compliments.
There’s a strong equation of skinniness with health, or success, in our society. One of the ways we can begin to change this is to move away from complimenting someone on how they look, first and foremost. When your niece comes into the room, resist the ingrained urge to tell her how pretty she looks today, and instead ask her how she’s doing in school, what games she’s playing, or what she’s reading. Then tell her how wonderful, smart, creative, and funny she is.
When your friend is over the moon having lost 20 pounds, comment on her achievement, how proud she must be of herself, and ask her how much better she feels with a load of new found energy in her life. And if somebody tells you how nice you look, shift it around with a response like – “Thank you, I feel great!”
3). Avoid Fashion and Beauty Sources the Focus on Fear or Shame.
- “Blast that Belly Bulge” (Every female belly has a natural bulge, it’s our regular shape!)
- “Get that Beach Body” (Do you have a Body? Is it on the Beach? Congrats, it’s a Beach Body!)
- “Slim for Success” (Just… stop that. Success is not down to being skinny!)
This sort of nonsense, most often found in women’s magazines and 5 day Instagram Challenges by super annoying Americans, all promote the idea that there’s something inherently wrong with your body to begin with, and you’re going to be left behind, unloved and unwanted, if you don’t sort it out. Usually while offering the ‘convenient and affordable solution’ for you to do so when you sign up for this supplement or programme they are offering.
This stuff bombards us daily, and fosters an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise that is seriously, truly, no good for you. So, unsubscribe, and stop buying into it. Take up Meditation or Yoga instead!
We promise your life will be SO much better in a very short space of time.
At Redlane we are working really hard to promote a body positive fashion and beauty ethos for all our customers and followers, in all that we do. If there’s anything we can help you with or advise you on, please let us know in the comments below, or give us a shout!