Table of contents:
- … expand your understanding of beauty
- … or abandon beauty altogether
- … to appreciate the possibilities that your body gives
- …to be proud of yourself
- … get support
Our columnist Yekaterina Popova shares how a movement created to prevent people from facing bullying for imperfect appearance can be used to their advantage in a variety of ways.
Body positivity, like feminism, is a movement that is most often misjudged. For most people, this is a story about "fat people" who gorge themselves on pizza instead of going to the gym, and even demand to be allowed on the catwalks. For female followers, movement is in most cases a philosophy of acceptance and self-love, as well as the ways in which this can be achieved.
Often the perception of body positivity takes on the most exotic forms. For example, a journalist from a local newspaper once wrote to me: "We are writing a review material about body positivity, and you are a member of a thematic public, could you answer one question?" The question struck the noble don right on the heel: "Tell me, why do body-positive women refuse to treat their diseases?"
Coincidentally, it was precisely the refusal of medical care that I suffered at that moment: for a month I had sadly felt with my tongue the place where the filling used to be, and now there was an unpleasant emptiness. So I told the journalist that body positive women, like all other people, do not get treatment when they do not have the money and free time for it, and there are no other reasons related to the ideology of the movement for this. For some reason, the answer was not included in the “review material”.
One of the founders of body positive, Connie Sobchak, lost her sister - she died of bulimia. And therefore, opposition to hating has always been an important part of the movement. The motto “my body is my business” hides another, less obvious, but socially more important “someone else's body is not my business”. You cannot condemn people for the way they look, or pass a verdict on personal qualities in appearance - this is the only way to create an environment in which everyone is able to accept themselves.
It is generally accepted that conversations about someone else's exterior are petty and not worthy of the attention of a decent person. He, a decent person, would rather discuss Expressionist paintings or the mutual influence of political myths and state regimes than the wrinkles of Monica Bellucci or the figure of Hugh Jackman's wife. However, in fact, it is the latter topics that are more popular, and not only among women, as is commonly believed (the name of men who love to tell why and what star they are not blowing in is legion).
It is really hard to give up such discussions. But at the same time, a completely logical question arises: okay, I will refuse to discuss the appearance of people, but what in return? Is there anything about body positivity for me personally?
And body positivity has a lot to offer. Like feminism, it is not homogeneous - there are enough different approaches in it. And therefore, everyone can find something for themselves in it. You can…
… expand your understanding of beauty
Despite Tess Holiday, who appeared on the cover of British Cosmo, we all continue to think in strict terms: slim and young are beautiful, everything else is subject to correction. The chest should be sticking out, the skin should be silky and smooth, the belly should be tucked up, the ankles and wrists should be graceful. But it is enough to go to any museum to see that ideals are constantly changing.
Body positivity tells us: there are no standards, individuality is beautiful. People admire plump dancers, older fashion bloggers and plus-size models, why don't you join them in their delight? Look at yourself from the other side, finding attractive differences, remember that you do not consist of numbers and parameters.Beauty is not a single standard, and therefore measuring it when it comes to the human body is simply depriving oneself.
… or abandon beauty altogether
Let's be honest: we do not love all close people for their appearance, right? Hell, even sympathy has nothing to do with this! For more than twenty years I have loved my girlfriend for her sharp mind, non-trivial judgments and swiftness of actions. I like my colleague because every text she writes has ears of talent sticking out of every joke, and every joke has a great (and blackest) sense of humor. My student is wonderful with her cheerfulness and optimism, which illuminates everything around.
Beauty is not needed when it comes to people. It doesn't matter who has wrinkles or stretch marks. This is only an ideal imposed on us, which helps the sale of creams and services of aesthetic surgery clinics, and does not play any role in the relationship. And if we can ignore beauty when looking at other people, then we can treat ourselves in the same way.
… to appreciate the possibilities that your body gives
This breast can be used to feed a baby. With these feet - to climb a mountain or walk in an autumn park. This "fat ass" fits perfectly in the saddle on a horse ride or on the couch when you watch your favorite TV series. It makes no difference whether the triceps has a relief when you hug your loved ones with your arms. The nasolabial folds do not spoil the pleasure of kissing.
We are told so much about what the body should look like that we have forgotten what it was for. We lose our most precious moments by blaming ourselves for imperfections. We forget that the body is not clothes that should be ironed according to the norms of decency, but ourselves. And body positive reminds you of this: it doesn't matter how you look, the main thing is that you live and thanks to your body you can use the joys of life to the fullest.
…to be proud of yourself
It is generally accepted that only successes in the field of bodybuilding give the right to be proud of oneself. Threw off 10 kilograms? Well done! Did you squat your ass? Take a pie from the shelf! (Stop, stop, where, not in the literal sense of the word!) Do you look 30 at 40? A real woman, and not some kind of nag!
But here's what I know for sure - not a single diet, not a single medal was given to me as hard as the ability to accept myself. Neither competition nor 90 kilograms of barbell were given to me with such blood as the opportunity to look in the mirror calmly, without thinking: what if it never changes? No job cost me more energy than the current indifference to size: 54 is just the number by which clothes are chosen.
We are under the most severe pressure from public opinion. Women are constantly being told how they should look, and they are “guilty” if they did not take the bar. And the ability to say: "I am different, and I am not ashamed of this" is a reason for pride, and pride is another inexhaustible source for accomplishment.
… get support
It is believed that not some outsiders from the Internet should support, but relatives: spouse, parents, friends. But here's the catch: for those who have not encountered haters themselves, it is with great difficulty that I understand what it feels like. And when you share your experiences, their words, which may be a sincere attempt to help, seem more like a devaluation of your experiences or an attempt to brush it off.
Have they laughed at you? Fools, don't mind. Leave a nasty comment on your vacation photos? They just envy, never mind! I heard a colleague, with whom she had a falling out at work, say to other employees: “Yes, this fat hysterical woman is simply not fucked by her husband!”? Oh, it's not about your figure, it's just aiming at your place!
Hating your body never springs up on its own. Those who live with it and try to overcome it know what bullying and bullying are. And therefore they understand when and what words to say, and when it is better to remain silent. And therefore, body-positive communities are invaluable on the path to self-acceptance.
Of course, body positivity is not a magic bullet.There are no spells that change the way of thinking and perception of your body in an instant. But this movement is multifaceted enough that one could choose his own path and go through it to the end, having received the main prize - a different relationship with the world and oneself.
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