Why I’ve traded physique positivity for physique liberation

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I’m so over physique positivity. It’s been utterly co-opted by social media influencers in average-size our bodies, corporations who typically give lip-service to the time period as they attempt to promote you one thing — and by the burden loss trade.

This co-opting has diluted the physique positivity message, even turning it into poisonous positivity (“In case you don’t love your physique on a regular basis, you’re doing one thing flawed!”) in some situations.

Whereas “physique positivity” stays a buzzy catchphrase, the origins of the physique constructive motion run a lot deeper than its present commercialized manifestations.

What physique positivity was supposed to be

Physique positivity has its roots in late Nineteen Sixties social justice actions created by and for individuals in marginalized our bodies — notably fats, Black, queer, and disabled our bodies — to speak concerning the oppression they expertise in society and battle again in opposition to discrimination within the office, physician’s places of work and different public settings.

Flash ahead to 2012, and influencer tradition begins to clutch the thought of physique positivity. The primary wave was plus-size influencers utilizing #BodyPositive and #BoPo on social media, then got here thinner influencers who tended to concentrate on loving themselves regardless of cellulite and different physique “imperfections,” adopted by companies that wished to capitalize on the pattern.

The unique physique constructive motion was about stopping appearance-based oppression, however the extra trendy manifestation is about increasing what’s considered as lovely. Not the identical factor.

The thought of physique positivity in its numerous types gained traction as extra individuals rejected society’s magnificence and physique requirements and stopped making an attempt to shrink their our bodies. This has led to some attention-grabbing outcomes.

One is that physique positivity has been adopted — or co-opted — by the burden loss trade as a part of its adaptation to the rising anti-diet motion. One other is that the motion’s messages have turn out to be misplaced.

Dilution and poisonous positivity

One drawback with as we speak’s “watered down” model of physique positivity is that it’s turn out to be synonymous with physique love, generally even in a “poisonous positivity” method — as if one thing’s flawed with you in the event you don’t love your physique.

However you don’t have to like the whole lot about the way in which your physique appears to be like to have the ability to look after it

The present state of physique positivity has lead many individuals to reject the time period in favor of physique neutrality, physique respect, physique acceptance — and, more and more, physique liberation.

Physique acceptance and physique neutrality suggests a center floor between physique loathing and physique love. It’s about merely permitting your physique to exist with out investing time and power into loving or hating it. The fact is that physique picture can change from day after day, so it could actually really feel very releasing to let go of the expectation that we’ve got to at all times need to attempt for love and positivity.

“Wait,” chances are you’ll be considering, “don’t you need to love your physique to peacefully reside in your physique? To have a full, wealthy and significant life?” No, I don’t assume so. That’s why among the interviews that actor Emma Thompson did when selling her 2022 movie “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” actually resonated. In a single interview particularly, I appreciated what she stated this about her “bravery” in doing nude scenes:

“It requires bravery as a result of I reside with a physique I don’t like. And I don’t know any lady who lives with a physique that she likes. And so my query I believe for everyone lately is: why are we losing our time, our ardour, our power and our cash on hating ourselves and never having fun with the automobiles that we’ve got to reside in?”

The Science Behind Physique Positivity

It’s price noting that physique positivity — or constructive physique picture, actually — as it’s outlined by researchers is totally different than the way it’s come to be considered or outlined in widespread tradition.

Within the analysis, constructive physique picture has two most important elements:

  • One is physique acceptance — accepting one’s physique as it’s, together with its performance and look — which incorporates caring for and respecting the physique.



  • The opposite is physique picture flexibility, which refers the power to brazenly expertise ideas and emotions concerning the physique — even damaging ones — with out performing on them or making an attempt to alter their physique with the intention to cease these ideas and emotions.

Physique acceptance isn’t the identical factor as physique satisfaction, and in reality somebody can settle for their physique on the similar time they don’t seem to be glad with it. Analysis means that, amongst ladies, physique appreciation will increase with age even when physique satisfaction doesn’t.

A 2019 examine of 344 faculty college students discovered that college students who appreciated their our bodies have been extra more likely to have interaction in preventive well being behaviors — akin to consuming a nutritious diet and interesting in bodily exercise — however those that have been solely glad with their our bodies weren’t. Earlier analysis discovered that faculty college students who rating excessive for physique appreciation are much less more likely to weight loss program or use weight reduction tablets, dietary supplements or shakes.

Why physique liberation?

Physique liberation is freedom from different individuals’s expectations about your physique (“different individuals” could possibly be particular individuals, or society at massive). It leaves room so that you can love your physique, however doesn’t require it. It rejects the thought of magnificence requirements — together with “best” physique sizes — serving as social forex.

Physique liberation consists of liberation from physique requirements in addition to physique autonomy — one thing that has explicit relevance within the present political local weather, the place physique autonomy is being stripped away.

Physique liberation is each…

  • An inner course of of cultivating constructive physique picture (within the research-defined sense), and



  • A pushback in opposition to attitudes, establishments and techniques that say there’s a slender vary of “proper” methods to have a physique.

Actually, it’s similar to the intentions of the unique physique positivity motion. Physique liberation is one thing you’ll be able to look for your self and for different individuals. As a result of we’re all worthy of it.

One query I get so much is, “How do I cease caring about what different individuals take into consideration my physique/my dimension/my latest weight acquire?”

Physique liberation isn’t essentially about not caring what individuals may take into consideration your physique or what you select to do together with your physique, per se, it’s about residing your finest life even when, yeah, you do type of care what individuals assume. It’s understanding that your expertise and your selections are extra essential than others’ opinions — partially as a result of their opinions could very properly could also be knowledgeable by their very own baggage about their very own our bodies.

To get a bit cheeky, opinions are like a**holes—each one has one. And…different individuals’s opinions are none of your small business.

Physique liberation is REAL

One of many lovely issues about physique liberation is that it lets you really feel your emotions concerning the BS that society heaps on us. It doesn’t require that you just really feel physique love and happiness.

That’s essential, as a result of we are able to’t really feel solely “constructive emotions.” We are supposed to expertise the complete vary of feelings and discover ways to sit with the uncomfortable ones, or how to deal with them in useful methods.


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