Opinion

The World of Body Positivity

With summer quickly approaching, self-consciousness is taking its yearly toll on teen confidence. When the weather calls for shorts and swimsuits, anxiety levels can easily soar through the roof. Suddenly, the desire to transform into a Barbie becomes increasingly pressing. Teens face immeasurable demand to fit into modern beauty standards, both from peer pressure and messages from the media. Photoshop is now the only way to be deemed beautiful, and that is a major issue.

The body positive movement is fighting against harsh beauty standards in an attempt to help people feel worthy and beautiful in their own skin. It encourages appreciation for plus size individuals and people of color, calling for them to find comfort in their own bodies. The main purpose of the movement is to create social equality between people who do and do not meet societal guidelines. 

Social media has served as an influential platform for the movement. People are free to express their uniqueness without consequence, and they do. Every day, plus size models post stunning photographs as they speak up against the cruel judgement of today’s society. They advocate for their desire for equality in today’s world. 

@TessHolliday: “Hoping 2018 will be the year more designers use plus size models past size 18.”

One of the main faces of the movement is Tess Holliday, a plus size model from Los Angeles. An Instagram celebrity with 1.5 million followers, Holliday is completely unafraid to express her self-love and encourages other women to do the same. Her feed consists of pictures from various photoshoots, including huge magazines like Cosmopolitan. In one caption, she wrote, “With summer on its way, it’s important to remind yourself that *every* body is a beach body!” In the attached photo, she is seen posing in a bikini, fearless and beautiful. Holliday has even written a book discussing weight and positivity, entitled The Not So Subtle Art of Being A Fat Girl: Loving The Skin You’re In. Of course, her confidence is met with adversity. Holliday receives a lot of hate for her posts, including people of all shapes and sizes. 

This, unfortunately, is where people get the wrong idea about the purpose of the movement. Spokespeople like Holliday face backlash for condoning unhealthy lifestyles. They are said to be promoting obesity and advocating for a bad cause.

In reality, that is not the purpose of the campaign at all. The movement is not providing support to be unhealthy, but to discover self-love, encourage positivity, and to promote impartiality based on appearance. It is being used to persuade people that plus size individuals deserve the same amount of respect that Barbies do. They should be allowed to love themselves without consequence, without people telling them they are unhealthy and need to change. The point is, people know whether or not they are healthy, and that should not define their worth. 

The body positive campaign also reaches other subjects besides weight. In addition to that, it encourages people to embrace their individual characteristics, like stretch and birth marks. A lot of times, these things are considered ugly, they are viewed as flaws. The truth is, these traits can be found on almost everyone. They are a normal part of human growth and should be celebrated instead of shamed. The movement also stands with people of color who are not given the appreciation they deserve.

The road to self-acceptance is a hard one. No one can learn to love themselves overnight; the process is very challenging, but it is also very important. This summer, when you are debating whether or not that pair of shorts shows too many stretch marks, or whether you need to lose five pounds before wearing that swimsuit, remember to love yourself first and care what other people think second. Being body positive will allow you to find satisfaction in your own skin, and that is what really matters. 

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