As women, we have endured centuries of beauty standards and societal expectations with messages about what we “should” look like and how we “should” act. In a time when we are more bombarded than ever with social media, it is amazing to see that businesses have chosen to widen the scope of what is considered to be beautiful. I’m constantly seeing models and celebrities coming out as body activists, and it’s inspiring.
But are we there yet? Are we feeling body-positive on a personal level? Are we cultivating social norms that will benefit our children in ways that will allow them to love themselves more freely?
According to Wikipedia, Body positivity is acceptance and appreciation of all human body types. It is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, and be accepting of their own bodies as well as the bodies of others. The movement sets forth the notion that beauty is a construct of society, and poses that this construct should not infringe upon one's ability to feel confidence or self-worth.
For me, I started to become much more accepting and loving towards my own body once I began actively looking for beauty in others. The more women I photographed, the more I was convinced that all women are beautiful and have attractive qualities, both inner and outer. I re-defined what beauty meant to me, as it was “taught” to me through media and brainwashing and years of disservice. I don’t think it’s easy to unwind or choose to see something through a different lens. I think it takes time, but I think it’s important.
Here are 5 things that have helped me and may help you be more body-positive:
Create your own body-positive online community. Filter your Facebook and Instagram feed to only see things that inspire and uplift you.
Spend time around people who are self-aware and are striving to accept and love their bodies. Remember that your inner circle affects you in huge ways! Don’t let others bring you down, and cut toxic relationships, if needed.
Eat healthy & workout because you love your body, not because you hate it. Ditch the scale mentality. Stop counting calories. Nourish, love and take care of your being.
Take time to compliment other women. Do it with authenticity. Remind yourself that recognizing beauty in someone else doesn’t negate your own beauty or self-worth.
Do things for yourself. Think of the things that would add value to your life, and then make them a priority.
If you want ideas on who to follow, which groups to join, or have any questions about body-positivity in general, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hair and Makeup by Tiferet Lehrman