By: Sia Minhas, Contributing Writer
The modern Body Image Movement has circulated since 2012. Arguably, the largest organization dedicated to the self-called “Fat Rights Movement” is the NAAFA (National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance), founded in 1969. The strides to body acceptance have been around for a little over five decades. Their work begins with the use of the word “fat”, erasing the stigma around its negative connotation They have multiple sub-pages, ranging from their stance on issues affecting fat people to their newsletters. The theme of the body positivity movement has not changed much over the years. The idea is to create an image shrouded in positive affirmations, and self-assurance about your body. It means to like the way you look. Recently though, it seems that some people think that the body positivity movement is much more negative than it seems; especially when compared to a new wave of body image: body neutrality.
What Is Body Neutrality?
Body neutrality is the idea that we do not need to actively love what our bodies look like to feel content, rather, we can focus on appreciating what our bodies do for us. Fixation on our bodies as perpetuated by the body positivity movement can be more harmful than helpful. Instead, the body neutrality movement was made to end the fixation on being positive all the time; assigning worth to how much we love what we look like and rather love what our body does. The hashtag “body neutrality” has over 110,000 posts on Instagram. It’s a slow but ever-growing concept birthed from the Body Image Movement. It encourages others to focus on the things your body does for you.
Why Is Body Neutrality Favored Over Body Positivity?
Body Neutrality is actively preaching the opposite of body positivity. While body positivity focuses on our love for the way our bodies look, body neutrality focuses on what our bodies do. It can be hard to believe that all bodies look beautiful when the standard of beauty in society is ever-changing. Body neutrality emphasizes that we are more than what we look like. Looking past what we look like. Your worth is not dependent on what you look like. The onewomanproject.org works to end global gender inequality. The organization has published an article focusing on body neutrality, including some body neutral versus body-positive mantras found on Instagram from the account “beyondbeautifulbook”. One of the neutral mantras reads “How I feel about myself has nothing to do with my appearance”. The quote represents entirely what the concept of body neutrality is. Weight, acne, height, hair, and your figure are a few examples of physical characteristics that have no influence upon your worth.
The Body Image Movement has made many changes to the way our society values our bodies. Whether that be with a focus on our physical appearance or a focus on what they do, the importance is that you feel content with the way you are. Some people find the body positivity movement to be most helpful in encouraging self-love and care while others may feel the opposite. It is entirely up to the individual what they want to do to feel content about the way they look. There is a common theme in both body positivity and body neutrality though; you are worthy.
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