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In this blog post we are going to explore the topic of body positivity. Do you ever wonder about what is body positivity? Then you are in the right place at the right time. The term has gained a lot of attention in the past few years. Body acceptance is the concept of feeling good about your body.
What is Body Positivity
You may ask –what is body positivity? Body positivity is rooted in love for your body and gaining self-confidence. Giving your body respect is quintessential. It is a great starting point for many persons on their way to deeper self-acceptance. In fact, it has evolved into a movement.
The Body Positivity Movement
Let’s dive in and explore the origins of the body positivity movement, its evolution over time, and its impact on society today.
The Body Positive Movement was founded by Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott, LCSW in 1996. These two licensed clinical social workers shared their passions to create a lively, healing community that offers freedom from suffocating, demeaning societal messages. These messages criticize, ignore, and ridicule individuals because of their body size.
Mission to Combat Unrealistic Beauty Standards
As the movement began to emerge in the 1960s, it main mission was to combat the unrealistic beauty standards and body-shaming prevalence in Western Society. The founders believed that a person’s worth is not dependent on physical appearance or on how many pounds they carry.
An Example of Body Positivity
An example of body positivity is to look in the mirror and say out loud all the things you like about your physique. You might say, “I love the way my arms look in this sleeveless dress,” or “While my tummy isn’t flat, it is still beautiful.” It all began in Central Park, New York.
The Central Park Protest
It all began in 1967 when WBAI radio personality decided to host a “fat-in” in Central Park New York because he, as a 210-pound man, faced discrimination and wanted to protest against anyone in the same predicament. His efforts ignited a fire under other marginalized people. Hence, the onset of the NAAFA emerged.
National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
The National Association of Fat Americans (NAAFA) was formed in 1969. Its founder is Bill Fabrey of Rochester, New York. This organization seeks to eliminate the social stigma of people of heavier weight. The feminist movement is the predecessor of the NAAFA.
Origins of the Body Positivity Movement
The roots of body positivity can be traced back to the feminist movement, which recognized that women’s bodies were objectified and often judged solely on their physical appearance. Feminists challenged the notion that a woman’s worth was determined by her looks and called for a more inclusive and diverse representation of women in media and popular culture. Sara Golda Bracha took body positivity to the next level. The induction of the Fat Underground Group.
The Fat Underground Group
Sarah Golda Bracha Fishman co-founded the Fat Underground group in 1973. This group of radical fat therapists take on the entire medical field and confronts them as perpetrators of fatphobia. They accuse the healthcare industrial complex of marginalizing people based on their weight. Thus, the birth of the Fat Liberation Manifesto.
The Fat Liberation Manifesto
In 1979, the Fat Underground wrote their first Fat Liberation Manifesto demanding respected for fat people. The manifesto establishes that fat people are entitles to human respect and recognition. These principles metastasize into the 1990s as Hanne Blank spreads the word.
Hanne Blank – Body Positive Influencer
By the 1990s, the term “body positivity” hit the ground running. It became a worldwide phenomenon used by activists and advocates to promote self-love and acceptance of all body types. One of the key figures during the 1990s was Hanne Blank. As an author and historian, she journaled extensively about body image and self-acceptance. You can journal too. The movement continues to thrive.
Evolution of the Body Positivity Movement
Over the years, the body positivity movement has evolved and is focused on inclusivity of all types and identities. In fact, the body positivity movement has since expanded to include people of color, disabled individuals, and those with non-normative gender identities. Social Media doors open.
Rise of Social Media Platforms
Social Media platforms gives the body positivity movements more leverage to reach a wider audience. Plus size models are making their appearance and many of them are now Instagram influencers. These platforms provide an opportunity to people to create and contribute their own images and messages which opens our minds to the possibility of seeing beauty in new, diversified ways. The impact on pop culture caused a transition to inclusivity.
Impact on Popular Culture
The body positivity movement has also had an impact on popular culture, with a growing number of Films. This increased representation is helping to break down stereotypes and promote greater acceptance of marginalized bodies. Social media is more diversified and inclusive than ever before:
- TV shows
- Books featuring diverse body types.
- Dating Websites to Improve Body Positivity
Become Pro-Active for Body Positivity
High school or college-age students can become body positive leaders and start body positive groups on their campuses. You can introduce Health at Every Size when you notice body size, food choices, or sizeism issues surfacing. Educators and professionals can model body positivity for their students and clients. This work has ripple effects that extend far and wide.
Unfortunately, society teaches us that fat is bad. Those who struggle with weight issues often suffer social stigma, lack of accessibility, self-hatred, and they are marginalized. On the other hand, there are those who suffer from fear of being fat and they are at risk for disordered eating to prevent themselves from becoming fat.
Whatever the case may be, we must hunker down and demand respect for all people wherever they are at, in terms of their size. We must create a society that is fair and just for all people at every stage in their life and make sure body positivity becomes mainstream and ubiquitous.
What are your ideas about body positivity? Would you care to share your experience with me? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to a great dialogue with you.