How Should You Take The Body Positivity Movement?
The body positivity movement has been trending on social media lately as celebrities show off their un-photoshopped bodies in support with lots of people loving it and others criticizing it.
From an email I got from Rachael, one of our readers 4 days ago, she seems to be confused about where she should stand; whether or not to embrace the movement. If you are also in Rachael’s shoes, then this article is for you.
This explains why it seems that almost everyone out there has it, except you. This is no thanks to all the retouched and photoshopped pictures, especially those of female celebrities and fitness models on social media.
However, some celebrities who have stretch marks and cellulite have recently shown them off on their social media pages, embracing the body positivity movement.
About Cellulite And Stretch Marks
Cellulite – a layer of fat underneath the skin – appears linearly on the skin and it affects every human irrespective of their age, height, or weight while Stretch marks – caused by tearing of the dermis due to growth and stretching of the skin – appear as multiple linear stripes on the skin.
Other contributing factors include stress, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, adrenal gland diseases, or the use of birth control pills.
Cellulite and stretch marks are common to both genders but prevalent in women. Having either cellulite or stretch marks is harmless. It happens to anyone with skin.
The Body Positivity Movement – What it is, Its Origin & Mental Benefits?
Body positivity is a movement that dates back to the1960s. It has inspired the creation of movements such as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) by Bill Fabrey and Fat Underground by the U.S. a group of California feminists, which declared war on the diet culture.
The body positivity movement is guided by the understanding that accepting your appearance and feeling positive about it is greatly beneficial to the improvement of your mental health. It enables you to function at your best by reducing your risk of obesity’s psychological burden such as eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.
It can save you from being a victim of the dark side of social media on beauty standards and feeling pressured about meeting today’s societal standard for beauty.
Celebrities such as Ashley Graham, Hilary Duff, Chrissy Teigen, and more have championed body positivity and show off their natural bodies. They have demonstrated body positivity with truth and pride, serving as inspiration for anyone who has been a victim of body image issues.
An instance is when Kyle Jenner flaunted a snap of her boob stretch marks on Instagram and a follower mentioned how she finally feels like human seeing Kylie flaunt hers.
Model Ashley Graham has not been left out in this movement as she uploads pictures of her changing body after her pregnancy in an un-photoshopped state.
The following are reasons for the ‘love your body’ movement:
They Are Markers of Existence and Life
It is alarming how we feel encouraged to worry about natural changes in our lives. From aging to developing stretch marks from puberty, we are encouraged to feel like crap.
Can I let you in on a little secret sprinkled with the truth?
Having a stretch mark is not enough reason to be running to local stores. Your cellulite is not enough reason to turn repeat customers for over-the-counter magical creams. They indicate that you are living, developing, having experiences, and changing. Hence, it should not be termed as a bad thing.
Almost Everyone Has Them
All bodies stretch irrespective of your gender, height, marital status, or achievements. Having a stretch mark or two is only an indication that you are human. It happens to anyone and you are not alone.
Weight Gain Is Literally Nothing To Be Ashamed
Contrary to the societal standard of beauty, weight gain is not shitty. There are many reasons why weight gain happens, and it ranges from changes in hormones from puberty to pregnancy.
Weight gain is not supposed to be negative unless we allow it. Use every emotional investment you put into hating those parts of your bodies into seeing the beauty in them.
Puberty Is A Whole Lot To Deal With On Its Own
Bodies undergo a lot of change than we prepare for during puberty. Stretch marks are part of the changes. You are facing enough discomfort during puberty, avoid adding other layers of discomfort. Always be reminded that there is nothing wrong with developing those lines. You should consider the societal standards of beauty as bullshit.
Or why would you have to deal with changes that come with leaving childhood behind?.
The Natural Changes That Occurs From Childbirth Is Worth Being Celebrated And Not Frowned At
You literally pushed a human being out of you. It is termed beautiful, intense, and life-changing. So should every change that comes with it. Emphasis should not be placed on fixing the post-pregnancy body, it was never meant to be the same. The pain and joy are cause for a big party.
Stretch marks come in different shapes, sizes, and shades. Literally, this means they are artworks on your body. There is so much variety and they turn your body into a canvas. If you get tired of seeing it just the way it is, get body-friendly markers and turn those lines into amazing body artworks.
Draw shapes as you like them or cute furry animals. As pointed out by Jen Schildgen, “Those lines take a whole lot of forms. From tiger stripes to cotton candies”. Cotton candies are never ugly, right?
7. They Are Just Frowned At Because They Don’t Match The Society’s Beauty Standards
Beauty standards are never facts. They are ideas of those shopping channels or groceries. You should only follow the beauty standards you set based on your preferences and interpretations of beauty.
8. What’s Sexier Than Embracing Your Body?
It is important to love ourselves, cellulite and stretch mark inclusive. Do not be concerned about wearing a bikini in public. Do not live in fear of what people find repulsive. It is scary to fight the norm, scary to admit that you are beautiful, scary to be deemed vain. Embrace all of it. Paying attention to them will mean showing little love to yourself.
Criticism of the Body Positivity Movement
While the body positivity movement has made great strides towards the promotion of the acceptance of diverse bodies, a critic mentioned that the movement encourages obesity, which poses a great risk to health and shouldn’t be treated trivially.
While she claims that she was never fat-shamed and most times uses her weight as a punch line in movies, she still took the decision to lose weight due to health reasons.
Another critic also points out body positivity as unrealistic because you can’t expect people to feel good about their bodies all the time. There will be days when acceptance and celebration will be difficult even though the body positivity movement encourages self-compassion.
This may make some people feel like failures at body positivity, which could further make their self-esteem hit rock bottom.
However, the fact still remains that it is tough for one person to have all the characteristic features of society’s definition of a perfect body shape. All can’t be found in the bodies of even the most beautiful women’ in the world, and everyone knows this.
So no one feels good about their bodies all the time.
Body Positivity Movement – Embrace or Ignore?
Although the body positivity movement has been proven to improve mental health and overall well-being, some people still consider cellulite and stretch marks unappealing.
Cellulite and stretch marks are considered saboteurs to getting a bikini body and bathing suits because their favorite places are on the thighs, abdomen, and hips.
However, the recent ‘Love Your Body Challenge’ by celebrities who showed off the bodies with fat, cellulite, stretch marks, dark spots, and all shows that you are not alone and you have nothing to be embarrassed about.
So don’t be deceived by the photoshopped pictures of people on social media. However, if the body positivity movement makes you feel like you are being forced to love your cellulite, stretch marks, or body fat, you don’t have to.
If you are not ready to invest in any luscious lotions or moisturizers, indifference is the best you can do.
You shouldn’t be told how you should view your body or be forced to perceive cellulite as beautiful or ugly. Bodies are what they are; skinny, fat, tight, or wobbly. Your body is good and it deserves good treatment.