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Body Positivity – The Movement Inspiring Self-Love and Confidence.
By Elise Dejesus
September 16, 2020
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Body Positivity Banner Leota and WOMANBOSS Collab
Image from Shutterstock
Approximately, 23% of adult women in the United States, reported frequent body checking and 11% reported body image avoidance.

Over the decades, the media has played a crucial role in what we as a society deem to be acceptable.  Growing up in the 90’s, I remember tuning into shows like Fashion Television, Friends, and Baywatch and noticing that each of these had something in common – all the women were very slim.  I rarely saw body shapes that differed or reflected mine unless the characters were played by older or non-Caucasian woman.  In an age where social media and influencers dictate the latest trends in fashion, beauty and wellness, we are constantly blasted with images and videos that are rated by our likes and comments.  This has a negative effect on the masses causing us to subconsciously compare ourselves to others.  On a positive note, social media is a place where the seeds of many social movements have been planted and have grown to become global revolutions.  Influencers like Tess Holiday, Jameela Jamil, and Megan Jayne Crabbe have been leading their own paths in the body positivity movement.  With brands, celebrities and organizations bringing awareness to body acceptance and self-love this movement has taken over! 

The meaning of body positivity seems pretty straightforward however, it encompasses many interpretations.  For the most part, the term refers to the affirmation that everyone should be able to have a positive body image of themselves, regardless of their size, shape, and the social norms that deem one body type more favorable than another.  The movement has always sought to tackle a number of objectives that include: encouraging the acceptance of all bodies, confronting how we as a society view the body, addressing unrealistic body standards and assisting with building up one’s confidence and self-love.  It should be said that the movement isn’t solely focused on societies views of the body based on shape and size. It also addresses and recognizes race, gender, sexuality, disability among other areas like normalizing body hair and menstruation.  

Body Positivity Image
Image by Isle of Paradise - Get Body Posi Campaign

The movement itself is not new.  It first made its presence as a part of the feminist movement called the Victorian Dress Reform in the 1800’s.  Throughout the 20th century, the first and second waves took place with the 1967 “Fat-In” protest against fat shaming in Central Park and in the 90’s with a series of body inclusive home workout videos launched to encourage women of all body types to get active.  The year 2012, would mark the 3rd wave of the body positivity movement in the form of a hashtag and has continued to grow with over 5 million individual tags to date. As brands and organizations have caught on to the outcry for inclusivity, we’re seeing more campaigns that celebrate a variety of different body types, races and genders. 

Approximately 23% of adult women in the US partake in frequent body checking, while 11% engage in body image avoidance. So how do we as individuals combat this?  The Brain and Behavior Foundation notes that, “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.”  As the meaning of self-love varies from each individual, the main concept remains the same.  When considering self-love in relation to body positivity, there are a few basic starting points that many of us are already doing or trying to achieve on a daily basis.  Getting better sleep, eating healthier, and exercising regularly all illustrate physical ways to take on self-love.  On the psychological and spiritual end, sometimes we have to take the time to really get a better understanding of who we are as a person before we can tackle this.  Reflection is a key step in getting to know and loving yourself. Being able to look back on your journey through life to accept your mishaps, rejoice in your triumphs and learn from the past is essential in being able to move forwardMeditation is another great way to reflect on the past as well as your present.  Some other actions to take into consideration include: taking a mental break, avoiding toxic influences, creating a self-love mantra to tell yourself each day and most of all being your best you.  Find activities that make you happy.  Regardless of what self-love means to you, it is important to understand that your approach should be tailored to fit your personal needs. After all, no one can love you better than yourself! 

Body Positivity Image
Image by Shutterstock

While we continue to work on ourselves individually, activists and foundations are taking on body positivity as a bigger picture.  Since 1996, The Body Positive Organization has been conquering societal body image stigmas by helping people develop balanced and positive relationships with their bodies.  Their ultimate goal is “to end the harmful consequences of negative body image: eating disorders, depression, anxiety, cutting, suicide, substance abuse and relationship violence.  Their Body Positive Insititute takes an educational stance by offering courses and training to encourage messages of body positivity to youth programs, community centers and schools.  Other non-profits such as Movemeant, make fitness accessible. Their focus is to empower women and girls by providing resources, opportunities and experiences to use physical movement as a tool to build confidence and self-worth.”  Their body positive middle school curriculum educates on the many ways our bodies can move and helps adolescents to establish positive relationships with their bodies at this pivotal time in their development.  

Body Positivity Image by Movemeant Foundation
Image by Movemeant Foundation

With all of that being said, there is still so much more to be done. Some brands are considered OG’s to the body positive movement, as they’ve been advocates for nearly 20 years. Take Dove for example. Back in 2004, they launched the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. From ads to workshops and sleepover events, the campaign is responsible for one of the most notable viral videos ever. Evolution was published on Oct 6, 2006 and has now viewed more than 20 million times. The video has made a huge impact on how distorted society’s view of beauty really is. The campaign has been hailed as one of modern marketing’s success stories. 

Touching closer to home, the team at WOMANBOSS is also working to bring awareness to body positivity. This week we launched our Love the Way I Am Campaign which aims to encourage women to be confident in the skin they’re in and celebrate body positivity. We’ve partnered with Leota New York, to create our Leota x WB Exclusive Dresses. From 9/14-10/31, WOMOANBOSS pledges to donate 10% of the proceeds made from sales of the dress to Movemeant Foundation. We hope to continue encouraging body positivity and acceptance and inspire those around us to push to live the Good Life.  

Body Positivity Image by Charlene Mann
Image By Charlene Man

Body positivity is something everyone has to grapple with individually, but it is comforting to know that there are dedicated communities working hard to minimize societal stigma and boost confidence in others.  

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