People tend to jump to a lot of conclusions when it comes to body acceptance or body positivity. This leads to some common myths. I’ve chosen five of them to discuss here.
1) Body acceptance is only for women.
Not true! Body acceptance is for everyone on the gender spectrum. Women tend to be the focus, because the pressure on them is more obvious. Even so, other people on the gender spectrum find themselves under pressure to conform to certain standards also. There is quite the lack of representation for them in the body acceptance movement though. I will be attempting to be inclusive, but will likely tend to lean toward addressing women and femmes since that is my perspective.
I’ve searched for some sources of info and support from other views for you:
Body Positivity For The Modern Man – Tumblr
There is a very noticeable lack of gender neutral body positivity sources. After searching for some time, I think your best bet is to search Tumblr and/or Pinterest for “gender neutral body positivity” or something similar (without the quotation marks). I will be keeping an eye out for any good links, and will be sure to update with them as I find them.
2) Accepting your body, as it is right now, means you are lazy.
Not at all! Many people think those who love body acceptance do so as an excuse to not take care of themselves, but that is not the case. Body acceptance encourages you to cultivate love for yourself and your body, and show that love by taking care of yourself. Showing yourself love includes eating food that you enjoy and makes you feel well, staying hydrated, and moving your body in ways that are enjoyable and make you feel good.
You don’t do these things with any intent to change your body, only to care for it. There doesn’t need to be any guilt over how you actually care for yourself either. Your self-care is always up to you. There is much more to this idea, but that isn’t the focus of this post. If you are interested, you will want to look into Intuitive Eating or mindful eating. If done without a dieting mindset, intuitive eating and/or mindfulness can be a wonderfully body positive way to approach food and self-care.
3) Body acceptance is only about appearance.
Absolutely not. While there is a good amount of focus on all body shapes being acceptable, that is not the only important part. We also need to be able to see what our bodies are capable of doing. Many times people are able to start by appreciating how their bodies function, even when they can’t appreciate and accept their bodies otherwise. Appreciating the strength of your legs, how your arms embrace your loved ones, how your ribs protect your organs, all these things are part of body acceptance.
4) Body acceptance can be found overnight.
I honestly laugh at this one. I feel I can safely say no one ever has. We are conditioned to hate our bodies. That message comes at us from all sides, everyday, and a single article or decision won’t overwrite it.
Being body positive, or even just neutral toward your body, takes making a decision each day, and helping your brain rewire itself in how it thinks. Don’t feel like you’ve failed if you are still struggling after a few weeks. As long as you are working toward accepting of your body, you haven’t failed.
Which brings us to our final myth.
5) Once you find body acceptance, you will never struggle again. (Or you will love your body at all times.)
Even the biggest names in body positivity struggle some days. No matter how clearly you are aware of the lies in the media, these messages have still made a deep impression. This takes a long time to counter, and we are still getting ongoing negative messages, even if we take steps to adjust our “media diet”. (Media diet = what we see each day).
Of course this will lead to days where you struggle no matter how well you’ve been doing. Everybody does. But you will have tools and knowledge to help you through those days.
Something that helps me on rough days is listening to music. I made up a playlist on YouTube full of great songs that encourage body positivity and self-love. This play list is especially for my readers, and you can only see it if you have the link!
I feel strongly that everyone deserves to have positive feeling toward their body. Hopefully this post helps alleviate some of the reservations you may be having, or give you answers for anyone in your life questioning your choices. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any other questions or concerns you may be having.