We are not born critical of our bodies. It takes years of outside exposure to change this, and unfortunately some are influenced much earlier than others. Where does this influence come from? Quite a few places actually, but I’m going to focus on three here.
The media is a huge influence on all of us. Everyday we are exposed to the media in some form. TV, magazines, billboards, the internet: we are bound to see one, if not all of these each day. With that exposure comes lots of “perfect” bodies; bodies that are all very similar, with little diversity.
When a person is only exposed to one type or form of something, anything else seems odd. So we only see tall, thin/muscled bodies, and then compare ourselves to that false norm. In reality, there is no “normal” body. Humans are vastly varied creatures, and that is really the beauty of us. If we take measures to fill our views with a variety of figures, our own is not a shock, but another added to the mix.
I accomplished this by tweaking the accounts I follow online. Most of my social media time is spent on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I’m also on Twitter, but don’t see as many photos there. My searches focused on accounts that show people with non-mainstream bodies. Plus-sized models, body positive accounts, and key words like: curvy, body love, thick, and “all bodies are good bodies”, are good searches to start with.
Click below and I’ll send you a list of some of my favorite accounts to follow. I have done the work for you, and you get a list full of great body positive accounts! You will also be added to my mailing list to be notified about new posts, if you aren’t already.
With the expectation of certain body types, we start to narrow our focus to particular body parts. Standing in front of the mirror, we laser down on to the perceived faults of each individual bit. Focusing on one part ends up giving us the same effect as repeating a word over and over. We have all done it. If you repeat the same word for long enough, soon it just doesn’t seem like a real word anymore. You are not a butt, a set of thighs, or upper arms though. We exist as whole beings, and when we take our whole body into account we can fully appreciate the beauty that is present. There truly is beauty in every body, and when you view a variety of bodies daily you start to see that.
How Clothes Are Sized
The final of the three obstacles to body positivity I want to talk about today is clothing sizing, or more specifically, the inconsistency of sizes among brands. I’m pretty sure everyone is aware of this problem. If not, it is a rare thing to find clothes in different brands that actually fit the same in the same size. A size 10 in one brand is like an eight in another and 12 in yet another. Now, while this is a wide-spread problem, few people put together that it is an issue with the clothes and not our bodies. When you go into the dressing room, and try on some clothes, if they don’t fit, simply try on something else. Don’t worry about the number on the tag. Just find something that fits. You can use sizes as a general idea of where to start, but that’s all they are good for. If the clothes fit, and make you feel good, that is all that matters; not the number on a tag.
We have many other influences in our life that make body positivity a challenge, but I just wanted to start with these three. The good news is that we can counteract the influence, and make a change for ourselves. I hope my suggestions here can help you start making that change, and help you remove your own obstacles to body positivity. Please feel free to share you experiences in the comments, or come over to the Facebook page and join us there!