Understanding body acceptance and community influence in the body positivity movement

I think that if you post photos of your white, privileged, conventionally attractive body in a bikini while talking about your ‘fat’ and your ‘body positivity,’ you, dear, are part of the problem. As an anthropologist who has spent a long time studying gender norms and social change, I believe that we have a lot to learn from how other societies think about bodies. Among Indigenous Kichwa communities where I’ve done fieldwork, for instance, people tend to think about their bodies in terms of what they can do—or how strong they are—rather than how they look. The nature of the relationship we have with our bodies is significant. Someone who has a positive body image is effortlessly more confident and feels great to be in the vessel that they are. All of these experiences work in tandem and foster a culture that punishes fat bodies.
To see a jelly roll after stumbling across celebrities who had their waists photoshopped so narrow that the laws of physics left the chat was like seeing a pool in the middle of a dessert. This over-edited presence didn’t just exist in the celebrity world, it’s permeated into our collective consciousness, too. Throughout 2021, Good Housekeeping will be exploring how we think about weight, the way we eat, and how we try to control or change our bodies in our quest to be happier and healthier.
We stored screenshots of all the posts in a Word document for analysis. Since we were using public Instagram posts that had no reasonable expectation for privacy, our university ethics board did not require a review of our study nor did we require informed consent from Instagram users. That said, we recognize that definitions of public and private are complex, nuanced, and dynamic, and relying on a simple understanding of “publicly available” is not sufficient for social media research to be ethical . As such, in our analysis below, even though we are legally allowed to re-use this publicly available information, we deliberately chose not to reveal users’ Instagram handles or reproduce any of the images2. We invite reflection on the ways that we may be implicated in the uptake and spread of problematic imagery and values.
In 1996, an organization called The Body Positive was founded by an author who suffered with an eating disorder in her teens and a psychotherapist who specialized in treating eating disorders. Body positivity, or #Bopo, is a movement that aims to help people accept and celebrate bodies of all shapes, sizes, skin color, ability, and gender. Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.
“Loving your body” isn’t as easy as the colorful Instagram post or the heart-wrenching campaign make it out to be, especially for those who have experienced eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Too much body-centric content, positive or not, can be harmful to one’s mental health.At first glance, this movement seems like the final “a-ha” moment of relief from constant shame and fixation on what we look like. The movement makes a point to challenge modern beauty standards and encourage love and acceptance of all shapes, sizes and colors of bodies. We get the frustration that comes with seeing someone who looks like they could’ve been plucked out of a romantic comedy being celebrated for coming to terms with their appearance. What’s important to understand is that everyone is on their own journey, and just because someone may look like the magazine ideal doesn’t mean they feel that way.
High school can be a tough time for students and many struggle with their mental health. They may face challenges developing social connectedness in their school community, engaging in help-seeking behaviors, building life skills, and seeking treatment. More and more a sustaining culture of promoting body acceptance and positivity can be seen on Ohio State’s campus through initiatives such as Love Your Body Week, during which Body Sense participated in a panel on body positivity in group fitness spaces. Jordan Helcbergier, wellness coordinator for outreach and programs in the Office of Student Life Student Wellness Center, believes both terms can be personal philosophies for individuals in different stages of the body acceptance journey. If you’re not at the point of loving the skin you’re in, you can choose to view your body in terms of functionality.
It involves being overly focused on comparing one’s size, body shape, weight, or appearance to unrealistic ideals. There is clearevidenceto support the role of body positivity in improving mental health and well-being. Despite these body positivity movement criticisms, acceptance, inclusion and tolerance of diverse body types can improve the health of individuals and the community as a whole. Since porn malay , the body positivity movement has grown to include activists, health professionals and scientific researchers. The body positivity movement has impacted the fashion and advertising industries, use of social media and general levels of inclusion and acceptance of different body types within the wider community.
In adolescence, the development of an individual’s body influences their sense of self. With the growing prevalence of social media usage young adults are being introduced to a barrage of images celebrating westernized ideals of beauty. Currently, three out of every four young adults ages 18-24, use at least one social media platform (Perrin & Anderson, 2019).