It looks as if on daily basis I see a brand new TikTok or Instagram influencer’s put up or an op-ed telling me that physique neutrality is the answer to all of physique positivity’s poisonous faults and that I ought to begin training it, like, yesterday. But when I am being brutally trustworthy? I am okay, thanks.
To be clear: I do not suppose physique neutrality is a foul factor. Fairly the alternative. I comply with and agree with loads of its core practices and beliefs, corresponding to utilizing mindfulness to determine when to eat and train and the final concept that bodily magnificence is just not an indicator of price. For many individuals, sustaining unwavering physique positivity is just not a sensible aim and may inadvertently trigger emotions of failure, so I perceive why so many are discovering interior peace with the physique neutrality motion — and I believe that is wonderful.
However each time I am about to dip my toe within the physique neutrality water, I hesitate as a result of, whereas I can acknowledge that my physique’s look is not and should not be an important side of my being, I can also’t deny that how my physique seems to be has at all times affected my ideas, emotions, persona, sexuality — all of it.
Studying to understand my physique as it’s and serving to different individuals in my life do the identical has, roughly, been the overarching plotline of my 27 years on Earth. In an ideal world, my physique would not have brought about as a lot drama because it did — body-shaming by schoolmates, an incapability to seek out garments that match, household fights spurred by passive-aggressive feedback about my dimension — however I would not be the identical individual if none of that drama had occurred…or if I had simply been skinny to start with. Would I like who I’m if I did not have the identical overwhelmingly tall stature, thunder thighs, and pooch-y stomach? I do not know, as a result of overcoming all that physique disgrace is a part of what’s made me headstrong, assured, and resilient — and I love these issues about myself. Would not change ’em if I might.
I am not saying it’s important to endure trauma to turn into a robust individual, or that trauma is in some way good for you on the finish of the day (take it from somebody who is aware of firsthand, it is not); however in terms of my life, I am unable to deny my physique’s function within the course of. I can — and need to — settle for and love my physique for the way it seems to be and what it may do whereas concurrently appreciating my interior traits. To me, they’re one and the identical.
However that is undoubtedly not the case for everybody, and that is okay as a result of each individual’s journey with self-image is exclusive. My journey is laced with privilege: I am a kind of white, cisgender, able-bodied, size-14 individuals who is heralded by commercialized physique positivity. It is essential to me to level this out in any dialog I’ve about physique picture as a result of, let’s be trustworthy, I’ve it comparatively simple. (And so do plenty of people the fat-activism neighborhood calls “small fat,” who exist on the lowest end of the spectrum we use to determine totally different ranges of physique privilege amongst plus-size people.)
What I am getting at is that, as a lot as overflowing sound-bytes and affirmations on the web may attempt to sway everybody in no matter course is in style in the intervening time, I believe everybody’s method to physique acceptance and self-acceptance ought to be totally different. After I see these body- impartial TikToks or articles, I ponder if I have been doing this entire body-acceptance factor the mistaken approach all this time. However in actuality there isn’t a secret components for fulfillment with these things. In the end, I imagine the primary factor that issues is that we prioritize the fats liberation on the core of those actions and categorical gratitude for any systemic physique privileges we do have. As I’ve mentioned one million occasions, being fats is not a foul factor; underrepresentation of and discrimination towards fats persons are why we’d like these conversations within the first place, and (societally talking) to shift our perspective from “however all our bodies are stunning” to “systemic fatphobia have to be stopped.”
I assume that is me writing to remind myself that I haven’t got to decide on a selected motion and comply with it blindly. I can cherry-pick beliefs and practices that make me really feel good whereas persevering with to teach myself with books, podcasts, and different supplies created by fats people who’ve totally different experiences than mine. My outlook may not have a catchy identify that may be hashtagged endlessly, however that is sort of the purpose: I need not use anybody’s method to physique acceptance however my very own as a result of I’m distinctive. Possibly you need not both — however that may solely be as much as you.
Extra from Studying Curve:
Now, Lizzo’s musings on physique picture: