With the goal to empower people to be kinder to their bodies, the Body Positivity Movement seeks to address well being at its core. To the ignorant, ‘body positivity’ is about size, mostly women and size and in that, mostly large women and size. This is a deeply marginalized population, but by no means the only one. While the fat liberation movement of the 1960’s emerged as a direct response to what was deemed anti fat bias ; the BPM is an all inclusive safe space created to encourage forgiving attitudes in a time when our bodies often seem to be our only social currency. It is an idea that aims to nurture self love and positivity in each of us.
However, the reality of implementing self adoration as something that we should rather than something that we could is vastly more complex.
Consider people with eating disorders. Or mental illness. Body Dysmorphia.
A perfunctory blanket instruction to love themselves ignores their very real inability to correctly gauge their body, let alone cherish it. In the case of India, there are very few studies and findings on the body as compared to other parts of the world and this makes the task of analysing the problems faced by women harder. Slapdash self affirmation quotes discount the tangled insecurities, hot-cold emotions and even straight out self loathing of many who spend their whole lives struggling towards emotional stability. They also add insult to an often visible injury especially to Genderqueer people, particularly the non-binary, or those grappling with dysphoria . Body neutrality offers a way station between hating and loving. It is not-caring what you look like and realizing you are more than a body, and that your body and your appearance don’t define you. It is a conscious disconnection, simultaneously dissociative and capacitating. It is a cultivated indifference in response to market created female insecurities. The savvy business’now adapt and co-opt the fury of body positivity while inventing a brand new set of insecurities for the modern age. No make-up selfie, anyone?
Inspite of the fact that men have never been held to impossible beauty standards; constant and consistent efforts by the media to suggest that all the qualities of desirable men are in one way or another a direct result of their physical strength and attributes – have led to a significant increase in body loathing in men. Men are bound by the
fringe margins of masculinity with most still reluctant to acknowledge physical weakness or discuss their appearance. This self hatred can often turn to substance abuse and even suicide. The inclusion of men in the body positive conversation could be a catalyst to our approach to masculinity as a whole.
Whatever your path to wholesomeness; the message is clear. Treat yourself with affection, tolerance and tenderness. Give yourself the space to understand that your body is beautiful when you feel healthy but also that this beauty has no bearing your value as a person. Most importantly, remember that the journey to absolute self security has no timeline and its steps have to necessarily be of your own choosing.
So choose you.