From Generations Magazine Seventh Issue
By Victoria Williams
If you go to any search engine or social media platform and search “diet,” you will be greeted with hundreds of different diet programs, supplements and advertisements promising you the “perfect body,” along with plenty of retouched photos and success stories… harmless, right?
While it is important to live a healthy lifestyle, many of these diet plans and programs can include very dangerous tactics, such as fasting for extended periods of time or denying your body its needed nutrients. A recent popular diet plan that many are following, the “keto diet,” can result in quick weight loss… but can also cause a multitude of other problems depending on your specific health needs. There is also high danger in displaying such retouched, unrealistic photos of women and men.
For years, both women and men have been conditioned to think that you must have certain components to have a perfect body: for women, a flat stomach and curves; for men, being tall and having sculpted muscles. These unrealistic standards for women and men to fit into have caused many to suffer from low self-esteem, low confidence and even worse, eating disorders. Although the negative effects from these unrealistic beauty standards are still occurring in our society today, there is a new movement that is helping those effected find new light.
The Body Positivity Movement has been an upcoming, ever-growing movement for the past couple of years, with big names like Ashley Graham, Chrissy Teigen and Demi Lovato aiding in its growth: Ashley Graham, the first ever plus sized model to be photographed on the front cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, made waves in the typically petite-sized modeling industry; Chrissy Teigen has been open and honest about her bodily changes (stretch marks, weight gain) after giving birth to her second child; and Demi Lovato has opened up for years about her constant struggle with her self-esteem and eating disorder. There have also been hundreds of women and men that have expressed their struggles through social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, who have large followings and have created small communities through their platform, advocating for accepting all of their flaws.
With large followings on different social media, those advocating the Body Positivity Movement leave numerous self-empowering messages, photos that are not retouched that highlight their own flaws and their own story of struggling with their self-reflection. Many of these men and women have experienced life changes, such as having children, going through a divorce or experiencing a traumatic event in their life that has caused changes in their appearance. Often those sharing their body positivity journey will share untouched, unfiltered photos of themselves to show the normalcy that is real life: dark circles, stretch marks, body hair, acne… the list goes on and on.
So why is this all important? Many of the followers of the movement are thanking those who are leading the movement for shedding a light on some of their challenges. Not only are people able to connect on a personal level with those leading the Body Positivity Movement, they are able to converse and relate to those who are also going through the same struggles with finding peace within themselves. This sense of community aids in the growth of the movement by providing more support to those who are in need and a sense of normalcy for flaws that were once looked down upon.
The Body Positivity Movement has
been highly successful and has received mainly positive feedback, but there has
been some negative backlash. Many think that since there is more acceptance of
overweight and possibly unhealthy individuals that this movement is avoiding a
big issue in America today: the obesity epidemic. This is a very serious issue;
however, many body positivity advocates also advocate for living a healthy
lifestyle of eating right and exercising. This also includes accepting your
flaws and loving yourself, no matter your size, big or small.
important to remember that the Body Positivity Movement is not only related to
weight and weight loss, it’s about accepting all of your flaws and embracing
them. Whether it’s curly hair that should be straight, a stomach that should be
flatter or teeth that should be whiter, this movement is about taking all of
those things that have been retouched and removed out of mainstream media and
making them normal… because they are. At the end of the day, our bodies have
carried us through many trials in our lifetime…
be gentle with your body and show it some love.