Articles about body positivity encouraging all women to feel confident about their physiques gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s lovely to see joyful pictures of ladies getting out there, dressed in fashionable outfits and embracing all that life has to offer.
1 thing disturbs me, however. When a woman decides to embark on a health journey, this is when some members of the body positive community turn against her. They claim that she’s exercising and eating nutritious food because she’s filled with self loathing and hasn’t yet learnt to accept and love herself.
Hang on a second. Accepting and loving ourselves AND self improvement aren’t mutually exclusive. If they were, Thomas Edison would’ve accepted that he was a dunce and never would become the brilliant scientist we know about today.
Accepting that we’re unique and have our own strengths and weaknesses is perfectly fine. At the same time, we can love ourselves enough not to remain stagnant and accept status quo. Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank loved herself enough to become a highly successful business woman using a US$1,000/- bank loan.
To some women, being body positive means releasing themselves from highly restrictive fad diets and obsessive exercise and calorie counting. They have the right to do this. It makes them happy and improves their lives. To others, being body positive means doing something more for their health to improve energy levels and mobility. This is also a form of improvement and increases their confidence. Why can’t people respect this?
Embracing body positivity and celebrating body diversity should also mean realising that everybody loves their bodies in different ways. Self acceptance and self improvement can occur concurrently and the body positive community would do well to respect that.
As for those women trying to improve their health, my message to you is, love yourself enough to not let anyone else stop you from improving your body.