Body Positive: The Weight of a Word
Since the beginning of time, women’s bodies have been the subject of much attention, both good and bad. But there’s been a lot of bad. While much progress has been made since that time, it’s no secret that women are nowadays still held to impossible beauty standards. We’re told to be thin and then criticized for being “too” thin. We’re complimented on our “sexy” curves and criticized for being fat. That’s only the beginning! We’re judged for the shade of our skin, the length, volume, curls of our hair, our height, wearing too much makeup, not enough makeup, and let’s not even get started on aging “well.”
GBM Sonsie is proud to be part of the body positive moment and strive to design swim suits that every woman feels good in. The body positive movement has the goal of getting women to love their bodies. This body positive movement aims to reform everyone’s idea of what a body is “supposed” to look like. It’s the idea that you can love yourself, no matter how you look. Being body positive means that we have a forgiving, accepting attitude of what bodies look like.
Body positivity begins with the personal understanding that there is no ideal body image, but that all bodies are acceptable and precious. You let yourself decide what you look like and how you feel about what you look like, and you allow everyone else to do the same with their respective bodies.
This all sounds great and easy in theory, but most of us know that’s certainly not the case! For both men and women, a particular standard of how we’re supposed to look has been ingrained into our minds from a young age—even as young as childhood.
What little girl hasn’t heard her mom talk about dieting, “cheat days,” and idolizing women with thin, fit bodies? Then there are visits with cheek-pinching relatives who comment on how her appearance—what’s cute and attractive, but also how “yikes, she got her dad’s nose”–these seemingly innocuous comments have an impact. We have all been that little girl or boy and have continued to encounter comments like this throughout our lives.
Here’s the thing: when you make a comment or degrading statement about someone’s body – without having any knowledge of the person or their body’s past – every word inflicts permanent damage on the minds and personalities living in those bodies.
While men play a role in this warped expectation of women’s bodies, women are not blameless either; in fact, many of us believe in those standards, whether we realize it or not, and judge other women against those standards.
These aren’t outright acts of oppression or cruelty. They’re often considered “harmless” remarks or “jokes” that aren’t funny. These minor comments, judgy looks, and actions are microaggressions—indirect or unintentional discrimination. Microaggression affects us every day and the truth is that unfortunately, we’re all guilty of it.
When we meet someone, we know nothing about them except how they look. We see hair, skin color, body shape, weight, height, tattoos, scars, and clothing. What we do not see is how or why that body is that way. Snap judgments are so easy to make and important to recognize. The way someone looks doesn’t define who they are.
Such judgmental attitudes are changing though. A paradigm shift is upon us in the way that thinks about a woman’s body. Bodies can be sexual, yes, but they are so much more! They do not define us or determine our worth. Collectively, the world must reform what it believes about the female body. This reform is a long time coming and will continue to happen. It should have happened ages ago, why can’t it happen now?
We all have much bigger issues to be concerned with! While we concern ourselves with fighting to be valued as people, literal wars are being fought. Of all the things that women have to worry about, like breast cancer, breaking the glass ceiling, and domestic violence, fretting over what our bodies look like should be the very last thing on our list. It shouldn’t even be on the list!
It’s about time that we develop a body positive society. Acceptance begins with the individual and does not happen quickly. It’s a long process to learn to love the way you look. That love spreads from one individual to another, until everyone has a new understanding of being body positive.