Beyond Body Positivity Divya Gururajan December 10, 2020 Lifestyle, MESSHealth, MESSsubmissions, Women Fat shaming and body shaming is a well-known social stigma in our society since time unknown. This society has pushed every individual into a large cocoon of insecurity. The misperception of one’s physical appearance is the main reason to bring in the wrong impression about their own body. These wrong opinions overshadow their self-esteem in every possible way. The concept of ‘Body Positivity’ was introduced in the mid-’90s by a psychologist. Acceptance of one’s physical appearance no matter how they look is the primary aim of this term. Apart from being judged based on the size of the body, people also get discriminated against based on their caste, sexuality, skin color, origin, and more. There has been a wide range of prejudices in different parts of the world. It is sad to know that this still exists in some parts of the world, even though various movements have happened over the past few decades. WHY IS BODY POSITIVITY IMPORTANT? Maintaining a constant body image is not mandatory for every individual and judging someone based on their physical appearance is a big NO-NO. When a stranger (or a family member) judges another person based on their looks and physical criteria, they may suffer a sudden body dysmorphia. This mental state will only worsen with time. The individual might find it difficult to accept their bodily identity and refuse to come out of that hard shell. These conditions will even lead to depression and other psychological disturbances. Apart from mental illness, a person might develop critical eating disorders that will affect their health in the most harmful way. Often, people start becoming body conscious at a very early stage in their life. Teenagers are more unhappy with their body image because of the improper opinions imposed on them. That is the reason for the emergence of body positivity. Being body positive instills a supreme level of confidence in oneself and helps the individual regain their self-esteem. It will boost the morale of a person and help them accept their original identity without any external hindrance. When an individual is confident about themselves, nothing can shatter their confidence or affect their mental health. Everybody is equal despite race, sexuality, and body size. People have started to realize that all bodies are beautiful. This acceptance helps the individual to lead a peaceful lifestyle without having to compromise on their physical and mental health. BODY POSITIVITY- A BANE? Body positivity is for people to love themselves and accept the way they are. The main idea behind being body positive is that people don’t feel inferior amongst others or don’t pay much heed to the negative opinions coming from the so-called society. The mission statement of body positivity states that people can do anything to feel body positive. While having this narrative in mind, most of them leave the significant part behind them. While having a confident body image, many of them fail to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Being body positive doesn’t mean that you need not pay attention to your well-being. It doesn’t mean that eating disorders can continue on a happy note. Certain people go into vigorous diets and workout in order to match the statement ‘body positive’. Becoming unhealthily thinner is not being body positive, which is again another popular misconception. Everybody should adopt a clean lifestyle while maintaining their current body image. Being oversized/ undersized is in no way related to being fit and healthy. In this way, everyone can be happier and healthier in all aspects. LOVE YOURSELF… An individual’s identity is the one element that remains with them for eternity. Embracing the body and skin that we have is beyond beautiful. Self-acceptance is the best way of loving oneself. It breaks all the mental barriers and enables the person to empower themselves. SELF CARE Nobody other than you know your worth. Leading a happy and healthy lifestyle while being optimistic about your body needs every little effort. Taking good care of physical and mental health is of vital importance. Being fit and healthy is noteworthy for everyone, irrespective of the physical image they perceive. Every individual deserves to lead a happy lifestyle without having to live life on others’ norms. BODY NEUTRALITY Body positivity is a perception that has to develop within every individual. Everybody and every body is beautiful. Instead of fitting in the word perfect, break all the barriers, and be known as bold and beautiful. Each and everyone need not be body positive. Flaunting the skin and the body you have is fascinating, but not necessary that you have to do it to prove the society that their notions are wrong. You need not get discouraged about it either. Instead, you can be body neutral and lead a simple lifestyle by accepting the body you have. Smile and make others smile. Love yourself and the people around you. Enjoy every minuscule. The only flaw that exists within every person is their negative mindset. Love yourself. Love all bodies.