Body Positivity and The Changing Concept of Beauty

The annual Victoria Secret Show just took place. And amidst the push-bras, ostrich feathers and elaborate angel’s wings, yet again, there were visible ribs, jutting collarbones and almost unnatural thigh gaps. The world is changing but it seems the lingerie brand has yet to catch on to the fact that women will no longer tolerate the media’s propagation of an unachievable and frankly, unhealthy, body standard. Women have curves. Women have cellulite and women do not need to conform to imposed beauty constructs.

The last decade has seen a notable change in the mainstream media’s attitude towards long-standing body fascism. In 2012, Seventeen Magazine declared it would no longer airbrush its featured models. In 2015, Women’s Health said it would abandon the trigger phrases of ‘bikini body’ and ‘drop two sizes’ from its covers. The lovely Ashley Graham graced the cover of 2016’s Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit issue, publicly celebrating the long-repressed fact that plus-size women are desirable. More and more ad campaigns and fashion labels are acknowledging and embracing average-sized women.

But we still have a long way to go. Woman are still bombarded with the repetitive and now-redundant notion that beauty and social acceptance has a size limit. Body positivity’s sometimes murky definition can also be problematic. The concept does not mean ‘letting yourself go,’ it does not mean that neglecting exercise and more conscious food choices is not required for a healthy life. The movement is about divorcing the idea that your worth is tied to your appearance. Body positivity also means self love, and self love is inextricably linked to self care. Take time to nourish your body. Treat your body with respect. Start with self acceptance and gratitude. You are worthy! To learn more about the concept, visit The Body Positive Institute’s website here.