Are you fat? Are you skinny? Are you dark? Are you white? Are you fed up with all the body-shaming? You know what? Ignore them. Who are they to judge you? It is you who decides what you are or how you are. You own your body and be proud enough to embrace your body with all heart. Be comfortable in your skin. Be strong enough to stand up for your body. Thankfully, being positive about your body and embracing yourself with all the imperfections is the most trendiest thing in current time.
What is it?
Body positivity is the concept or belief that every person deserves to have a positive and healthy body image. It also declares that every individual is perfect in their own body despite the differences in their complexion, shape, size, or beauty. It shows that equality must be established between different individuals despite their physical differences.
Body positivity helps you to accept your body’s uniqueness, to thank your body, to admire your body, to focus on the positive features of your body, and to reject the negativities. Body positivity helps in loving yourself, self-acceptance and self-compassion.
How did it start?
The origin of the concept of body positivity was in 1969 in America, when Bill Fabrey created the National Association to Advance Fat Americans (NAAFA). The reason for the creation of this association was his wife, Joyce. Joyce was fat and was a constant victim of body shaming. Other movements were also rising all around the world when people started to understand the mental injuries body shaming could do. Eventually, the ideas of self-acceptance and body positivity also started to spread.
In India, the concept of body positivity has travelled a long way. Being a patriarchal society, women were subjected to more body shaming than men from the beginning of the time. Indian women were expected to be thin, curvy, fair, and beautiful. The beauty that society can’t accept was always questioned or shamed.
In the last few years, several movements and other activists and public figures came into the scenario against body shaming. They started to spread awareness about body positivity and its importance in an individual’s life. Brands started to include XL and XXL clothes in their designs and cosmetics company started to drop the words “whitening” and “fair”. Now that’s a progress.
When should it start?
Body positivity should start at an early age. Children should be taught to respect and accept every type of person irrespective of their body size and colour. The centre value of body positivity is self-acceptance and self-love. If we have to accept others then, first we have to accept ourselves.
This is a picture from a textbook taught to primary school children. This picture explains it all. Body shaming starts from childhood onwards. So, if a child starts to body shame other people, it not his or her fault, it’s the way they were brought up. Children are taught to believe that fat, dark-skinned people are ugly while fair and slim people are beautiful. No wonder people get labels in school about their bodies and skin tones.
It is time that people change their concepts about beauty and appearances. Childhood is where body positivity should be introduced and that’s the only way we can uproot body shaming.
Why is it so important?
Body shaming kills a person’s confidence and trust in themselves. Imagine getting insulted and shamed at everything you do. Maybe the person who bullies or insults may not understand the wounds it could make in you. But the person being shamed sure can feel it. It creates mental and emotional distress in the person. Body shaming will make you doubt your limits, your appearances and will kill your confidence. This is why body positivity is important.
Body positivity helps you to embrace your body no matter what. It helps you to see the person you are beyond your mirror image. The body is just an appearance and we all should accept it. Our thoughts, beliefs, and characters define us. If we can accept and love ourselves it will be easy to accept others, the way they are.
Body positivity will increase self-confidence, self-respect, self-understanding, and self-realization. It will help you to spread positiveness about bodies and which can help many others who are currently suffering body shaming. It will also help to increase your mental health, reduces stress, and make a function at its best. A positive mentality will only help you in your life.
Shattered Indian stereotypes into pieces
“Can she dance? She is too fat”, “Bright colours won’t suit dark skin tones” “You can’t marry her, she is too skinny” There are so many stereotypes in India about the body. How will ever the shape or size or tone of your body define your talents, your beauty, or your life? Your body does not define you. People twist our Indian cultures and other traditions to body shame others. But the truth is that our culture has always been about inner beauty.
Body positivity helped people to embraces their bodies. It taught people that your body is not what sets limits to your dreams. No one can inspire more than yourselves. People no more wear clothes to impress others instead they wore dresses to feel confident. People started wearing clothes not to hide their bodies but to expose their beauty. People started to wear make-up not to cover their skin tone but to highlight it.
Who you should follow?
In the last few decades, body positivity movements and campaigns got so much attention in India. Public figures and social media influencers came into the scenario to back up body positivity.
Here are some body positivity influencers:
Neha Parulkar is a plus-size model and a body influencer. She was one first few plus-size models. She is also a TEDx speaker. She is a great inspiration to many India who is insulted because of their body shape, color, and size. Neha Parulkar’s story is a great help to Indian women to accept their body and to own it.
Dipti Bharwani is a designer, plus-size influencer, and body-positive activist. She started designing her clothes when she found it difficult to find clothes of her size. She helps women feel comfortable in their outfits no matter what their size is.
Neelakshi Singh is a plus-size fashion blogger, Instagram influencer, and plus-size model. She is the beauty with brains, who helped many women to feel positive about their own bodies
Sakshi Sindwani is a model and a body-positive creator. She is the ray of hope for people who are suffering body shaming and who are forced to change their body size to fit in.
You can’t change the way you are born. But you can change the way you think about yourselves. Time of hiding and pleasing others is over. It is time to “own” your own body. Be positive about your body. Do you want to feel comfortable in your own skin? Just love your body. And yes remember, You are who you are!!