What is Body Positivity?

What is Body Positivity?

Body positivity encourages people to feel accepted and confident regardless of shape or size!

What is Body Positivity?

Body positivity is a social movement promoting acceptance of all body shapes. Body positivity has had a positive effect, aiming to help people feel more confident, regardless of race, gender, body shape and physical abilities. Being body positive can increase an individual’s level of self-esteem by appreciating the body they have. Embracing your body image can improve your mental and physical health by cutting out unhealthy habits such as comparing yourself to others and chasing unrealistic expectations. 

However, it can take time to feel body confident, especially because people see unrealistic beauty standards that can make them doubt their own body image. Normalising body image has become increasingly popular in the media compared to the way body image was portrayed. Becoming body positive does not happen overnight, it's a journey of self-love and acceptance of your body, as nobody’s body image is the same. 

How did Body Positivity Start?

The body positivity movement began in 1969, then known as the fat acceptance movement. This movement was brought to attention by Bill Fabrey, who disliked how his wife was being treated because of her body image. A group was then created by those who had been discriminated against, and body shamed for their appearance, called the National Association to Aid Fat Americans. The movement advocated fighting for the rights of plus-size people. The group hosted events such as fashion shows and pool parties to show the diverse body shapes and sizes. 

Body positivity has significantly transformed since the 60s, especially in the fashion and media industry. Inclusivity and diversity have completely evolved over time, embracing body shapes, gender, race and physical abilities. Diversity has been a priority in showing representation in media, fashion and entertainment, including luxury fashion brands to award-winning films. 

Inclusive fitness classes have also become extremely popular, and they are open to everyone. Disability-friendly classes are accessible for all, delivering safe classes that promote body positivity. From dance classes to yoga sessions, the classes are accessible to all abilities.   

The Body Positivity Movement

After the body-positive moment began, by the 80s and 90s, the NAAFA became global. The Fat Liberation movement became more of a controversial topic, with activists protesting fatphobic advertisements. The London Fat Women’s group was created in the 80s, and many other organisations were created to promote body positivity. By 2000, NAAFA celebrated its 25th anniversary, where body positivity was promoted on social media but also led to trolling and bullying.   

In the early 2000s, diet culture was still a massive issue. The media had become an issue with promoting unrealistic beauty standards. TV shows like America’s Next Top Model, portrayed that women should meet these harmful beauty standards. Runway shows like Victoria's Secret showed unrealistic expectations and requirements for young women due to showing no diversity in body shapes and sizes. The excessive exercises the Victoria's Secret models underwent were unhealthy, but many women idolised their appearance.   

2010 was when the body image movement shifted, promoting more inclusivity and diversity and exploring deeper topics like body neutrality vs body positivity. There was a shortage of diversity in the fashion industry, including race, body shapes and physical abilities. The movement promoted positivity, so people feel comfortable in their bodies. The ‘ideal’ body shape has become less of an influence on women due to the diversity created in the media and fashion industry. There are many brands that have launched body positivity campaigns such as Dove who promoted the real beauty standards and diversity amongst women. 

Inclusive Body Movement

The body movement has created diversity and inclusivity and promoted acceptance. The importance of being body positive is about accepting all body shapes and sizes. It allows people to feel comfortable and be body-positive by stepping away from society’s beauty standards. Brands have prioritised inclusivity with body shapes and physical abilities.   

A great example is Lauren Wasser, a remarkable figure in the fashion industry. Lauren has shown the world that despite her two prosthetic legs, she has worked with huge brands such as Louis Vuitton and led the 2023 fashion runway. Jillian Mercado is a wheelchair user, mostly known for her acting and modelling career. Despite her disability, this hasn’t stopped Jillian from pursuing her dreams by appearing on the cover of Teen Vogue and is an advocate for showing representation.   

There are many stereotypes associated with people with disabilities in the workplace. Promoting inclusivity for people with disabilities has fostered a positive representation that anyone can achieve their dreams.   

How to be More Body Positive

Becoming body positive can have a beneficial effect on your mental and physical health. It’s about appreciating the body you have been given, which you should embrace. Loving yourself is the best thing you can do, but everybody's journey is different to reaching the stage of loving who you are. Taking small but effective steps each day to become more body positive will allow you to view yourself in the best way possible.  

Below are the top 10 tips on how you can become more body positive: 

🌈Stop Comparing Yourself to Others 

Start a gratitude journal where you will write in it each morning what you love about yourself and what you are grateful for.  

🌈Listen to Body Positive Podcasts 

A podcast is a brilliant way to listen to people talk about their experiences of dissatisfaction and how they gained self-confidence.

🌈Accept Compliments 

Take in the moment when receiving a compliment of what someone loves about you. 

🌈Surround Yourself with Positive People 

Positive mindsets are contagious, creating motivation and empowerment. Ways of being body positive on social media is by following influencers who promote self-love and confidence.  

🌈Prevent Negative Talk About Yourself  

Think like a friend, if you heard them say that you would stop them. 

🌈Detox Periods from Social Media  

A detox from social media can give you time to focus on yourself by starting a new hobby or skill.  

🌈Positive Affirmations  

Post positive affirmations around your house such as “I am strong” and “I am enough”. 

🌈Wear What Makes You Happy 

If you wear clothes that make you comfortable, you will feel more confident in loving your body. 

🌈Attend Body Positive Classes  

Surrounded by positive people whilst doing something that can give you confidence. 

🌈Remember Filters on Social Media Still Exist 

Don’t compare yourself to people on social media as filters are still often used which can change the appearance of how you look. 

Top 10 Tips On How to Become Most Body Positive

How Our Life Drawing Classes are Body Positive

We offer male and female life drawing classes depending on what you feel comfortable with. This allows people to pick the model's gender they would prefer for their life drawing class. All the models are of different body shapes and sizes, promoting body positivity and diversity. Our life drawing classes are the perfect way to promote inclusivity, showing people the different body shapes, as nobody is the same. All our venues are equipped with disability access, ensuring that everyone can participate in the classes. 

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