Body Positive vs Body Acceptance
Large brand-name companies have used the phrase “body positive” as a major movement title in the fashion industry. With the increase of body positivity in brands and merchandise, the same ideas have moved onto social media platforms. Not only are companies using the hashtag, but hundreds of users on Instagram are utilizing the phrase to caption their images and show off their confidence. The movement has been ground breaking, especially in the last year. Companies are finally being called out for their lack of inclusivity of body types and standards are being pushed.
But there is some talk about the phrase and what it stands for. In a recent article for Glamour, Alyssa Royse writes, “Sometimes it seems that body positivity doesn’t leave any room for insecurities and frustrations, which every single one of us struggles with….Rather than preach body positivity, I’m making a shift toward working on body acceptance in 2019.” It’s important to realize the differences in how each phrase is used because they each have separate meanings. The body positive movement is focused on large companies accepting and treating all body types equally. It is about changing societal standards to accept all bodies of all colors, sizes, and forms. Some people could feel pressure from the overuse of “body positivity,” but ultimately the movement strives to defeat the discrimination of marginalized bodies and so far, it’s helped make so many wonderful changes in the industry.
Body acceptance is something more personal than the movement for body positivity; it falls on the same line as self-love and care and is something that we each take our own time finding. What Royse mentions as a negative effect from focusing on body positivity is the pressure to not feel any insecurities. She states. “I’ve found that the first step in making body acceptance a reality is shifting your focus from how your body looks to what your body can do” and that’s right. Acceptance is treating our bodies with respect, understanding, and care, including any and all of those deepest insecurities. Acceptance is knowing that some days will be harder than others, but still treating our bodies like the beautifully complex machines that keep us alive everyday.
As we continue with these changes in society, we have to make sure to distinguish the ideas in order to get the most out of them. Body acceptance is important for every individual to learn and work towards as a personal goal. But in the media and industry, body positivity is the movement that still needs to be promoted. As more companies begin to shift their focus to inclusivity, diversity, and positivity, we see a larger range in models and celebrities being featured in the media which helps anyone reading the article or viewing the campaign to feel accepted. These ideas go hand-in-hand and we all have to work on changing societal norms to be more accepting.