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What Body Positivity Is and Why It’s Important

In the modern world, there are probably few people that have never heard about body positivity. Over the recent years, many companies and magazines have tried to incorporate body positivity into their work, and social media has made this movement even more popular.

5-Minute Crafts wanted to find out more about what body positivity is, and why this movement appeared in the first place.

What body positivity is

Body positivity is a social movement focused on making people accept all bodies, regardless of size, skin color, gender, and abilities. Body positivity challenges unrealistic beauty standards, normalizing body hair, menstruation, and other things. The message, “All bodies are beautiful” means that people should love and appreciate their bodies despite its flaws, and accept its uniqueness.

Why body positivity is important

One of the goals of body positivity is to address how body image influences mental health. Body image is a subjective perception of our own body that may be very different from what we actually look like. The feelings, thoughts, and actions connected with the body image have a direct influence on mental health and self-perception.

Body image is formed at a young age. Even small children may suffer from being displeased with their appearances. For example, a study showed that around 50% of girls and 33% of boys between the ages of 6 and 8 think that their perfect weight is less than their current weight. Results also revealed that 25% of kids had tried some type of dieting behavior by the age of 7.

Poor body image may cause the following problems:

  • Mental issues
    Women experience certain mental problems more often than men, which may be caused by their body image dissatisfaction.
  • Low self-esteem
    Body dissatisfaction causes low self-esteem in adults regardless of their gender, age, weight, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
  • Eating disorders
    Poor body image can cause eating disorders, especially in teenage girls.

The problem is not only that people are constantly exposed to the “ideal,” but that they think that being thin is the only way to be beautiful and successful. The people that believe this are often dissatisfied with their bodies and try diets they don’t need. Body positivity strives to help people recognize these negative influences and to form realistic body expectations.

How to practice body positivity

If you realize that a voice in your head keeps harping on your body flaws, try taking the following steps:

  • Be more positive. Think about how much your body does for you: it lets you feel and recognize the world around you, laugh, and dance. You can even write messages of positivity down on small notes.
  • Think about the people around you: How do they make you feel? Are they critical or positive about their bodies? It’s much easier to be positive about yourself when your friends and family are on the same page with you.
  • Don’t subscribe to accounts that post unrealistic photos of people. You should remember that these pictures are edited, and even though these people look perfect in their photos, they have their own problems in their lives.
  • Be active: Physical activity doesn’t just have a positive influence on your appearance, but also on your mental state and emotions.
  • If you notice that you compare your appearance to that of other people, remind yourself that we’re all attractive in our own ways.
  • Talk to someone, be it a doctor to help you with body image disorders, or a therapist you can discuss certain problems with.
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