Promoting body positivity
'Don't judge a book by its cover,' the popular saying goes. 'All that glitters is not gold,' is another. 'Fine feathers do not make fine birds,' is a third. What do they have in common? They remind us that something's appearance should not be the most important thing when determining its value. This is what the body positivity movement is all about. Its message is that we should value ourselves for who we are warts and all – accept our flaws and stop judging ourselves against our imperfections.
But it's easier said than done. Despite this rise in positivity, many people still feel insecure about themselves and their appearance because it may not measure up to the objectified stereotype. So what can a person do to improve their own body positivity?
Not comparing your body to others', particularly celebrities', is a good first step. "We're surrounded by these idealised images of what it is to be beautiful," says Becky Young, founder of the Anti Diet Riot Club – a club helping people rethink their relationship with their bodies and food. She points out that comparing only creates a standard we think we need to aspire to and leads to feelings of disappointment if we aren't up to scratch.
'Learn to take a compliment,' recommends Thriveworks, a counselling and coaching website which promotes positive mental health. When someone says something nice, embrace it – don’t push it away or play it down. And compliment others too. If you think someone looks nice, or someone has a good idea, tell them. It can lift them up.
Appreciate your body for what it can do – walking, yoga, playing sport or otherwise. "You can be an incredible human regardless of your shape or size," says Esther Field, a body-positive social media campaigner interviewed by the BBC. After knee surgery, "I attended the gym and realised how strong and capable my body was, even though it was fat."
And finally, don't forget that low self-esteem and body confidence issues affect everyone. "There aren't a lot of guys that are pushing this idea of body positivity," David Fadd, a plus-size male model of two years told the BBC. The social media influencer wants to remind us that body image and confidence affect men too.
Ultimately, the only person who can truly affect your body positivity is you. Becoming comfortable with yourself is unlikely to be accomplished overnight – but don't give up. Remember that everyone is insecure sometimes. And as David Fadd says "be unapologetic about who you are and what you want as a person. Love what you look like."