Opinion

Real Body Positivity Has Nothing to Do with Loving Your Body

How “body neutrality” is revolutionizing how we look at our bodies

Shadman Aziz STAFF WRITER

Image: Her Campus

As an avid fitness enthusiast, I greatly respect people who are actively trying to better their physical condition, be it for a certain aesthetic, or a health goal. Even that initial small step in the right direction can be extremely difficult to take. 

In my opinion, the first step toward bettering oneself is accepting your current state and making your peace with it. You do not have to love where you are currently at or be content with it, but accepting your current condition is paramount if you want to make any sustainable changes at all. This is because, if you don’t care about your own body, the long hard road to your dream physique will seem nothing more than a pipe dream, as it takes consistency and dedication to achieve, and you will never be able to be consistent if you do not care about your overall health in the first place.  

The notion of accepting one’s current form has been perverted in recent times, and is now a dangerous ideology being peddled under the veil of “body-positivity.” This very movement was initially meant to be empowering for women and men of diverse proportions, colours, and shapes to feel more comfortable in their own skin, which is an amazing initiative since most magazine covers and shoots are photoshopped beyond recognition.

Now instead of hearing, “You must accept your current self while constantly trying to better yourself,” we hear, “You are perfect the way you are and society has to change to fit your lifestyle.” This is problematic because although it is possible to be happy with your body at any size, it may not always be healthy. There is a fine line between being happy with your body, and being unhealthy, which is why it is important to recognize that perhaps we need to focus on more realistic goals when it comes to achieving a healthy relationship with our bodies.

Recently, a new term has surfaced called “body-neutrality.” This movement takes away from the extremely unrealistic journey of loving one’s body every single day, and instead places an emphasis on the middle ground by suggesting that we should all try to accept and be kind to our bodies, no matter their condition. While it is definitely a reality that not everyone can genetically achieve “the body of their dreams,” the idea that there is nothing wrong with having an unhealthy physique based on one’s bodily proportions can become dangerous in emotional, physical, and mental ways.

I am not advocating to shame people to drastically change their bodies, since that is not the answer to cultivating a healthy relationship with one’s body. In my opinion, accepting your current self is the first step to self-improvement. Any changes you make to your physical condition should be made in an effort to adopt a better lifestyle to the best of your ability, with your health in mind. Cultivating an improved relationship with yourself is one of the most important things that you can do to become the best version of YOU.