Is Body Neutrality Taking Over Body Positivity?

WORDs: VICTORIA MCEWAN

As of lately, some gaps in the body positive movement have been revealed: it’s impossible to be positive all the time. Of course, to strive to have a healthy acceptance and love for your body is the ultimate goal, but, some days you just don’t feel entirely happy. Insecurities are still normal. And so, the new term being used is – an acceptance of your body without a focus on it.

Whilst we may not realise or appreciate it, the beauty of life is the mixture of emotions we all go through and learn to cope with. If we were 100% positive all the time there would be no room for self growth, nor would we learn to love our imperfections that make us, us. Body neutrality recognises this; some days we might love our bodies and some days we might not feel 100%, and that’s ok. We shouldn’t feel pressured to love our bodies 24/7. If we do place this pressure upon ourselves it will only create frustration, so body neutrality shows that it is normal to have days where we’re not feeling our best, and, you don’t have to beat yourself up over it.

Another element of body neutrality is that it focuses less on appearances and more on appreciating what your body is capable of: your strong legs which carry you, your hands which create, your personality. It encourages us to shift away from focusing on looks and more on who we are as humans and what good we can bring to the world through our talents and personalities. 

But, does body neutrality take the shine away from how far we have come with the movement? The body positivity movement has allowed so many women to overcome self-loathing and even depression, allowing women of all shapes and sizes to be celebrated. Stephanie Yeboah found the body positivity movement and it enabled her to become an influential writer and plus – size , however with progression she believed body positivity had become ‘a buzzword’ and ‘alienated the very people who created it’ casting the movement as unrepresentative.

All in all, both terms come with good intentions so why is not possible that they co-exist alongside each-other? We should strive to be body positive and love how we look, but at the end of the day we are more than our aesthetics and body neutrality focuses on this, allowing us to accept our bodies for our perfections and our flaws, and to love who we really are and what our bodies are capable of.