musings : body positivity on social media & body acceptance

18 October 2020

In the media, there are accounts dedicated to positivity where attention is always drawn to the hosts imperfections, or accounts with a big following will intermittently do posts that highlights a part of their body which society has regarded as 'not beautiful'. There are women in crop tops who grab there rolls, who write lengthy captions about how they don’t care about their cellulite. There seems to be a long way to go until people can simply ~be~, where photographs that aren’t completely posed will be posted without a caption that gives reason as to why you can see a stomach roll. I also fall victim to it, but it also feels a bit damaging, or slightly, I dont know, less positive? I am sure there are big accounts that post photos of a chubby body/ body with scars etc without a lengthy caption to accompany it, or without reasoning behind such acceptance, but at the moment it feels like publicsed bodily ‘imperfections’ has to be in conjunction with a reason- a reason of showing that such imperfections are okay/ about the history of a battle with food/ a letting go of caring about social stigmas - but why is there rarely a case of women just being that way. It seems intristincally linked to everyday life as well- to tell others of our bloating not in a way to complain of the discomfort but to alert people that this isnt the ‘real size’ of our stomachs. It just all feels a bit out of wack that we are a society so insistent upon changing the perception of women, abolishing the narrative of 'this is how a womans body should be' yet still feel the need to justify our natural bodies.

I know that to achieve body positivity you do have to celebrate things that were once deemed an imperfection, but body positivity just doesn’t always feel entirely connected to real life. Do I have to let people know that I am aware of my cellulite and that I love it? Should I let people know that I am aware of my hairy armpits but just don't care? Does this make sense? Why can't we simply just exist?

(from left-right) image 1  |  image 2  |  image 3 image 4  |  image 5 backgrounds

On a similar wave length of frustration; there are all these posts about the ‘before and after’ of posing and editting, especially from influencers, which are wonderful to see. But then why do such accounts continually post photographs of themselves in an 'after' pose, angling themselves in such a way so that their body does reflect what is idiolised? 
I do love everyone celebrating their bodies, and I like posts that are about ones journey to self love. I just think it isn't right that popular accounts will post a photo one day of their body looking how it normally does and then always posting extremely posed and edited photos on other days. I know self love is tough, and people can be horrible, but I do think people with large platforms and big followings have a responsibility to normalise the way their bodies usually look and to not make self love such an intermittent thing. 

In saying all this, I know body positivity in the media has come a long way, and that lengthy captions justifying a post may be a defence against trolls or simply a celebration of journeys to body positivity. Yet such justifcations and captions don't coincide with body acceptance all the time, as there shouldn't always be the need to give explanation to our bodies. It is just an exciting thing to think about, when bodies will be posted without always being accompanied by an explanation, to simply admire a photograph that doesn’t come with a paragraph about how it is okay to look that way, because soon hopefully all girls will know that it is okay to look any way.

I have found it my mission to find instagram accounts that celebrate healthy and attainable bodies without always being accompanied by lengthy captions. Here are a few accounts I have been following and have inspired a new body positivity within myself, and I hope you experience the same:

@_nelly_london - she also has a youtube channel, but this is just her insta
@thenutritiontea -  less so an example of normalisation but simply reminders of how to live a happy and healthy life 

to be honest, I am sure there are a lot more but @_nelly_london is one of my favourite accounts. Just a beautiful woman loving her body and spreading positivity and acceptance. 

moving into third year

6 October 2020

The past summer has not been a fulfilling one, but for that I only partly have my poor planning skills to blame whereas the main cause has been the bloody pandemic. However, I do feel grateful that my summer was only effected by corona in the sense that it meant summer could not fully be experienced, as opposed to anything more sinister. I'm actually glad that summer is now over, as it feels more refreshing to be back at university and to have begun learning. I often find summer is a time of mental relaxation, or at least a time when the unsurities of life lessen in light of hazy summer days, yet that mental alleviation did not happen this summer. Now, being back at university, coronavirus feels less stressful as masks have become the norm and socially distanced coffee dates prove that friendships can prevail despite the dire circumstances. It all just feels a bit more calm, my first day of online learning was not too horrendous and nothing academic wise has become too overwhelming yet. The threat of isolation and being away from home at Christmas is beginning to get more intense, but I don't know, you just have to think that everything will be okay otherwise it will be impossible to live. 

Despite the circumstances, summer was good. I spent a lot of days working and organising days off so that I could travel up north to see friends. The sunshine in Leeds did not erase the lust for sunny days in european cities, but the trips always came as welcome breaks. I discovered my love of bike riding, and now have a beautiful bike with me, I read many good books, went on beautiful walks along the beach in Newcastle, went pottery painting, embroidered, swam and all in all despite a lack of genuine adventure in retrospect summer was not too bad. Just not the summer that I felt was deserved after a difficult year, but heyho summer will come back and at least this summer motivated me to finally get a bike. 

I am nervous about the year ahead, I fear how the stress of third year will combine with the anxiety surrounding covid. There is some comfort in the knowledge many are in the same position as me, yet the unknowable nature of corona really lessens that sense of comfort. I also feel sad at how my third year will pan out, that many of the good times I experienced in Leeds will not happen again but to focus on what will not happen will only make times even bleaker. For now though, I can rely on the promise of interesting modules, occassional pub outings and an array of wonderful people in my life to help make this year as brilliant as it can be.

there is no photo in this post because i am a trendsetter, and also, my life has been dull and the sights have been rainy, so there is not much to photograph.  

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