Practicing Body Positivity
This time of year can be pretty tricky when it comes to being a body in this world. “Get a beach body now!” messages are popping up on magazine covers and you hear people worrying about going sleeveless or shaming themselves for eating ice cream. It has been heartening to see some pushback (especially on the internet) about this like this meme about bikini bodies…
While I love memes as much as the next internet nerd, it doesn’t seem like quite enough. Does much really change when I click ♡ ? At the same time, dismantling the patriarchal systems of oppression that value only specific bodies can seem overwhelming (and might be slightly beyond the scope of this blog post).
The little things we choose to do and surround ourselves with really make a difference and are themselves a form of resistance to these oppressive systems. Like Audre Lorde wrote: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Let that one sink in.
So I found myself asking: how am I actually practicing body positivity in the day-to-day? What does it feel like to be in this body? How do I treat it, and what messages about it do I choose to surround myself with?
Here’s a short list of some of the things - whether it be music, media, or finding ways to exercise that don’t suck (and aren’t focused on weight loss) - that have been part of my practice of body positivity:
Read: The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
Listen: Cuz I love You (Album) by Lizzo
These seem like small things, but it’s the small things that make up a life. Representation matters, even if it’s just seeing someone with a body a bit like yours who is a real human, and not just the punchline to a joke.
Body positivity isn’t just a practice of affirmations - it means showing up and treating your body like something to be valued how it is right now.
Amanda Hamm is a registered clinical counsellor who also happens to have experience being a body in the world. She specializes in helping folks work through shame and develop compassion for themselves, just as they are.