The rise of the body positive movement

Body positivity is everywhere. This movement that has been making a lot of noise in the past decade. Between the Victoria’s Secret controversy and the critics of Brandy Melville’s one size only, we live in a time where “body positivity” has almost become a trend and a strategy used to promote products to younger generations. Last week, Olay announced that they will stop retouching bodies in their ads, which some have criticized as a way to simply target younger consumers. But what is body positivity and what does this social movement consist of? According to Collins dictionary, body positivity is the idea that people should feel happy with and proud of their body, no matter the shape or size of it.

After decades of medias and the fashion industry promoting an unattainable thin woman (often overly photoshopped) as the ideal of beauty. Society is shifting and is starting to allows us to view a diversity of bodies as beautiful. The #bodypositivity movement tries to show that beauty should not be defined by the size that you wear. Currently, a bunch of artists and public figures use their platforms to promote self-love and self-acceptance, such as Marianna Mazza. During her interview for “Tout le monde en parle” earlier this month, Marianna Mazza said that she loves her belly rolls and that she finds herself beautiful with the body that she has. Singer Safia Nolin also showed that the size does not matter and that every body is different, yet still beautiful. In her music video for Lesbian Break-up Song, showing a diversity of bodies, she became one of the first artist in Quebec to promote body positivity. This movement has undeniably allowed individuals of all shape and sizes to feel represented and be accepting of their body.

But on the other hand, this movement has its flaws. As soon as someone mentions a different idea than the dominant opinion within this movement, that person gets labelled as “fat-phobic”. Society is still uncomfortable with obesity, and although it is true that someone who is overweight can be healthy, some critics of the movement find it promotes an unhealthy lifestyle. Celebrity fitness coach from “The Bigger Looser”, Jillian Michaels found herself in the middle of a controversy earlier this year. After questioning why singer Lizzo was being “celebrated” for her figure, she was automatically labelled as “fat-phobic”. To a few, this movement promotes “fat acceptance” which to them is promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. In addition, “body positive” activists seem to do the opposite of what they are promoting, which is supposed to be the acceptance of all sizes. The common saying “real women have curves” and “zero is not a size” might put forward women who do have curves at the expense of women who are naturally thin. This could create a similar situation as the initial one where women who were curvy felt the pressure to lose weight, where women who are naturally skinny could feel the pressure to gain more weight.

In conclusion, the body positivity movement is shifting our perception of beauty and allowing women of all shapes and sizes to feel beautiful. If this movement achieves its goal, women will no longer feel pressured to have a thigh gap, or be skinny in order to be beautiful. The fact that more and more businesses and public figures have stopped retouching their pictures also allows the regular woman to stop comparing herself to an unattainable image. But, in order to achieve this, this movement needs to stop prioritizing one shape over the other, and include all shapes and sizes, thin or curvy and skinny or thick.

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