Body, body, body.
What comes to mind when you read that word? Perhaps sports, health, doctors, or perhaps something far more likely: weight.
Diet culture. That”s why.
The best way I can describe diet culture is this: it seeps. Snapchat ads of bellies flattening, bottoms rounding, hips thinning, and thighs narrowing. TikTok videos encourage you to eat a certain way in order to get that ‘perfect summer body’. Instagram influencers promoting quick-fix meal replacement shakes, every advertisement ever – they are skinny. They’re skinny, perfect and happy, and the key is being thin. The terrifying part is that it’s deliberate – marketing teams thrive off of women’s insecurities, insecurity they themselves plant there to profit from.
Diet culture seeps into your skin, casting desired goals that creep over your vision as you look at your soft thighs in the mirror, pinching the survey bits at the side of your hips. It’s something that tells you that it’s right not to be content with your body, which keeps you alive every moment. Something that a lot of people don’t have the privilege of.
The majority of us are extremely privileged when it comes to our bodies, and we don’t even realise it. Our world was designed for able bodies, and if your body is different, it is so, so much more difficult to do anything, or perhaps impossible, depending on the circumstances. The fact that we may not be a size eight, or have the “perfect” bum or abs doesn’t mean anything. The fact we can move around without pain, and get around in life with ease of access, is a freedom others could only wish for.
Diet culture tells you to forget that, – you should want to be skinny. Skinny is healthy – lose weight, have abs, and you’ll have achieved the secret to eternal happiness. But you won’t, because those advertisements will never leave you alone.
You’ll have to be skinnier.
There is no finish line.
When you’re trying on clothes, and they’re too small, we think ‘I should be able to fit into this.’ But when they’re too big, it’s just a shame. Because we should be skinnier. We are told that we should always be skinnier. Here’s the truth: clothes either fit or they don’t. It doesn’t matter if it’s too big or too small, they both don’t fit you. Please don’t berate your body for not shrinking into a series of seams and materials properly.
There is a movement out there fighting this. Body positivity. I urge you to fill your Instagram feed with beautiful women with full bodies, with different bodies, with prosthetics, who use wheelchairs, all gorgeous and loving themselves. I urge you to unfollow anyone who promotes a thin lifestyle (thin, not healthy. Those are two completely differing concepts).
But the thing is, being positive about anything 24/7 is almost impossible. Even when you understand everything that your body does for you on a daily bases, there will be times when you just can’t bring yourself to be positive about it.
So, may we introduce you to a new term?
It can be hard to make the transition from hating your body to loving it, with strong feelings on the opposite ends. It can be difficult to stare at it in the mirror and love the exact things you previously hated, those rolls on your stomach, the softness of your curves. It’s a drastic change of mind, and anything like that is challenging. We want to offer an alternative, a midway point.
Try to stop viewing your body from the outside. Try to simply be in it.
It’s a chance to explore the world. You are given a body, the best gift of all, to climb, to run, to shout, to cry, to feel. Understanding this and not forcing it into society’s box – is the greatest gift you can give it. You don’t have to love your body. You just need to understand that its purpose is not to please others’ eyes. Try not to spend time picking out your perceived flaws, or comparing yourself to others. Distract yourself, paint, draw, and create something, and it does not have to be beautiful. Like your body, the joy in painting, or whatever you love to do, is not how it looks. It’s how it feels.
Your body is not an ornament. It does not need to be “pretty.” It needs to keep your blood flowing through your heart so you can love, through your lungs so you can laugh, and through your fingers so you can pet dogs. Understand this, and let go of the need to appear aesthetic. Your body holds your story in it.
Why be ashamed of it?
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