Is Body Positivity Too Commercialized?
The body positivity movement has it roots in the 60's, and was specifically created for people with marginalized bodies. Particularly black, queer, over weight and disabled bodies. But is body positivity too commercialized, especially since it's being pushed so frequently by much smaller-bodied influencers?
Before we dissect this question, we have to first point out that there is a massive difference between body positivity, body confidence, self-esteem, body image, body diversity, and body inclusivity. Understanding the key differences in each of these movements, will help to shed light on the commercialization of the body positivity movement.
The Intersectionality of The Various Body Movements
It's no surprise that it can be quite confusing with the verbiage of the various body movements, especially because we utilize each of the terms interchangeably but in fact, they all have different meanings. Let's take a look:
Body Positivity- refers to the assertion that all people deserve to have a positive body image (not just smaller, socially acceptable body types, regardless of how society and popular culture view ideal shape, size, and appearance. Some of the goals of the body positivity movement include: ... Helping people build confidence and acceptance of their own bodies.
Body Confidence-Is how a person feels about the way they look.
Self-Esteem- confidence in one's own worth or abilities; self-respect.
Body Image- is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind.
Body Diversity- is the inclusion and praise of different kinds of body types, shapes, and weights. This includes bodies that belong to people of all races as well as people with disabilities.
Body Neutrality- the idea that you can exist without having to think too much about your body one way or another, positive or negative.
Body Inclusivity-recognition and acceptance of various body types, particularly as it relates to brands or platforms with a large reach of people in an effort for all of those people to feel accepted within that group.
Now that we have a better understanding of the various movements surrounding how we feel about our bodies, it becomes a bit more clear to answer the question if body positivity is becoming too commercialized?
Disingenuous Body Positivity
It's great that the body positivity movement is so wide spread and is doing real work to help people of various body types to feel confident and beautiful. The important thing to keep in mind is that the people that the movement was designed for, shouldn't be alienated out of the movement. This is where we begin to enter the commercialization of it. It's important for the brands and influencers that align themselves with this movement continue to include black, queer, over weight and disabled bodies in their messaging.
The continued inclusion of the people whom the movement was intended for, is the first step in not mis-representing the body positivity movement from it's core objective of inclusion of body types not often viewed as worthy or valuable within society.
Images of real bodies that the body positivity movement was designed for, goes a long way to help move along authentic conversations of body positivity.
Say What You Mean
Regardless of if you're a brand, an influencer or a consumer, kindness and grace go a long way in a world where each of us is just trying to be the best versions of our selves and feel good about who that person is. Recognizing that each of us are at different stages of our journeys, not judging the progress of that individuals journey against others or our own and being kind to each other in the process of that journey goes a long way for us to take ownership of the conversation and the movement out of the hands of the corporate decision makers and the press and lets us be the captains of our destinies...and views of our bodies as women. After all, isn't that the goal?
Have Grace With Yourself
Having grace and patience with your self goes a long way towards the body movement. I can't tell you how many times I've heard women of all shapes and sizes, races, and creeds compare themselves to another woman, then put themselves down in light of that comparison.
Truly moving the needle is going to require not just brands to be more diverse, inclusive and body positive, but also the consumer to be more accepting of who they are. What does that mean? Recognizing that when you compare your natural body to a celebrities body, they had about 15 people to help them look that way then (perhaps) digital editing to that photograph that you're comparing yourself to. That's ok for them. They're getting paid a lot of money to be in that dress, to sell that product. Just be aware of that and have grace with yourself when you see that image.
This leads me to comparison. When we stop the comparisons, we can then look inward and begin to love ourselves more and work on our own insecurities.
This combined effort of honest brand messaging, being kind, having grace with ourselves, and ending the comparison is a great first step to true change and ending the commercialization within the body positivity movement.
Different Races & Nationalities Have Different Builds
Expanding on the "stop comparing yourself to others" mantra and "have grace with yourself", you have to remember that not everyone has the same build because we are not the same people.
So people from East Asia will or may have a different build from someone from Africa, who will or may have a different build from someone from Germany. Them there is the facts. So if we are all inherently built differently, why are we trying SO hard to make our bodies fit into the same mold?
Understand that what you are trying so desperately to do with your body, just may not be possible because of genetics, bone structure, body predispositions and many things that you cannot control. This is where accepting your body comes into play and helps us to begin to be happy with the skin that we're in.
In sort, misusing the terms we addressed earlier, is part of the culprit of the commercialization of the body positivity movement combined with messaging that doesn't follow through with what is being communicated. Once we improve upon those two factors, we can begin to really make some headway into the conversation of true body positivity.
What are your thoughts? Is body positivity too commercialized? Comment below. Let's discuss!