What My Body Positivity Looks Like

Body acceptance is awesome. One of my favourite things about the blogosphere and the internet and the selfie trend that people like to write off as narcissism, is that people who are underrepresented in the media can put images of themselves looking and feeling amazing out there for the world to see. And body acceptance isn’t just a matter of community. People who do not fit the preconceived idea of beauty are routinely discriminated against, abused and belittled. If you don’t think this is the case, you’re not listening to enough voices. I think the body acceptance movement is a tremendous force for good, and that’s why I want to see it say the right things.

body acceptance

I debated a lot over putting up this post. I get a lot of privilege because of my body. I don’t have people snigger at me in the street. I don’t have people tell me what I should and shouldn’t wear. I don’t have people make judgements about my work ethic, professionalism or motivation based on my body shape. When I go to the doctor, it isn’t assumed that I’m causing my own problems. The worst I can expect is hurt feelings every now and then. So I don’t want to wade in and drown out the voices of the people who do go through stuff like this on a daily basis. Nobody wants another #alllivesmatter or #notallmen. So please, feel free to call me out if I overstep the mark here. But there are a couple of messages I’ve seen from the body positive community that I think are unhelpful for everyone.

“This is sexy. This is shit.”

This is a slogan I saw emblazoned across a photograph of Kelly Brook beside a supermodel walking the catwalk. Unfortunately, I feel like describing any body type as “shit” isn’t really what body acceptance is about. I understand the anger that comes from seeing the same woman on every poster, in every advert, on every catwalk. But taking that restrictive ideal and replacing it with another restrictive ideal doesn’t really make anything better. Kelly Brook is gorgeous. There’s no denying that. But that doesn’t mean that being Kelly Brook is the only way to be beautiful. Every time I see a magazine championing “women with curves”, it’s always the same photograph I see. It’s always a white woman. She has long legs, big boobs, big hips and a tiny little waist. It’s always Marilyn Monroe or Dita Von Teese. Body acceptance should be about widening our definition of beauty, not just switching it out. There are so many wonderful ways to be beautiful and it comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. We should be celebrating each other. This isn’t a competition. I contact Hayley from Curves and Curls about three times a week to admire her boobs. She doesn’t fit that Kelly Brook mould, but that doesn’t stop her killing it every single day. And that doesn’t make me feel threatened, or any less like a woman. It makes me proud to be a member of such a thoroughly kick ass, sexy gender.

“Oh God, eat a sandwich or something.”

I get this a lot. And I get that this really isn’t that bad compared with the crap that overweight girls have to deal with. But it’s not the statement itself that bothers me, so much as the implication behind it. That I’m skinny because I don’t eat enough. By that logic, people are fat because they eat too much. And considering how much of the body positive message is about not being able to tell how much someone eats, how active they are or how healthy they are by their body shape, this is a seriously damaging claim to be staking. Just don’t do it. Uncool.

“Bones are for dogs. Men like curves.”

Oh, did you speak to all of them? Damn, I was operating under the impression that my boyfriend finds me and my body attractive. Silly of me, I know.

This statement is offensive to both sexes. Firstly, it assumes that men are cookie cutter, only capable of finding one thing attractive. And they’re not. My boyfriend’s commitment to both me and Christina Hendricks is proof of that.

But more importantly, this bases a woman’s confidence in her body on a man’s approval. What is that about? It’s not exactly a shocking revelation that confidence that is based on validation from other people isn’t the most unshakeable confidence. If we made decisions solely on what “men like”, we wouldn’t have high waisted jeans. Or purple lipstick. Or massive jumpers. And I am not willing to give up on any of those. And don’t even get me started on the assumption that all women are into men.

“Real women…”

Okay, lemme just stop you right there before you embarrass yourself. Being a real woman has absolutely nothing to do with your body. You don’t need boobs to be a real woman. You don’t need curves to be a real woman. You don’t need a thigh gap to be a real woman. You don’t need a vagina to be a real woman. Do you identify as a woman? Congratulations, welcome to the real woman’s club! We’re all real women, and nice women wouldn’t try to shut out their fellow women based on their body type.

Now, I’ve ranted enough. I’d like to hand you over to some awesome ladies who really know what they’re talking about. Here are some women who preach body positivity, look beautiful, and generally exist in a way that makes me want to both shake their hand and snog their faces off. Get them followed. And please, if there are any bloggers/writers that you cannot believe I missed out, give me a shout! I’m always looking for new stuff to read and love.

Rosie Astbury.

Ucantwearthat.

Fuller Figure Fuller Bust.

Naomi Griffiths.

Marie Denee.

Danie Vanier.

A Wheelbarrow Full of Style.

Frocks and Frou Frou.

Georgina Grogan.

11 thoughts on “What My Body Positivity Looks Like

  1. I freakin’ LOVE what you’ve written; every single word of it. There’s absolutely nothing body positive about tearing down other women to empower yourself, and it drives me crazy every time I see it. This is something that I write about all the time.

    Great article!

    Much love
    xx Anastasia Amour // http://www.anastasiaamour.com

    • Wow. I have never agreed with any blog post more. You have literally captured every little thing I would say on the matter too, and I’m pretty tempted to post my own picture of myself as a “real woman” too. Amazing post, absolutely fantastic blog overall too x

      • fionalongmuir says:

        Thank you so much! What an utterly lovely comment. Yeah, I’m fed up beating myself up for not having a waist and big boobs. We are ALL so beautiful, and I can’t wait until everyone can see that :)

  2. What a great and true post. You are right, and all this nonsense of putting others down to feel better about ourselves is just crap. I think there is a lot to be said for actively looking for the beauty in others too, not just assuming people have types and sticking to that. Have you ever noticed with friends how the longer you know someone and the better you get to know them the more beautiful they become. Because beauty is such a complex and delicate arrangement of experiences, impressions, aesthetics that it is ridiculous to say that one thing holds beauty and another does not. Seriously people get a grip. So I say look for it in everyone. Find what makes people beautiful. Be body and beauty positive. And then you will find it even more easily in yourself too.
    My boobs thank you for the publicity (as do I!). And seriously you have the most amazing skin ever. If we actually meet I may have to lick you. I hope that’s cool… x

  3. Such a brilliant and well written post, Fiona. There’s nothing positive about shaming one type of body shape over another, and it’s something which really irks me because the focus is completely taken off of loving yourself as a person and looking after your mental and physical health and becomes another way to demonise eachother. Love, love, love this post! – Tasha

  4. Absolutely! You’ve hit that nail right on the head!
    I love body positivity, I’m all for “if you are happy, then that’s all that matters” and things like “if you like it, wear it, be it, listen to it, etc etc..”.

    It should always be about everyone being beautiful, equally as beautiful as the next person. It should never be about, this isn’t beautiful and this is, or men don’t like this, or people don’t like this. It should just be about people being nice to each other and everyone being accepted…

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