• Shelby Negosian

body neutrality

Today I learned the term body neutrality. As a woman, I feel as if insecurities are ingrained in our minds. My first trip to Hawaii, I was maybe nine years old. I took careless pictures in my bathing suit because I was simply playing. When my mother posted the pictures on Facebook, showing them to me later, I got a real look at my body for the first time. Entirely too early, I began to cover up.

Body positivity is a movement of love for your flaws, in the face of the beauty standard. But in order to love those flaws, I was forced to identify them. My acne, my shape, my bumpy nose were never a problem for me until I was forced to view it as such. Natural features become obstacles. Women eternally chase an unrealistic and ever-changing beauty standard. Corporations profit off this pursuit. Beauty is perfectly unattainable - rooted in white supremacy, fat-phobia, and ableism - and therefore, so is body positivity.

Chelsea Kronengold from the National Eating Disorders Association defines this term: "'The body positive movement urges people to love their bodies no matter what they look like, whereas body neutrality focuses on what your body can do for you rather than what it actually looks like'" (https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/health-wellness/2021/04/22/lizzo-criticized-body-positivity-what-body-neutrality/7317015002/). Body neutrality removes the pressure from women to value themselves in tandem with their attractiveness. Instead, adopting a neutral mindset, body neutrality rejects the beauty standard entirely.

My struggle with my body, as well as many other young girls my age, has been draining. Body positivity, personally, opened my scope of insecurity. And recently, body neutrality has healed the process. I am much happier in my body now, no longer searching for validation.