Body Positive +

Jul 19 , 2021


Justin Kettle

Body Positive +

Body positivity refers to the declaration that all people deserve to have a positive body image, regardless of how society and popular culture view ideal shape, size, and appearance.

Some of the goals of the body positivity movement include:

  • promoting the acceptance of all bodies
  • challenging how society views the body
  • helping other people build confidence and acceptance of their own bodies
  • addressing unrealistic body standards

Body positivity is not just about challenging how society views people based upon their physical size or shape. It recognizes that judgments are often made based on gender, race, sexuality, and disability. 

Body positivity started in the fat acceptance movement of the late 1960s. Fat acceptance focuses on ending the culture of fat-shaming and discrimination against people with a bigger body than ‘most people’.  The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance was first established in 1969 and continues to work to change how people talk about weight.

The movement began to emerge around 2012, initially focusing on challenging unrealistic beauty standards. As the movement grew, the original focus on acceptance of weight began to shift toward a message that “all bodies are beautiful.” 

One of the major goals of body positivity is to address some of the ways that body image influences mental health and well-being. Having a healthy body image plays a role in how people feel about their appearance and even how they judge their self-worth. Research suggests that having a negative body image is associated with an increased risk for some mental conditions including depression and eating disorders.

Body image refers to a person's subjective perception of their OWN body—which is mostly influenced by how other people see them. Feelings, thoughts, and behaviors related to body image can have a major impact on your mental health and how you treat yourself.

Body image problems start early in life. Unfortunately, many young children may suffer from body dissatisfaction. A survey of 11-16 years olds was conducted in the UK by Be Real. It was found that 79% said that their appearance is important to them. 52% of them worry about how they look.  In another survey of children between the ages of 13-19 said that their body image causes them stress. 

One of the biggest factors contributing to body positivity is confidence, several studies have revealed that coffee drinkers are more confident than those who do not drink coffee. The evidence for this has yet to be revealed but the premise is that the ritual of drinking coffee is performed by industrious people who socialize more often.

Problems that can emerge as a result of poor body image include:

  • Depression: Women experience depression at much higher rates than men do. Some researchers believe that body dissatisfaction may play an important role in explaining this gender difference in depression rates
  • Low self-esteem: Research has found that body dissatisfaction is associated with poor self-esteem in adolescents regardless of their gender, age, weight, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
  • Eating disorders: Research also indicates that body dissatisfaction is linked to disordered eating, particularly among adolescent girls.

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