What is Body Positivity?

An image including a variety of bodies, representing the idea of body positivity.


An image including a variety of bodies, representing the idea of body positivity.

Karina Shah, Photojournalist

In the past few years, a new movement for body positivity has risen. It appears on clothing brands, food advertising, and especially social media platforms. A large and worldwide movement, body positivity continues to spread. But, what is body positivity? 


Body positivity is a movement that encourages people of any type to be proud of their bodies. Body positivity encourages the idea that everyone is a unique individual that should love themself. These ideals extend to people of all types. The roots of this movement started with unrealistic feminine beauty standards. The idea that women should not have to do a full face of makeup, be small, and confine themselves to society’s ideals was the original focus. As diet culture curated, the body positive movement began to focus on weight as a limiting factor for people. The message then became that “all bodies are beautiful”. Body positivity has since expanded to every possible part of a person that can mean not being within society’s standard of beauty. Depending on who you ask, body positivity can mean: appreciating your body with flaws, feeling confident about your body, loving yourself, accepting your body’s shape and size. This has extended to disabilities, amputation, skin problems, and anything else that is not typically interpreted as “ideal”. 


Since the body positivity movement has begun, the idea of how we view the physical body has been challenged. This movement has encouraged people to think about health, instead of weight. In addition to that, it has created a new place in media for those who are not within the usual group. Magazines, especially, have started incorporating a more diverse selection for their images. The fashion industry has created a place for those that fit into the body-positive movement to be considered beautiful through a public lens. In addition to those, the entertainment industry has started to open up to extend to people’s talents; they consider the looks of a person much less than before. Influencers like Lizzo and Winnie Harlow have been able to rise up to the occasion and speak their mind about how people should love themselves, regardless of how they look. Chris Yacht (11), says that he has seen “so many new influencers trying to encourage body positivity”. Simply put, this movement has changed society’s view on people’s appearances through the normalization of being unique. 


While the body positive movement has been occurring for a good amount of time, it is far from over. There is still backlash from those who support the traditional standards of beauty established decades ago. With that said, it is important to always remember to be positive yourself and to always be kind to others. This movement is still rising and will continue to rise until the difference is normalized within society.