Body Neutrality - When Looks Have Nothing To Do With All Aspects Of Society
"Love your flaws" implies features outside of the beauty ideal are considered flaws and that you would automatically not love them. In reality, everyone has the so-called ‘flaws’ and that is not something people need ‘fixed’ to be beautiful.
Body positivity has made a name for itself in the past one or two years. The third wave of the movement was particularly used by those in the plus size acceptance movement: a movement created by plus size black and ethnic minority women that focuses on self-love of larger body types. Body positivity has been empowering women all over the internet and has been supported by celebrities like Lizzo. We have also seen surges in the inclusion of larger sizes by notable brands such as ASOS, H&M and Christopher Kane. We have seen plus size models featured in fashion magazines and such actors on TV, but recently there has also been another movement similar to this one: Body Neutrality.
Unlike the utopian idea of Body Positivity, Body Neutrality takes on what some might say a more realistic approach on self-love. The movement neither promotes total love or hate for one's body, and instead is about finding a middle ground of acceptance. Body Neutrality doesn’t push motifs of having to love your body to the limit, but to feel comfortable with being somewhat in the middle. It de-prioritises body image and values strengths and abilities; this can be seen as a less assertive ideal.
The body neutrality movement could also tackle food stigma and diet culture in teens. Body Positivity takes a drastic stance on ‘body beautiful’. When young people want to follow the Body Positive movement, but are struck when they don’t love their body up to its standard, they can feel out of place and essentially feel like they are doing something wrong. Thinking positively about your body all day everyday becomes a toxic goal where one can feel constrained. Instead, body neutrality combats forms of bad body imagery by focusing on support for body dysmorphia and eating disorders.
The Body Positivity movement has also become more commodified. It seems now brands are using this name for profit, in a way that trivialises the whole idea of the movement. Many campaigns claim to celebrate all bodies, when in reality they push forth only one aspect of the beauty ideal.
There are also common phrases associated with the movement like ‘love your flaws’. This implies features outside of the beauty ideal are considered flaws and that you would automatically not love them. In reality, everyone has the so-called ‘flaws’ and that is not something people need ‘fixed’ to be beautiful. If they do this, then they are not living up to the standard of what they are running for and not only failing to challenge the beauty ideal but embedding it further. Instead if we focused on rejecting the beauty standard, then flaws wouldn’t exist. Or perhaps if comments such as ‘you look so pretty today’ instead were replaced with compliments which reflected the attributes of the person, then the stigma around body image would dissipate.