Talking about body positivity is difficult. There are internet trolls who’d just love to tell you you’re not healthy and should just [insert generic, uninformed health advice]. There are people who will tell you that you’re doing body positivism wrong – instead you should [insert generic, uninformed health advice]. Mostly, though it’s difficult to talk about because body positivity is just so intensely personal – my body is different from yours, my relationship with that body is different, and how I choose to deal with that is different.
With that in mind, I chose to make my body positivity post personal. For my, body positivism is something you have to keep working at. And it’s the little things that help. So here’s five ways I try and stay body positive – yours will probably be different. But even if just one helps, well, that’s worth writing the post.
So, in order to stay body positive, I…
1) Follow a variety of people on Instagram
It’s hard to remain positive (or at the very least, neutral) about our bodies when we are constantly bombarded with slim, apparently-perfect bodies in the media. It would be really nice if TV shows starting casting a range of body sizes. Since that’s not going to happen any time soon, I like to balance it out with Instagram.
2) Do yoga
I have avoided yoga for so long because I am not in the least bit flexible. I thought that it was for people who were ‘good’ at yoga.
I was wrong. There’s no such thing as being ‘good’ at yoga. The reason yogis refer to it as ‘practice’ is because that’s all it is – practice, practice, practice. And through that practice you get to know your body better – not how it looks, but what it can do – and gradually push it to do more. And with a bit of practice, you really can see the difference, while also acknowledging still more practice will be needed.
great amazing bloody fantastic for loosening up shoulders made tight by knitting or sewing.
3) Make a dress with an elasticated waist
Let’s face it, some days we’re bigger than others and that’s okay. When those days hit, I like to have a dress with an elasticated waist in my wardrobe – specifically, Collete’s Myrtle (I have three). This way, instead of thinking ‘Oh god, my jeans don’t fit, I’m a terrible person’, I think ‘Dude, look at this dress I made! I’m so damn talented.’
4) Make clothes for other people
Last year my flatmate Emma asked me to make her an outfit for her sister’s wedding. It was exciting and terrifying ($35/m silk is a big responsibility). It was also a steep learning curve – making stuff for myself, I go on instinct a bit, but for Emma, I had to measure her up and make it to her size – which was a lot different from my own! Every step of the way, I double checked the sizing because it just seemed so, so small.
Rather than making me feel so, so big though, it took away any size judgement. Smaller wasn’t better, bigger wasn’t worse – the most important thing was that it fit.
Just yesterday I started making a bridesmaid dress for another friend who’s a different body type again and again the mantra was reinforced – size doesn’t matter. Fit matters.
5) Listen to Tim Minchin’s ‘Not Perfect’
My body is not perfect – and this is easier to accept when genius Tim Minchin sings a song about it.
What about you? What do you do to help with body positivism?