Label volunteer, Leah Langley, shares her research and views on body positivity and Body Positivity Movement.
Body positivity refers to “the assertion that all people deserve to have a positive body image, regardless of how society and popular culture view ideal shape, size, and appearance.” It is a subject that is heavily discussed in the world of social media as there is a constant influx of posts and hashtags that are trying to show appreciation for all body types.
A vast amount of research has been conducted into examining the relationships between social media and body image. It has repeatedly been found that social media detrimentally effects body image due to the beauty ideals that are shared on various platforms. There is one movement that is trying to challenge these beauty ideals, across all forms of social media, known as the “Body Positivity Movement.”
The Body Positivity Movement has become particularly prevalent on social media, especially over the last few months, and this has been largely able to happen due to more people using social media. The movement aims to change society’s current messages about beauty, as they are seen as unobtainable and damaging, and it instead motivates people to welcome diversity in appearance. It is clear that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to the different body types that are seen today and so the movement encourages people to embrace the features they have that may not be considered attractive by current beauty ideals. Brands have also followed the Body Positivity Movement as seen with Rihanna’s recent SavageXFenty line which received predominantly positive feedback for including more diverse models.
There is criticism around the movement though as recent studies found that accounts using the hashtags of the movement appeared alongside contradictory messages that promoted weight loss and dieting regimes. It makes clear that there is a difficulty when it comes to appreciating differences in body types. Whilst the movement wants to ensure that bodies of all sizes are viewed as beautiful, this also has to include those body types that are naturally thin.
Whilst the answer doesn’t seem clear cut, it appears that society just wants to feel included. Rather than favouring certain body types over others, people are just wanting to feel that they are seen within the targeting of brands and the advertisement of certain products. Whilst it may be impossible for one brand to create adverts that represent every individual, it is not impossible for them to be more inclusive of the materials that they publish.
Header by volunteer Lydia Potrykus
Article edited by Uchenna Omo-Bamawo – Culture Editor