The Beauty of Body Diversity and Why It Is On Us to Represent It
Too many of us have looked at the covers of magazines or popular social media pages and questioned why they don’t reflect the diversities of the bodies we see around us. We ask ourselves why they keep selling ‘body positivity’ as body improvement. We wonder why they keep talking about body diversity but then encourage and teach us how to lose weight, cellulite, wrinkles, and really our unique body identity. We look at the covers and feel like there is something wrong with us, because we are never there. Even the real bodies of super models are not enough without tucking, smoothing, and photo shopping in to some bullshit idea of perfection. And then it hits us that no matter the time we put in at the gym, or the food we eat, there is still too much pressure to be something that isn’t even real, to believe that there is only one kind of ‘perfect body’. That has a damning effect. It makes us turn inward, assuming that it is us because we aren’t acceptable to society’s standards. We torture ourselves trying to fit in to a box and body that we are not meant to be in. We become a shell of ourselves and then we hide it all.
There have been strides, such as Aerie doing unretouched photos or Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition adding body diversity to their magazine. But it is still not enough, we still live in a society that praises certain body types and promotes the judgment of others. The thing we all need to know and understand without question is; every body is a good body, all beautiful, all stunning, each one different from the other, none of them less, all of them brilliant. We have to keep working to change the message. There is NOTHING more perfect or desirable about just one body type; they are different, just as each of us is different, and when we see diversity presented what that creates is a feeling of togetherness. We let go of comparison and create acceptance, not just of our own body but of those around us. We stop being so judgmental. The more we see the better this becomes. Because in the diversity of bodies we start to see ourselves and the other women around us, we appreciate other women’s unique selves and recognize what makes us all gorgeous in our own right. You see beauty is not easily defined; it is not one size fits all, it is different to every person, and every person has a right to see it differently without the pressure of society’s standards. Every person has the right to know their body is beautiful without the bullshit shame that comes with only recognizing one type of beauty. It is refreshing that we are making some strides to realize that, appreciate it, and put all types of beauty in places we thought we would never see it BUT we still need more of this. It is time to embrace and encourage an open ended definition of beauty.
So this is my call to action and yours: It is time for all of us to step up. With the enormity of social media we are now capable of changing the message. We can inspire the change we need to see. I need to accept my body and I need you to accept your body (and even better, love it). I need to show my body in all of its realness and I need you to do it too. We cannot hide them. When we hide our bodies, when we shame them, out of fear that they are not ‘perfect enough’, a young woman believes that hers is not good enough either because she cannot find a body that reflects hers in the images around her. Encourage the women in your life, young and old, to be proud of their body as well. Lift them up. Stand up to the use of disrespectful language about how a woman looks, stop people from putting themselves down. The only way any of us will be able to see diversity is if it is actually there. Body diversity is so damn beautiful! Have you seen the fabulous women in the photo for this blog, not a single one like any other and all amazing. It is time to step up and be the change, no more hiding, no more shame, just honesty, realness, and acceptance of all the beauty that is in us and surrounds us.