Table of contents:
- If you want to arrange a discussion on your page for a couple of hundred comments, just write something about body positivity. True, the conversation is unlikely to be like a well-reasoned polemic. It is much more likely that this will be a statement of stereotypes: "self-justification of fat lazy aunts", "a community of lovers of dyeing axillary hair", "neglect of hygiene for the sake of shocking" - such ideas are widespread and at the same time incredibly far from the truth. What is body positive and what is its meaning in reality?
- Understanding the roots
- What is the essence
- Victims of "beauty"
- Who benefits from it
Video: Bodypositive: What Is It And Why Is It Needed? - Quality Of Life, Self-development
If you want to arrange a discussion on your page for a couple of hundred comments, just write something about body positivity. True, the conversation is unlikely to be like a well-reasoned polemic. It is much more likely that this will be a statement of stereotypes: "self-justification of fat lazy aunts", "a community of lovers of dyeing axillary hair", "neglect of hygiene for the sake of shocking" - such ideas are widespread and at the same time incredibly far from the truth. What is body positive and what is its meaning in reality?
Understanding the roots
The history of the movement goes back a little over twenty years. Its founders are Connie Sobchak and Elizabeth Scott, who in 1996 developed a support program for teenage girls who have difficulty accepting their own bodies. Prevention of eating disorders that kill hundreds of girls and women every year has become one of the organization's most important tasks. However, very soon the goals of body positive were formulated in a much broader way.
In the book Learn to Love Your Unique Body, Connie Sobchak emphasizes that the principles he and Elizabeth developed are suitable for all people, regardless of age, race, gender and social status, health status, etc.
In Russia, the ideas of body positivity have appeared since the 2010s, and now they are spread mainly in the Internet space: blogs, online communities and virtual support groups. However, the activists periodically implement offline projects: thematic exhibitions, lectures, performances and other cultural and educational events.
Among the most famous representatives of the Russian-speaking body positivity are the creator of the Bodypositive page Sofia Egorova, artists Sonya Borisova and Helen Kumi, sex blogger Tatyana Nikonova, and others.
What is the essence
Since body positivity is more of a social movement than a clearly structured ideology, the views of its followers on the main tasks may differ somewhat. Within the movement, several relatively independent directions are distinguished: "functionalist", "accepting", "radical". They differ in conceptual content and emphasis in the transmitted ideas and meanings.
However, there are several general, most important ideas that are supported in one way or another by the supporters of all these directions:
1. Respect for personal boundaries
The slogan “My body is my business!”, Which is often called the most important principle of body positive, directly and unequivocally indicates that the violation of the bodily boundaries of the human body is unacceptable and violates the basic right of the individual to safety.
This applies not only to manifestations of physical or verbal aggression, but also to attempts to control a person's right to dispose of his own body - at the level of interpersonal communication (for example, recommendations for women to "eat less" or "dress modestly") or at the level of legislation (for example, a total ban on committing abortion).
2. Acceptance of yourself and your own body
This concept includes several important practices: taking care of your own health and well-being, accepting your own uniqueness, the right to refuse to follow generally accepted beauty standards, etc. In Russian-speaking communities there are some discrepancies in the interpretation of the word positive - it is often translated as "positive", that is, "happy, joyful", and therefore "body positive" is understood as "self-love."
But the term "acceptance" is somewhat broader and can include a variety of feelings in relation to your own body. In English, there is another meaning: "reliable, undoubted" - from this point of view, any body, with all its scars, stretch marks, folds and wrinkles is real, reflects a certain part of a person's life experience, and therefore does not need it was hidden behind “correct” clothing or retouching.
Weight, age, facial features, skin color and other manifestations of the diversity of human bodies cannot be the basis for systemic oppression or persecution of anyone. Despite the seeming simplicity of this thesis, people who are noticeably different in one way or another from the majority, quite often experience manifestations of various forms of hatred.
Even the most seemingly harmless of them - offensive comments under photographs on the Internet - is quite capable of provoking psychological and even mental disorders. The prevalence of fat-phobic, misogynistic, ageistic, xenophobic beliefs in real life creates a huge variety of problems - from discrimination in hiring to failure to provide adequate medical care.
Victims of "beauty"
In 1990, the book by the American writer Naomi Wolfe, The Beauty Myth: Stereotypes Against Women, made a splash. Naomi convincingly and reasonedly showed how the ideal of "female beauty" imposed by society contributes to the systemic oppression of women who lose financial, time and emotional resources in pursuit of an unattainable model.
The writer questioned the very concept of beauty as an objectively existing parameter for assessing appearance. Indeed, cross-cultural studies show that beauty standards are an exclusively social construct, mastered by an individual in the process of education and integration into society.
There is no doubt that the idea of "beauty" has both direct and indirect beneficiaries. The direct include numerous representatives of the "beauty industry" - from manufacturers of cosmetics to the owners of specialized salons and clinics of aesthetic surgery. Seeking out more and more "flaws" of the human body allows you to create new niches for the sale of goods and services that help get rid of them.
The most illustrative example is the emergence of a new meaning of the term "cellulite": in the international classification of diseases, this was the definition of inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue, accompanied by characteristic signs: redness, pain, swelling, etc.
However, in 1973, the owner of a beauty salon, Nicole Ronsard, wrote a book in which she designated in a frightening Latin word the uneven distribution of fatty formations under the skin, which is an individual norm for many people. The readers took her words on faith, which allowed the entrepreneur and her numerous followers to earn significant sums of money selling creams, rubbing and massages, supposedly smoothing the skin on the thighs and buttocks.
The indirect benefit from the spread of stereotypes about how an "ideal" body should look, especially a woman's - it's not for nothing that women make up the lion's share of the target audience of the beauty industry - is distributed among people who are somehow interested in maintaining gender imbalance. Compliance with bodily "standards" becomes an additional responsibility for women, regardless of what they do.
Leading world politicians - such as Angela Merkel or Hillary Clinton - are constantly accused of being "not attractive enough", "too old to rule states" - while their male opponents have no one makes similar claims.
The problem is that no living person will ever be uniquely "handsome enough." To make sure of this, just go to the comments section under the articles containing photos of the winners of beauty contests. Nevertheless, the desire to evaluate people according to their compliance with certain aesthetic canons is widespread and has penetrated so strongly into our culture that disagreements with them give rise to accusations of all sorts of vices: laziness, pride, stupidity, empty shocking and God knows what else.
It is curious that many beauty practices are strangely associated with the norms of hygiene, although in reality they have an extremely indirect relationship to them. Nevertheless, the argument of opponents of body positivity “to stop shaving your hair on your legs (to do colored manicure, to inject hyaluronic acid under your skin - substitute the right thing) is the same as to stop washing and brushing your teeth” is one of the most common, although how is one others are completely unclear.
Who benefits from it
Despite the fact that stereotypes about body positivity associate this movement with people with physical characteristics that go beyond the "beauty standards", in fact, the circle of its beneficiaries is much wider. Honestly, his ideas are extremely useful to all mankind - except for those who benefit from implanting the idea of "imperfections" of real bodies, especially women's, and selling means that help "fix" them.
Moreover, the ideology of body-positive is consistent with the principles of modern humanistic psychology and therefore can serve as a starting point for serious reflection and obtaining the inner supports necessary for positive changes in one's own life. In particular, accepting the idea that neither our own, nor anyone else's body is at all obliged to comply with certain aesthetic canons, if we ourselves do not want to, helps to realize other important ideas:
- independence from the expectations and assessments of other people helps a person to maintain the integrity of his “I” and to realize his own boundaries;
- subjectivity in relation to his own life allows a person to realize himself as an active participant in the events taking place with him, and not as an obedient slave of circumstances;
- understanding of the intrinsic value of oneself and others suggests that any life is priceless, and any person is a microcosm, which cannot be reduced to a set of physical characteristics of his body;
- the ability to empathically interact with others allows you to build relationships and establish emotional connections with others, relying on their inner qualities and their own feelings from communication;
- expanding the horizons of self-realization and creativity helps to expand the narrow framework of ideas about "beautiful" and "ugly", "right" and "wrong" and move on to a fundamentally different perception of the world.