Having spent the last few months slowly putting on weight due to not having the same amount of activity outside (walking all over London!) that would have happened pre-pandemic, it has been difficult to embrace my own body.
I have felt the guilt of letting myself slip into habits of lounging on the sofa and binging through Netflix, telling myself that I will go for a run tomorrow, only to do the same exact thing the next day. Working from home has meant access to what seems like an endless amount of snacks and tea, and as the cold of winter set in, staying in the warmth seemed like the most comfortable option.
During these months, the word ‘body positivity’ started to resonate with me. After going up a couple of dress sizes, which annoyingly defines your weight, I began to feel ‘fat’ and have called myself that word on so many occasions. Even if you don’t use that word to judge others, it’s easy to do so to yourself – as the saying goes, you are your own worst critic.
I began wondering why I had to feel so bad about my body – of course it is going to change over time
Even though I have been feeling low at times about my body, and have begun a new fitness regime, I stumbled across an article that made sense to the way I had been feeling. I began wondering why I had to feel so bad about my body – of course it is going to change over time. But why did I have to feel so guilty about putting weight on, and scrutinise every little detail?
As the article suggests, women are made to feel that their value is in the way they look. It almost seems like a measure of success – we’re always trying to be better in the way we present ourselves to the world, showing how much we are worth as human beings because of our body shape and size. On the other spectrum, we are told to embrace our wobbly bits and be body positive, another way of saying that the way you look is an important factor of being a woman. MODAN itself has been guilty of this. The underlining meaning is actually positive, of course, we should have the right to feel good about how we look. The problem is, the media is constantly telling us, as women, how we should feel about our bodies. That our body should be something we constantly have to assess in order to feel good or bad about ourselves.
It’s okay to be neutral about the way you look. It doesn’t mean you’re not happy, or that you don’t love the skin you’re in. I am neutral about my own body, because it is what it is, and it doesn’t mean I don’t love it. I don’t need Cosmo to tell me what is considered beautiful, or an influencer to take a selfie in a crop top showing off her untoned tummy. I believe we are what we are, beautiful inside and out, but I’d like a woman’s worth to be more than being body positive. We are more than our body, and it doesn’t actually matter how other people perceive it.
Be body positive, be neutral – just don’t forget that you are more than your body shape or skin. Success shouldn’t be valued from the way you look, even though as women it has become second nature. It’s wonderful to wear nice clothes, make-up, and to be at a weight you are proud of, but just remember that, that is different to actually valuing who you are as a person.