Any self-respecting digital marketing agency or social media marketer worth their salt would know that the one way to reach their target demographic is to relate to them. Nobody reacts better than to those they perceive to look like them – one of the key reasons why BIPOC is asking for more representation is because of the lack of diversity in films. But when we look at it from a consumerist perspective, we want representation of ourselves. Whether we’re blonde, white, black, brown-eyed, freckled, fair, slim, fit, or fat, although many body-positive individuals will prefer the term “curvy”.
Body positivity is something that has cropped up in recent years, following the stick-thin (more like sick-thin) models that inspired thousands all over the world to starve themselves or participate in unhealthy eating habits. In an attempt to salvage the next generation and to force the fashion industry to do better, such as France banning the use of overly-thin models back in 2017, to a shock campaign of utilizing an anorexic model to send a message to the public: skinny is not attractive.
Following this fall-out, body positive content has been rolling out, including Barbies in various sizes and skin tones. But the body positive movement is still far from the healthy mindset that they originally hoped to achieve, with people on either side forcing their ideals on one another. On one hand, you have those who insist that you should love your body, no matter how you look. On the other hand, there are those who believe that you don’t need to accept something that you can change, especially if that something is detrimental to your health.
The problem with the movement is that it places too much emphasis on appearance, when what we should be doing is embracing the fact that we are more than our bodies. Beauty standards are simply a product of an industry hoping to exploit the desire of both women and men alike to be deemed attractive, charming, and desirable. Beauty doesn’t tell you how kind or successful anyone is, but thanks to skillful marketing, we’ve come to associate CEOs and all kinds of success with beauty, even though there is simply no correlation aside from the fact that if you have money, you will be able to invest in the best personal trainer, dietitian, nutritionist, facialist, and wardrobe.
The body positive movement is idealistic at best, and we should all focus instead on loving ourselves, which means, caring for our bodies and minds as best as we can. If we are fit and healthy, with no risks for developing diet- or body-related diseases, we need to learn to be content with what we see in the mirror because our reflection is just a temporary image caught in time. Who we are is so much more than how we look and contrary to popular belief, appearance doesn’t determine how popular or successful you are even if we do judge books by its cover, we only keep the ones that move us.