I see so many social media posts about stretch marks and rolls and body hair etc being beautiful.
I do really love and understand the movement behind this. It’s amazing seeing so many people start to accept themselves and their bodies as they are, and for us all to start challenging the airbrushing and filtering that we see all over the television and Instagram. We are all starting to realise that we aren’t alone with our scars and cellulite and imperfections.
But I do have one problem with it. The whole premise of it is still about beauty and changing how we perceive attractiveness. But it’s actually okay not to be physically beautiful all of the time. I don’t think my scars are lovely. They just are. I don’t think my stretchmarks are pretty. They just are. I don’t think my body hair is attractive. It just is. All these things are just normal parts of a human body. It’s okay for them not to be beautiful. It’s okay for us to just be normal human beings with normal human bodies and not have to worry about how we appear to others, or how beautiful we are, or how our imperfections make us perfect. They don’t make us perfect, they just make us entirely average. And sometimes that’s okay.
I’m not dismissing this movement altogether because I think it’s wonderful. The idea that people are falling in love with themselves and challenging years of societal damage to their self esteem is incredible and I hope it continues for years and years to come. But I want people to fall in love with themselves for their other qualities; ones we are told aren’t as important as our external selves. Our humour, our intelligence, our kindness. These are all the things that make us truly beautiful humans.
Overall, I love the body positivity movement, but there is also a role for body neutrality. I think we are going to see big changes in the future about how advertisements are regulated and how the media talks about women’s bodies, and I can’t wait. We have already taken enormous steps to take back the power and fight against what we are being told by society – that we aren’t good enough as we are. Every single one of us is enough right now. But being enough doesn’t always mean being beautiful.
It means being exactly as you are: a flawed and wonderful human.