Body image and body positivity
As you probably know if you’ve been following me for a while, mental health is hugely important to me. I struggled with anorexia for over a decade and it took away both my health and happiness for those years. I am grateful to be in a great place today and hugely passionate about sharing messages to help people have a healthy relationship with food, exercise and their body. I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot to say about my experience with body image. My eating disorder was never about how I looked, I was hooked on restriction and exercise because of how they made me feel and what they allowed me to escape from. Today, I don’t identify with loving my body and that’s fine with me. How I look is irrelevant to how I live my life. I’m not attached to my body being a certain way and am happy for it to change over time. I accept myself and that includes my body. I don’t spend time and energy focusing on it because I’d rather put those towards other areas of my life. In this discussion, I think it’s important to acknowledge that I have thin privilege. This means that I have a body that society seems to be acceptable. Nobody makes assumptions about my health, I am rarely food or body shamed and I am able to navigate the world without being particularly aware of my body. This is not typically the experience of those in marginalised bodies and that’s why body positivity, whilst something I’m passionate about, isn’t a social justice movement designed for me. It is for people who don’t have their bodies accepted, let alone celebrated by society. Although anyone of any size, shape, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity or ability can suffer with body image issues, acknowledging privilege is important. This doesn’t mean invalidating experiences but it means recognising that not all bodies are treated equally by society. Embracing body positivity means not only improving your own relationship with your body but working for change in society so that all bodies are given the respect they deserve.