A friend recently posted the following on Facebook, “pro tip- when you shit talk your body, you are shit talking everyone’s bodies. lay off that shit homies, it gives me the sad/mad/bads.”
The basic idea is that body love requires self acceptance. It’s not enough to love the bodies of others. It’s not enough to embrace diversity where others are concerned. Loving all the bodies includes your own body. Because even if you are just holding yourself up to some higher standard than you hold other people, you’re still holding that standard.
I had a friend once detail the exact way her abs needed to look for her to feel comfortable wearing a two piece bathing suit. I felt the need to tell her that I wore a two piece bathing suit. She said, “Oh that’s fine. I don’t care how other people look. This is just about me.” But that didn’t make me feel any better. I looked awful, no doubt, by her standards, she just didn’t care.
I have some thoughts about this:
Surely, one might say, it’s okay to set high standards for oneself? To ask more of oneself. But no actually. Note the language. Listen to what you’re saying. By using the word “higher” it’s clear that you’ve still got a metric, and probably, honestly you’re still applying it to others too.
Suppose you’re not though. Suppose you really do think that a diversity of body shapes and sizes are fine for other people but for you there’s just one way it’s okay to be and unless you’re there, things are awful.
It’s possible to hold both of those ideas. But probably you still ought to be quiet about how you feel about your own body, knowing it will make others feel bad. Need to talk about your body shame and self-hatred? Check in with friends to make sure it’s okay. But it’s probably best to find a trained listening and helping professional.
Some more thoughts:
Maybe we could come to feel better about our own bodies by recognizing that in the bodies of others it’s not perfection we’re attracted to.
Maybe it’s better to think neutrally about your own body and the bodies of the others. Body neutrality is Tracy’s preferred position.
Maybe we’d also all do better just caring less about looks.
Maybe we ought to think of body image as a group project, a community commitment.
Also, you might wonder why a fitness blog spills so much ink on body image. Here’s why.
The pictures here are from Emm Roy. You can follow her positive art on Patreon.