Hre’s the honest truth: It can be hard to love your body–flaws and all–on some days. Contrary to the body positivity movement that is so rampant on social media, you are allowed to get frustrated at your FUPA (fat in the upper pubic area), your less- than-clear skin, your lack of curves, or whatever it is that makes you feel like you don’t fit into society’s ideal standard of beauty. So what then?
Enter body neutrality, the antithesis to the body positivity movement. The term has been around since 2015, and was popularised by Anne Poirier, an intuitive eating coach, body confidence coach and eating disorder specialist. The concept is simple: Accept your body for what it is, and focus on what it can do. And as health and wellness experts have pointed out, this mindfulness can help you stop pegging your self- worth to your appearance.
Body neutrality might not be in the mainstream consciousness yet, but the movement is gaining traction on Instagram (with over 145,000 tagged posts) and among female celebrities, including singer and rapper Lizzo.
“Imagine just not thinking about your body. You’re not hating it. You’re not loving it. You’re just a floating head. I’m a floating head wandering through the world,” said actress Jameela Jamil in a 2019 Glamour interview. Taylor Swift, who has been through her share of body scrutiny, voiced her support for the movement during a radio interview that same year: “We have amazing women out there like Jameela saying, ‘I’m not trying to spread body positivity. I’m trying to spread body neutrality where I can sit here and not think about what my body is looking like.”
That’s not to say that the body positivity movement is bad, or wrong. You can love your body – but it has to come from a place of authenticity. For anyone who might be struggling with body image issues, this focus on positivity can be toxic, and end up making you feel even more disempowered.
Considering that we’re still dealing with the pandemic – and all of the stressors of a new normal that might affect our bodies and appearances – body neutrality seems like a good middle ground to settle into.
Here are some ways to practise being at peace with your body:
1. Observe your body without making any judgements.
2. Acknowledge when you don’t feel good about your body, but don’t put yourself down for it.
3. Remind yourself that your appearance doesn’t determine your worth.
4. Focus on what your body can achieve, and celebrate that!