Discovering Your Own Body Positivity:
Style and body positivity intertwine for me. I recently asked folks on Instagram: “what body part do you like the best?” The comments ran the gamut of body parts from eyes to shoulders to feet. I have had plenty of comments in my life that I should get a rhinoplasty, I never felt inclined to. In fact, I like my nose. It might even be my favorite feature. As people commented their favorite body parts I was reminded how most of my body had been picked apart by many people in my life. At some point in my life that I didn’t allow others define my beauty. I don’t look for external validation, because I was consistently let down whenever I did this.
Many folks ask me for tips in finding body positivity. We are all so different and have different societal pressures due to size, skin color, able-bodiedness, and other features that I think it is hard to come up with a definitive list that includes everyone’s experiences. Instead of over thinking or over speaking, I thought I would share 10 things that have helped me with my own body positivity immensely and maybe you can apply them to your own life or situation.
Regardless I think it is important that we redefine beauty in our terms. Don’t try to be beautiful like them, be your own kind of beauty. That’s where you excel. I am using beauty loosely. I’m not even sure I feel beautiful, but I feel confident and content. This is something for another discussion.
10 Body Positive Steps That I Used:
1. Instead of popular magazines, I look for fashion on Instagram. It’s healthy to see a variety of bodies. Years ago I began wearing a bikini as my primary swimsuit. Often times I was the only fat person in a bikini. I was craving a community so I didn’t feel so alone in this. I started looking at images under the hashtag #fatkini . Not too long after I began to share photos of myself.
2. Cut out the negative people. Those people who told me to get rhinoplasty or any number of cruel things (buck teeth, big foot, alien eyes, pregnant looking, or whatever!). I either cut out of my life, minimized time with them, or let them know that in no way can they talk to me like that. In most instances, I realized it was just easier to cut them out, because they are the types of people who get power from making others feel bad. Recognize these people in your life and please don’t put up with it.
3. I only buy clothes that make me feel amazing. For some reason I felt I needed to wear frumpy clothes and save clothes that made me feel incredible for special occasions. Now I only buy clothes that make me feel amazing. Each day is an occasion to empower myself.
4. I understand the reason why taking up space is important. People want us to feel shitty as a way to disempower us. The longer we dislike ourselves the longer they have the upper hand. Let’s take the power back. I understand my right to be seen and choose to take up visual and physical space.
5. I learned to appreciate other people without comparing myself to them. On the job, school, a circle of friends, or even social media too often people compare themselves with someone else. “If only I had that butt…” I have learned to accept what I have and complement others without putting myself down. We are different and that is more than ok.
6. I like to surround myself with confident people. Confident people build each other up not tear each other down.
7. I look in a full length mirror in all stages of (un)dress. I do this a lot and I always have. The more you see yourself the more you can become comfortable with yourself. For instance those stretch marks aren’t so shocking anymore. They become normalized.
8. No more fashion rules. Style is an expression and best expressed uncensored. I don’t seek out clothing that people consider flattering. Usually when people say flattering they mean appear smaller. I’m in the mindset of taking up space. I like to have fun with fashion and celebrate my body the way it is.
9. I understand who I am dressing for. For instance, I don’t dress for the male gaze. I dress for myself. I think if I lived in a city with incredible street style culture, I would probably be dressing for the other style weirdos. You can dress for anything you want, including the male gaze. I just find it empowering to understand who I am dressing for.
10. I have regular photo shoots. I like to have people who honestly find me beautiful to take my photo (hi, Kevin!). I feel it translates in the photos. I have modeled where it is clear the photographer doesn’t recognize my beauty and the photos show it. I just give them the mental middle finger and go on another photo shoot that blows that one out of the water! You can totally have photo shoots with your phone camera, so please don’t feel like you need to have any more special equipment than that! You can also utilize the self timer function so you don’t need to rely on someone else to take your photo.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that when clicked on may result in a small commission to this site, but all opinions are mine. This only serves to help me continue to blog about style and body positivity.
My Most Recent Photo Shoot:
ELOQUII recently gifted me a few dresses of my choice. I chose the following Mix Print Shirt Dress because of the the loose cut and unexpected patterns and colors. I paired it with milk braids, but tons of hair styles and hats would look amazing with this. I wore watermelon earring and leopard print flatform sandals (to keep the look from looking too precious or expected).
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I have many more body positive tips I have recalled as I typed this. I would like to expand on this topic. Please share with me what helps feed your positive body image.
All the best,