The Body Positivity Movement – And Why We Need It

Who determines what is really beautiful? Sure, if you believe the general consensus, then in women beauty means a slim, well-trained figure, flawless skin and fullest possible lips. Men, on the other hand, should be as tall and well muscled as possible. But do we have to find that beautiful, just because it has been decided at some point that this is considered beautiful? A healthy countermovement to the false beauty ideals of our society is body positivity. We give an overview of what is behind the term. 

 What is Body Positivity? 

If you have been following advertising campaigns in fashion magazines for a while, you might have noticed that something has happened. Where for a long time only perfect models in Size Zero and with a seemingly non-porous skin were pictured, today more and more, quite, even normal people are bustling around. Women who also have clothes size 42. People with imperfect teeth. Men with not quite so pure skin. 

The messageWe are not only to our supposed blemisheswe even love each other, focussing on body positivity and health rather than “perfect” looks and size. Even for the advertising industry and the digital mediait seems clear that it is no longer a matter of constantly selling us people as ideals that are simply far from reality. And that’s good. For some inspiration, check out Ashley Graham for true celebration of body positivity.

Body positive: a countermovement to the general optimization delusion 

Take the following example: A top model has recently had a baby, and what do we see in social media a few weeks later? A slim, well-trained woman without dark circles, but with an extra dose of glow. Which mother who has recently had a baby wants that enforced as the ideal picture? And that’s why lately and above all unedited photos of newly minted mothers appear on Instagram & Co., which look like most new mothers look like. Maybe not with dress size 36, but being one’s real self. Cellulite, stretch marks, caesarean scars? But of course! They belong to our wonderful body and thus deserve to be loved – or at least accepted – and that’s being body positive. 

The opposite of it? Bodyshaming! 

The clear counterpart to body positivity is Bodyshaming. To talk about the appearance of others derogatory, or to judge people by their clothing size, is unfortunately an ugly phenomenon in our society today. And one that can meet both women and men. It is all the more important to realize that we should celebrate versatility and diversity and learn to love ourselves. A better answer to Bodyshaming than righteous self-love does not exist. And that not only ensures a better body image, but also strengthens our self-confidence. 

A possible criticism of body positivity 

Of course, there is nothing wrong with the body positivity movement, it is a very important rethink that takes place through it. Many people start to look at themselves with more affectionate ones and finally say “goodbye” to the unhealthy optimization delusion. Meanwhile, but also critical voices are loud, the body positivity accuse that while still the look in the foreground. Even if one learns to find oneself beautiful despite alleged blemishes, the beauty – however it is defined – has a high priority. Therefore, some are more in favor of body neutrality. The point is to focus on completely away from the optics on inner values and to say: I do not hate my cellulite, nor do I focus on it. 

It’s a good approach, of course, but we live in a very visual world, and it’s better to make yourself a healthy picture of beauty than to chase out obsolete ideals. So body positivity does a lot for us.

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A few years ago, Julia Heyne moved to Berlin. Not because of love, but to deal with love on a daily basis. She headed the erotic department at for seven years and because that wasn't enough love, lust and passion, she wrote a book about online dating in 2016. Today she has renounced online dating, but continues to write for O*Diaries about the most beautiful minor matter in the world. In her spare time, she also enjoys unromantic things like mountaineering, reading and ghostwriting for various book projects.