Body Shaming has been a huge problem to women everywhere. The media has shaped the public's mindsets with false expectations on how women should look like and, unfortunately, people willingly buy into their “beauty standards.” Take the recent body shaming of Lady Gaga in her Superbowl Half-Time Show on February 5th.
Issues like these are what drive the worldwide spread of Body Positive Campaigns. Sports Illustrated's featured size-14 model Ashley Graham as the cover of its legendary Swimsuit Edition, for example. Graham was also among the group of top models – Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Liu Wen, Imaan Hammam, Adwoa Aboah and Vittoria Cretti – who graced the cover of Vogue’s 125th Anniversary issue.
But despite its aim to encourage women of all shapes, sizes and color to feel comfortable and be happy about themselves, not everyone agree with the movement. One of the most common reasons against the body positive movements is that it is perceived as only targeting plus-size women.
Now, I'm not going to lie – it is true that most of the vocal people in this movement tend to be plus-size women. But can you blame them? I, myself, am a plus-size woman and I know how it feels to be ridiculed, shamed and laughed at for having the body I have now.
"Fat girls aren't supposed to be cute."
"Fat girls should be ashamed of themselves."
"Fat girls are disgusting."
Comments like these are still often targeted towards plus-size women. I am not saying that skinny or average sized girls are never a target of bullying, but plus-size women are more often told to cover up and hide our bodies to prevent being “shamed.”
Indeed, there are many body-positive people with average and even skinny bodies. What matters in this movement is that EVERYBODY is comfortable with their own bodies, and nobody shames other shapes and sizes. No shape or size or skin color are supposed to be more dominant or more “normal.” Your body is not a flaw, and neither is anyone else's. So stop debating on who should have the most attention in this movement. Everybody deserves to feel good about themselves.
Yet, there are still misunderstandings about body positivity movement. Most people’s understanding of body positivity is that it is about being happy with your body. One of the fallacies that come with this simplistic understanding is that I am proud of my body, consequently, I don’t have to take care of my body.
Body Positive means being positive to your body. Taking care of it, eating healthy if you want to, working out as much as you want to. The only thing difference is that you are not pushing yourself with multiple sets of crunches and sit-ups just so you can achieve the “ideal body.” You work out to stay healthy and strong. And that's a hell of a difference.
The bottom line is everybody has bad days when they overthink and becomes too harsh on themselves. Every body, every shape and every size. Tall, thin, curvy or short. There is nothing wrong with being kinder to yourself on most days. Rock your curly hair, your dark skin, your skinny legs and even your flabby stomach. Stop listening to people who tell you that your teeth are too crooked or who point out your lack of thigh gap. Forget about that one Tuesday when someone said you looked like you’d gained a lot of weight during the holidays, and start listening to the ones that matter, like that time when someone told you that you had a great smile, or when someone complimented on your eyes. People tell you that you're beautiful in so many different ways.
Now, how do you tell yourself that you're beautiful? Punishing yourself with mean words and bad thoughts just because you can’t meet the false beauty standard isn't the right way to do it. Love every part of your body, even the ones you don't like. ESPECIALLY the ones you don't like.
Once that's achieved, we're one step closer to a world in which everybody feels that they belong. Where everyone can finally accept every shape and size. Where everybody will believe that their body and everyone else's – regardless of their shapes and sizes – are not flawed. It never was and it never will be.
Shafira Amalia Hidayat is an International Relations student at University of Parahyangan who loves cheesy pizzas, karaoke nights and gender equality. Loves writing about real life issues, doesn't believe in religion, yet still believes that Santa slides down chimneys for a living.