So I can start off by doing a typical disclaimer of ''I didn't want to post this but...'' which would be a huge lie. I didn't think twice about wanting to write this blog post or publish these photos. I want full transparency here (even a small section of my bra that is apparently) and no vague statements or weak opinions. Let's have an honest talk about body positivity.
The standards of social media - you create your own environment
''Social media is creating unrealistic body expectations'' is something I hear daily. I have probably said it myself once. Whilst I think there is some truth in that (though not more than magazines have done for many years, just saying), I do believe that it is mostly our own responsibility to surround ourselves with an uplifting and inspiring environment. Offline and online. Yes, there are many factors that are outside your control but the unfollow button is completely within your control, so use it. Use it to unfollow everyone that doesn't inspire you, that makes you feel like you are less than them or that creates unrealistic expectations and standards for you.
I have unfollowed so many models, not because they were creating unrealistic body expectations but because I was, by comparing my body to theirs. I also don't follow those extreme ''push your body until you pass out'' fitness accounts. - you know the type. They are not motivational and actually have a lot in common with pro-anorexia websites. So unfollow them if it creates anything but a positive mindset for you.
There are many uplifting and and inspiring accounts out there, that encourage you to take care of your body and learn to love it.
When does ''relatability'' become just negative self talk?
Another thought I have been wondering about lately; Is Instagram even still a highlight reel, as they say? Or has it turned into a contest of who is the most ''relatable"? I say that in quotation marks because how relatable is it really? ''Oh by the way, I am not always out brunching and carrying random flowers, I eat crappy food too and sometimes I even go outside with unwashed hair. I know you must be shocked, CAN U RELATE.''
I truly believe most people have good intentions, I really do and it is hard sometimes to take a step back and know if you are doing the right thing when everyone is doing the same. This also applies to the common body positivity captions; ''I did not want to post this as I hate ... and ... about myself and I also don't really love ... about my body either but by posting it I hope you can relate.'' Now, I can understand the thought process behind it and yes I can relate to those more because I also have parts about myself I don't love but how positive is that message? Maybe it is time to start writing from a place of love and confidence and make that relatable instead. Starting a message with everything you don't like about your body will only encourage others to do the same.
By starting off with ''I wanted to post this because I love .... about myself. What do you love about yourself?'' I think we can turn it around and have an actual positive impact.
Influence by powerful brands, how real is it really?
I think influence from brands and companies we are faced with every day is crucial for improvement of body and beauty standards. I would say it falls under the whole social media experience category - only they have many more platforms to their advantage. Some brands will never care enough to do something about this - ahem, Victoria Secret. Don't even get me started on the Victoria Secret show. That alone needs a whole post itself. It's funny because I have seen bloggers preach about body positivity yet jump and clap at the chance to be invited to the world-famous VS show. You can't have it both ways.
Although other brands do make big statements and movements towards body positivity, I don't always admire those either. I feel like I should. That's where they have the power, to not make you second-guess their intention because they are ''doing good by society'' now. The way I see it sometimes is exactly like I stated before; big statements and movements. Oh the amount of articles that would be written about brands when they hire a model who is either one or a few sizes bigger than their other models. Should we applaud? Or should that just be the bare minimum - to include everyone?
In the end, it is all down to us, to yourself.
Whether all these outside factors are helping or doing more damage, ultimately it's down to us. Yes, we can be influenced by others whether it is someone we know in real life, someone online, or our favourite brand, they can all have an impact on how we view ourselves. If we let them. Take away their control that they have over you and start listening to the positive thoughts you once had, before you let others start doubting you.
You owe it to yourself.
Did I use this hat to hide my own imperfections on the photo? Who knows. Do I care? Not really. Do I feel 100% confident in my body? Not yet. Has my confidence level risen from 20 to 80 when I stopped caring about other people's standards of what ''beauty'' is? Hell yes.
Oh and P.S, those ''body goals'' that are going on at the moment will go out of style in a few years anyway, like they always do. Focus on being happy, healthy and loving every part of you a little more day by day.