“This body is just the keeper of my magic. Who cares where it folds or dimples?”
I came across this quote about two years ago and my perception towards bodies completely changed after reading it. In a capitalist world that feeds off our underconfidence and insecurities, being okay with the way you look is a greater achievement than what people make it out to be. Every society has a set of norms with respect to an ideal body type. Fitting into these beauty standards is very taxing and at the same time can be quite rewarding.
My relationship with my body, however, is something I have been trying to work on since I was a teenager. With everyone being supremely conscious about the way they look, I do not think anyone even merely felt comfortable in their own skin for a very long time. As a society, we are all, knowingly or unknowingly, obsessed with the idea of perfectionism. Be it about our skin colour, height, weight or even a particular set of skills, we constantly seek things that make us feel better about ourselves. Social media is full of such “influencers” who talk about body positivity and how to start loving yourself. Here is where I beg to differ.
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Body positivity means having a positive outlook about your body, regardless of how popular culture views it. However, for a very long time, I have been a firm believer in body neutrality, which entails being okay with the way you look – not too positive, not too negative. Body neutrality encourages you to accept your body as it is, focusing on its talents and nonphysical features rather than its appearance. This movement tries to decentralise the body as an object by debunking the misconception that your worth is determined by how you look.
A person is so much more than just their body. In these two years of a life-threatening pandemic, be grateful for your body, no matter how it looks. It has kept you alive, taken all the abuse you throw at it, and still looked after you. And to everyone who thinks “joking” about how a person looks is “funny,” please do not comment on bodies when you see people after a year of this turmoil and damage.
A body is not a reflection of how healthy the person is, no matter what mainstream media makes you believe. No one is comfortable in their skin just because everyone keeps commenting on others. It’s 2021, please move on from how jiggly someone’s thighs are or how lean someone seems. It’s always the heart that matters.