Positive self-image, self-appreciation of body trumps glorified beauty ideals

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Lilly Ludwig, columnist

I was on my way to yoga the other day, getting in my namaste-place, cruising in my Prius and humming to Megan Trainer’s, “All About That Bass,” when I found myself paying attention to the actual lyrics for the first time. I was completely knocked off my path of self-intention and awareness and instead found myself insulted and a little insecure.

An oxymoron in itself, the song sports lyrics like, “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”, countered by lyrics later in the song like, “boys like a little more booty” and “them skinny bitches.” Hearing these unsettling lyrics so accepted in today’s media is what lead me to believe that it’s never okay to shame any body type.

The song is just one example of how the body positive message is sometimes confused with, “hate on skinny people” or “abandon healthy habits.” Neither are in the true spirit of what it means to be body positive, and both are just as hurtful as if the comments were flipped.

To further develop these ideas, I spoke with Laura Duffy, PE and Health teacher, who explained that there’s no difference between shaming someone for being skinny and shaming someone for being bigger.

“[If someone is thin], it doesn’t mean they’re confident,” Duffy said. “It doesn’t mean that [negative comments about their body] don’t affect their confidence or their self perception. It does.”

If there was a song being played on the radio claiming that the thing to have is a tiny waist, people would be going wild, as they should. Yet when Trainer does it, while I’ll admit the song has a great chorus and is super catchy, people are singing along and bobbing their head to the beat. Any comment claiming one body type is better or more beautiful than another is hurtful.

The other way body acceptance is warped comes from the idea that being healthy is second to loving your body, and in my experience, you just can’t have one without the other. To love one’s body means to accept it the way it is right then in that moment. It also means to nourish your body and to take care of it in every way.

At my lunch table the phrase “my body’s fine the way it is” is often used as an excuse to purchase a cookie or skip working out. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying delicious desserts or sitting on the couch, all snuggly, watching Netflix instead of hitting the gym. All of these things we do because, in moderation, they are a way to show your body you love it. But when they are done repeatedly under the false intention of supporting body acceptance, it takes away the actual meaning of what it means to love your body, which is to nourish and love it at all costs.

So I invite you to love your body, no matter what it looks like, what you think it looks like, or what others think it looks like. And always remember, every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.