You may have noticed that many brands, and the fashion industry as a whole, have been a lot more inclusive of different body types within the last couple of years. If you haven't...where have you been? While the industry has a long way to go in terms of being completely inclusive of all body types, the body positivity movement has taken fashion by storm.
If you aren’t familiar with the body positivity movement, it aims to empower women to love, embrace and accept themselves and their bodies in the present moment just as they are. The movement, which can be traced back to the mid-’90s, defies societal beauty standards and highlights marginalized bodies, giving them a platform to be seen. Thanks to the rise in use of social media, the movement rose to prominence over the last five years through individuals who unabashedly loved themselves and inspired others to do the same. As more individuals jumped on the bandwagon, consumers started demanding that brands include bodies previously shunned from fashion magazines and the media. The movement and the people championing it couldn’t be ignored, causing brands and the fashion industry to take a hard look at their customers and how they interacted with each other.
While the movement originally intended to highlight marginalized bodies, women of all shapes and sizes have embraced the movement and translated it in their own ways. And we don’t blame them because radically accepting your body as it is and telling the rest of the world you don’t need to fit into a shape or a mold is wildly liberating.
If you’d like to embrace and become a part of the body positivity movement, here are some steps and actions you can take to help shift your mindset into a positive light and kick self-love into high gear.
What are some characteristics or groups you associate with? For example, if you have a curvier body, you may be plus size. What is plus size? Technically, it’s a woman who wears a size 14 or above. Other terms for plus size may be curvy, full-figured, or voluptuous, just to name a few. Identifying and acknowledging your body becomes the first step to becoming more body positive. If this step is hard for you, that’s okay. Developing a body positive mindset is a journey with many ebbs and flows.
As women, most of us have grown up being our own toughest critics. And because of certain messages constantly bombarding us from the media, we hardly ever feel confident or enough. So as you start your body positive journey, recognize the negativity you speak toward yourself. When you look in the mirror, what’s the first thing you say subconsciously? Do you look at your stomach and wish it was smaller or wish certain parts of your body were a certain shape? Take note of these negative critiques. When you feel like you have enough negative thought examples, write them down and flip them into positive statements. Instead of saying “I wish my tummy was smaller,” say “I embrace my curves, my body is powerful and beautiful.” These are called positive affirmations, and they are extremely effective when you recite them to yourself daily. When you have finished your list of positive affirmations—it could be as long or short as you like—recite them to yourself before you leave your house every day. This will help put you in a positive mindset and help you control the negative body talk narrative.
Do Not Judge
Not only do we judge ourselves harshly, but we also judge other women’s bodies as well. And when you judge someone else, you insert negativity into your mind. Criticizing or negatively critiquing another woman’s body goes against the goals of body positivity. So the next time you catch yourself judging someone else’s body, give them a compliment out loud. It will replace negativity with positivity and you will have put a smile on someone else’s face for the day.
Boost Confidence Through Clothing
To help you cultivate a more positive mindset and boost your confidence, shop for clothing at a plus size boutique that will fit you. Using clothing to foster positive self-esteem can be extremely powerful. It’s also critical to find clothing that fits you perfectly so you feel comfortable and at home in your own body. Science says when you look good, you feel good, and at Chic Soul, we are a huge believer in that!
Surround Yourself with Body Positivity
Whether IRL or on the Internet, fill your social media feeds with images of women who look like you and practice and preach body positivity. You can also find a digital or in-person network of women who support and uplift each other. Because body positivity and self-love can be a long journey, it’s important to have a tribe with you to keep you going.