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Although body positivity seems to be pushing out the right idea, for most of us, it is hard to love and appreciate your body constantly. Being positive about your body and overall mental health can be exhausting and often it isn’t even feasible. It isn’t always possible to love your body consistently without sometimes feeling like it’s not ‘good’ enough, ‘skinny’ enough or whatever the case may be (but if you can, good for you girl!). Body neutrality allows us to escape this idea of always needing to be positive about body appearance and shifting it more toward body acceptance.

Body neutrality is when you focus more on all the things your body does for you aside from appearance, like allowing you to breathe, eat, exercise and hug and kiss people you care about. It aims to end the obsession over having a positive mindset and move to be more neutral and accepting of the body you have. By focusing more on the strength and power of your body, you are able to let go of (or try to let go of) unrealistic beauty standards set all over social media. Body neutrality is also better for your mental health. Practicing it encourages mindfulness, which can help reduce anxiety and emotional reactivity. As a society, we have replaced body negativity with positivity, making so many of us feel like we need to be positive about our body 100% of the time, which is simply unrealistic. Unfaltering self-love isn’t attainable, but it has pushed onto all of us constantly. 

Personally, the pressure of body positivity has gotten me down in the past. When there have been instances where I wasn’t feeling particularly positive about my appearance, I felt disappointed in myself that I wasn’t loving my body the way I should and I dwelled on that feeling. With body neutrality, I’m able to accept that I’m human, my feelings are valid and I’m not going to look like every Instagram influencer model I see. That’s okay. I have been trying harder to praise my body more for things that it does for me rather than how it looks. This can be difficult, but with the pressure of always needing to think positively gone, I feel less judgemental toward myself all of the time. 

Neutrality is less exclusionary than body positivity as well. So many people face bullying or are shamed for not having the ‘ideal body’ and aren’t able to attain body positivity at the rate that society pushes onto them. Body neutrality allows anyone to be accepting of their body and not have to feel guilty for not being positive all the time. Moreover, it switches the mindset of exercising and eating healthy to obtain a certain body type to do these things in order to feel healthy, strong and happy. How we feel about ourselves should not be based on appearance. As I’ve heard many Tik Tokers say, your appearance is the least interesting thing about you. 

Here are some more resources on body neutrality:

Graci Daby

Chapel Hill '22

Graci is a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying advertising and public relations. She has passions for digital art and content creating, writing and poetry, fashion, iced coffee, and pop culture.
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