What is “Body Posi” and Why You Should Care

It seems like when you scroll through Instagram, everyone is perfect: perfect skin, perfect outfit, perfect hair and most importantly a perfect body. “Perfect” usually means skinny, with the exception of your boobs and butt which are supposed to be big. Even if girls don’t have this “perfect” body, they might edit their pictures to make it look as they do. It can make you feel like if you don’t have that body, you’re not as good as the people who do.

We’re constantly bombarded with advertisements for diet plans and gyms, TV shows about losing weight and negativity towards fat people because the ultimate goal is always to be thinner. There’s a movement looking to stop this culture called body posi (short for body positivity). This movement aims to stop this culture of Instagram perfection and show what’s real. Real bodies aren’t perfect, they have cellulite and stretch marks and moles and rolls, and these people aim to show that.

Despite the word “body” being in the name of the movement, it’s actually a focus on mental health and how you shouldn’t sacrifice your mental health in the name of having a “perfect” body. Many of its advocates are recovering from eating disorders and their profiles are a safe space for others who are too. Many celebrities are supporting the movement as well, including Danielle Brooks, Chrissy Teigan and Serena Williams. Model Ashley Graham said, “I have always believed that skin color is not a trend, age is not a trend, and my size is not a trend. And that’s why I believe that right now, this can’t be a trend—if our voices are heard loud and clear, it won’t be.”

There’s a lot of negativity surrounding the body posi movement. People say that they’re supporting unhealthy lifestyles in a time when there’s a growing obesity epidemic. What people don’t realize is that you can be eat healthy and exercise and still be obese, and you can eat fast food every day and never exercise and still be skinny. Neither of these things are wrong, but it shows that weight does not determine how healthy you are. They want you to be healthy mentally and physically without hating yourself or feeling as if you absolutely have to lose weight.

Some great body positive accounts to follow on Instagram include @bodyposipanda@kenziebrenna, @selfloveclubb, @tessholliday, @effyourbeautystandards, @themilitantbaker, @iskra and @lateciat.

Here at the University of South Carolina we have The Body Project that goes along with the message of the body posi movement. As the Student Health Services website states, “The Body Project is a conversation about body image and the influences of cultural and social interactions. This small group is a two-part workshop led by the Changing Carolina Peer Leaders that will encourage the spread of body positivity and allow women on campus to move towards self-confidence and self-fulfillment”. The first session is on March 21 and you can register here.