For the longest time when I thought about this body I’ve worked hard to forgive, love, and nurture, I thought about appearance. As a thin white woman that’s always been the focus. I see you patriarchy trying to distract me from the important stuff. So my journey towards body acceptance started there. It’s okay if that’s where you are too. There is no shame in that; I started there too. We are always learning and evolving and we must start somewhere.
Body Acceptance Goes Much Deeper
As the relationship deepened it became about so much more than that. The way that the body functions, moves, fights illness, and signals when something is wrong. The fact that this amazing body keeps me alive and going each day. The skin, fascia, muscles, tendons and bones that hold it all together. The emotions and trauma it holds.
The problem with our society, and with the body positive movement, is it centers loving the appearance of the body as the gateway to freedom.
But the problem with that is that it’s surface level. It’s also not possible to feel positive or loving towards our bodies all of the time. Yes, we can work towards accepting the appearance of our bodies. AND if we’re not also working towards realizing that we as humans are so much more than our appearance we’ve missed the mark.
The Roots Of Body Acceptance
We have to remember that this movement was started by BIPOC folks whose bodies have been under attack for so long. Sonya Renee Taylor is someone I have learned so much from and I must give credit where credit is due. Her book The Body Is Not An Apology is a must read.
If as a thin, white, cishet, able bodied person I am using it as a way to know that my appearance is worthy then I’ve missed the mark.
Our work is to come to a place of knowing that our bodies are good (appearance or not). And that every other body is good as well. It’s not only about each of us but about the collective.
Body Acceptance of All Bodies
This means working towards acceptance of our own bodies because the work starts within. This also means working towards acceptance of the body that is in a wheelchair. And the body that is in poverty. It means accepting the body working through an invisible chronic illness and the body that is trans. We must know that we are more than the physical appearance and abilities of our bodies. And we must work to look beyond that with others as well. This is true freedom for all bodies.
This means less bodies under attack and more bodies living in harmony.
It means so much more than feeling positive about what we see in the mirror. And it means extending that work to the collective. I believe in this work with my whole heart. And I hope you’ll join me on your own journey to discover that you are oh so worthy.