The other day, I did something I would never have had the confidence to do a few months ago.
I posted a posed, sports-bra-and-Nike-Pros selfie on Instagram. And it felt great.
More often, we’re now seeing girls into health and fitness post images like this on the internet – some taking it one step further and happily stripping it down to their thong and posting away.
But there is a divide
There have been comments saying that this isn’t body positivity, that it isn’t right, that young girls looking at images like this on the internet may get the wrong idea about what they should or shouldn’t look like. Comments include the phrase ‘I’m all for body positivty, but…’
And on the flip side, you have the idea that you can post whatever you so wish, because loving your body is far, far better than hating it.
There are always two sides to every story
I do get the negative view. I get that young, impressionable girls who attach themselves to role models very easily may scroll on Instagram and wonder how the hell they’re ever going to get the body their #fitspo has. And I do understand that girls posting pictures in their underwear every other day with the peach emoji as a caption doesn’t offer much to the social media consumer in the way of education or inspiration.
But in a world where girls are constantly ashamed of their bodies, where women hate their stretch marks and cellulite, where people hide away and cover their body in baggy clothes because they dislike it so much… surely, body positivity is a better avenue to go down than that.
Body positivity doesn’t stop at selfies, either
The captions alongside the images posted are often uplifting, too – especially when coming from the fitness community on Instagram. Girls showing they have cellulite, opening explaining that stretch marks are normal, that they like one part of their body more than the other and that’s okay.
And what about if they don’t have a caption? What about if they just fancied posting it, or they woke up and their abs looked on point, or perhaps they just finished a booty workout and it was pumped as hell? The great thing about social media is that it is open and we are allowed to post what we like. There are no restrictions (well, there are, but if you’re posting porn on social media then you’re somewhat twisted), and if people don’t like it, they can go ahead and unfollow you. It’s as simple as that, really. When it comes down to it: we choose what we consume on social media, we aren’t forced.
Don’t forget the hard work
Behind every selfie, every caption, every emoji used, there is a story. And that’s what we have to remember. I captioned mine saying how happy I was that I had worked so hard and it had paid off – because it had. I am proud of how hard I have worked and if I want to post that on Instagram, there’s nothing stopping me. I have gone through stages in my life where I have hated my body, and so, when I feel good about myself, I am definitely going to shout about it.
I completely understand that some girls – and probably boys – get fed up of seeing belfies (a bum selfie, for those not up to date with the latest instafit lingo) on the regular. Because sure, other body parts matter; I’ve posted shoulder selfies before, and back progress pictures too. But we’re allowed to show off whatever we want.
But for me, body positivity comes down to progress
Body positivity is confidence, it is happiness, it is control. Body positivity is acceptance of your body at whatever stage in your fitness journey you are at, and it’s loving every step of that journey too.
It comes in all shapes and sizes: the tall, slim runner who loves to show off her legs, the short, stocky gym bunny who is proud of that peach, the proud woman who has lost a stone in two months. And everyone and everything in between.
Body positivity is posting half naked selfies on social media because you are proud. It is also sharing completely full clothed, unposed selfies in that outfit you felt great in. It’s the sweaty leggings and long-sleeve post workout selfie, too.
Everyone is body positive in their own way; the way they feel most comfortable. We shouldn’t shame others because their idea of being body positive involves a few less clothes than ours. We should be happy that, for once, girls are becoming more confident in their own skin, when the majority of us have, at one point, hated what was staring back at us whenever we looked in the mirror.
Body positivity comes in all shapes and sizes; what is most important is that we keep sharing. Keep posting. Keep posing. Keep loving ourselves.