Breaking Down Body Positivity: Competition

By Lucy D. (Action Team)

Hi everyone! I'm a a member of the Action Team, and I'm going to be doing a series of posts about body positivity. You can see my brief about body positivity on our website under "Issues." Today, I'm going to discuss how body shaming leads to competition between people about their bodies. Feel free to join the discussion and comment something that you have to say about body positivity!

Because of the body ideals set forth by the media, competition develops between girls to receive validation based on their bodies. This is visible in literal competitions in which women are judged based on their bodies like pageants, but also in the places girls seek approval and how we compliment each other. How often do you hear conversations in which girls are competing to find who can compliment themselves the least? “You look great, you’re so skinny!” “No, are you kidding? You’re the skinny one, look at my stomach!” Girls are taught to look to others for validation, which perpetuates the harmful idea that girls’ bodies are there for the public’s consumption. One important thing you can do to combat this idea is supporting your female-identifying friends in their struggles to become comfortable with their bodies. Compliment them, but refrain from using words like “skinny.” Using this as more than just an adjective inadvertently says that being fat is a bad thing. Skinny is not a good thing, fat is not a bad thing. Everyone's body is worth the same amount. Body positivity isn’t a competition! Everyone can reach the same amount of self-worth based on their body. Try not to depend on others for affirmation that your body is good enough by finding things that you love about your body and expressing them.

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