How do these double standards affect us?
Simply, these double standards, a lot of the time, justify unjustifiable behaviour. It is that simple.
I believe that glorifying a certain body-type over another breeds insecurity in those not yet confident enough in themselves, making them possibly feel inadequate and undesirable. Doing so also places pressure on people to live up to a certain ‘ideal’, ‘standard’ or image, and so we have a culture which thrives on divide and competition.
Having been a victim of bullying, I have come to understand that people project their insecurities onto one another instead of actually addressing them.
I’m sure many of you have dealt with similar situations. Unfortunately, these insecurities are quite often expressed in the form of jealousy, anger, condemnation and criticism; and so we have a society which unconsciously exacerbates the problem by outwardly attacking instead of inwardly observing.
My message is not about widening the divide or exacerbating the double standards, it is about acknowledging it and fixing it, but this starts at an individual level. It is a process of self-inquiry.
It starts with understanding your own relationship with your own body.
Such an unhealthy emphasis on physical appearance has the potential to invite in dangerous accompaniment. We need to become aware of when we are entering murky territory in becoming completely identified with the physical body. This absolute identification has the potential of turning into obsession, and I do not necessarily mean in the narcissistic form of vanity that we may automatically assume when I say that. It may also mean resorting to self-harm and neglect out of resentment and self-loathing in some cases.
I believe that in celebrating diversity amongst body-types, there is also the dangerous (and easy-to-miss) tendency of overlooking good health, all in the name of being ‘body-positive’. I do not believe we are being positive toward our bodies if we are poisoning it with toxic foods and chemicals. Quite frankly,
I do not think it is ok to glamourise plus-size if it means eating a poor diet, just like I do not think it is ok to glamourise skinny if it means, again, eating a poor diet.
We should treat our bodies as the temples they are. I believe that being body-positive entails nurturing your body. Being comfortable in the skin you’re in is an amazing feat for anyone and is everyone’s right, but I personally believe that body-positvitity is deeper than skin-deep. It is a mindset. If we are working toward a physical outcome, I feel that good and optimal health should be the force behind it. I feel that good health and the conscious decision to opt for a healthy and wholesome lifestyle should always be a priority in one’s life.
How can we help to stop exacerbating the problem?
I think that we need to realise that praising and shaming are two ends of the same pole. I believe we need to work on polarities here. Whilst we must work to stop body-shaming, this must also entail that we, too, must also become aware of and work on how much we are praising, idealising and aspiring toward something other than our own acceptance and contentment. When we idealise something, we make room to criticise the other, and when we criticise, we must be idealising something else. There cannot be one without the other, and so long as we do not understand this, we continue to strengthen this sense of duality. I know, where is the middle-ground then, right? That’s what you’re thinking? Maybe next time you go to compliment someone, perhaps make it one that is not of a physical nature? Perhaps think about the quality of your interaction with that individual? Maybe it’s their energy? I understand, this is a tricky one, but I will leave it with you to ponder…
As I mentioned earlier, the work begins at an individual level…meaning it starts with YOU! With me…
In order to work with ourselves, we should be open to engaging in self-inquiry and willing to objectively observe our perception of reality.
My personal journey has led to me understand body positivity as being at one with my body without being defined by it.
I believe that being defined by our bodies is what creates the unhealthy relationship between the mind and body in the first place.
We must become aware of the images we’re being sold at a rather subconscious level. We need to detach from the illusion that are these images, ideals, standards…this and that. I believe acceptance is the key, and acceptance entails compassion and kindness.
Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stop judging.
Realise that your judgements, most of the time, are more of a reflection of you and your own insecurities, and we need to stop projecting these onto one another. There is more to be learned about yourself from your own judgments of others than about the person/s you’re judging.
Practice cultivating self-love.
Believe me, I still have my moments of doubt and insecurity.
This journey is not without its bumps and obstacles, and I wouldn’t want to give you all that false impression either. It is about learning to be able to detach from these negative thoughts and insecurities and not allowing for them to define us, our reality or our state of mind. Once we can learn to do this, we allow acceptance to flow in…accepting ourselves and each other…just the way we are…just the way it should be.
We all have insecurities, and I suppose this has been one of mine. Since starting this blog, this topic was right at the top of my list. I started writing for it months ago, but left it time and time again. It is something I feel so passionately about, but I have been afraid of actually publishing it because, frankly, I am afraid of being judged as arrogant or attention-seeking. That’s the fact of the matter. That has been my insecurity, and just because it may not be one of yours and is unique to me (although I’m sure there are many who can relate), doesn’t make it any less valid.
Yes, some may see it as that I am confident in the skin I am in. I see it as self-acceptance, but that’s not to say that I do not get insecure at times, and that it hasn’t been an absolute journey to get here. My body-positive journey is just as worthy of celebration as someone who has struggled being overweight and come to love the skin they’re in. I believe that anytime anybody journeys to accept themselves and their body, this journey is deemed worthy of celebration in itself! Why shouldn’t we all love the skin we’re in? Exactly. We should! We are all worthy of our own love.
We need more love and less judgement!!
This world needs us to come together now more than ever, and double standards just won’t cut it.
I hope to empower those of you reading this to make a conscious effort to love the skin you’re in, and accept those who are and are not yet comfortable in the skin they’re in. So I am not just some skinny girl writing about body-positivity and posting naked photos, I am a being trying to make a damn difference in our world! I am someone thinking about your future daughter, granddaughter, mother, brother, son, father…
Hopefully one day, someone will be writing about history’s ‘skinny girl complex’ and the double standards that used to be.
The Nude Blogger