Updated: Jan 12
Body positivity and body neutrality.
Two popular terms that are currently circulating the interwebs, media, and marketing.
Although they sound similar, they’re actually quite different.
One isn’t better than the other and I don't think they’re mutually exclusive.
You can use both terms. But it's important to know the difference between them and to use them appropriately.
A term that’s been around for a while now. Probably the one you’re more familiar with.
Body positivity arose as a response, a counter-movement, to a lot of shame and negativity that's been perpetuated over time about our bodies.
As a society, we receive a lot of negative messages about our body and food. We’re told what is good and bad. Guilt is used liberally as a marketing tool to shape our behaviors and decisions.
People started realizing that being critical and judgmental of our bodies is harmful.
So a solution was created.
“Let’s be more positive.”
There are books, podcasts, businesses, IG accounts, and clothing lines that now make a killing off this idea.
So what's it all about?
Body positivity assigns a positive value to different body parts, food groups, shapes, and sizes that some people see as negative.
Simply put, body positivity talks about our bodies in a positive way.
To be “body positive” is now a popular term.
👉Being body positive means you love your body, you talk about your body using positive terms, and what you used to label as “bad” is now labeled as “good.”
It’s important to note that body positivity still assigns value to the nature of your thoughts and your body.
If we think about a battery that has two ends... One is negative. One is positive. Both ends are charged.
Body positivity is a charge that counters the negative noise of society’s beauty ideals and impossible standards.
The world says: My body is bad.
Body positivity says: My body is good.
Your inner critic says: I don't like my body.
Body positivity says: I love my body.
Although the body positive movement has been around for decades, it's been amplified over the past 10 years.
If you keep your eyes and ears open, you're bound to find a yoga studio, gym class, or activewear brand that identifies as being "body positive" as a way to convince you, the consumer, that you are loveable just the way you are.
I agree with this message wholeheartedly. AND I want to introduce you to my favorite up-and-coming concept... body neutrality.
Body neutrality occupies the middle zone. The “neutral” zone.
Thinking about the battery metaphor… body neutrality has no charge. It’s neither positive nor negative.
Instead, body neutrality places emphasis on acceptance.
Acceptance means you make peace with what is. Even if you don't approve of it or particularly like it.
I appreciate this aspect of body neutrality. There's subtle permission to be human from this perspective.
Because truth be told, waking up and offering yourself positive affirmations on days when you really don't feel cute or confident can feel invalidating. Body neutrality recognizes this and offers a way to find peace even on your "off days."
Another distinguishing factor of body neutrality is its objective nature. Body neutrality states facts as neutral observations without assigning a value to them.
Society says: Fat is bad.
Body positivity says: I love my fat!
Body neutrality says: Fat is neither good nor bad. Fat is just fat.
By taking the charge away, you're also taking back our power. You're taking back your power from society. From fat, cellulite, carbs, and curves.
You're showing up as you are and saying "yupp, I have fat. Cool. MOVING ON."
Body neutrality also promotes releasing attachment to your body.
Instead of waking up and saying positive affirmations about your body, a body neutral approach would encourage you to wake up and realize you're more than your body.
Let’s wake up and tap into your values and passions.
Body positivity still puts a lot of focus and emphasis on your body...on having a positive relationship with your body.
Whereas body neutrality works to take the emphasis off your body altogether.
I recommend you explore both ways of thinking. Both ways of relating to yourself.
There are times where a nice self-love pep talk may be exactly what you need.
And there are times where you realize your preoccupation with embracing your curves and advocating that "all foods fit" is actually taking you away from what really matters to you in life.
Personally, my business and I operate from a body neutral approach.
My three-month coaching program follows a mind, body, spirit model.
We definitely discuss your stories with your body and I recognize the importance of sifting through longheld beliefs and triggers, but by the third month, we're tapping into your spirit.
By the third month, I’m helping you live with less emphasis on your body and more emphasis on your joy and passion.
I help you find freedom.
And a whole lotta grace, gratitude, and self-compassion.
THIS is what leads to peace.
Body neutrality is the path to heart-centered living and I want to help you get there.
Sounds pretty good eh?