The term “body positivity” has been around a while now, but a new term is gaining in popularity: body neutrality. What does it mean?

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

The whole body positivity idea has been around on social media for sometime, but some are suggesting it can be more of a negative for those who feel that it is unattainable and it can be mentally frustrating as a result. The idea of body neutrality is that you take your body out of how you think about yourself and instead focus more on how you feel.

American singer and rapper Lizzo has even taken to calling out body positivity as being more of a negative and idolizing small, skinny girls. She says it has been “co-opted by all bodies” and has become a trend of “celebrating medium and small girls and people who occasionally get rolls.” 

Many influencers on social media post pictures of their natural “rolls” but they tend to be more on the slim side and it’s excluded women with natural rolls and those who are just not the idealized. Then there’s all the fatphobia posts that can be brutally damaging and is just another form of bullying.

As body positivity grew in popularity a lot of major brands, including Weight Watchers and some food companies co-opted the term and used it for marketing. Essentially, many believe, the term has become washed out and meaningless. Many brands and some media continue in their campaigns to exclude people of colour and different shapes and sizes. Which completely goes against what body positivity was meant to be in the first place.

Jameela Jamil the actor in The Good Place said in 2019, I don’t think about my body ever… Imagine just not thinking about your body. You’re not hating it. You’re not loving it. You’re just a floating head. I’m a floating head wandering through the world.” It’s a good state of mind when you can get there.

What is Body Neutrality?

In the concept of body positivity, it means looking at your body as it is and loving it anyway. Not a bad idea when it started years ago. Body neutrality focuses on what your body can do for you. Which is a much better way of thinking about your body. Then you can understand the things you can and can’t do or maybe want to do, like going skydiving or hiking and other activities. 

Practising body neutrality, you might say to yourself something like “my arms helped me lift these weights” or “these legs got me up a mountain today.” We begin to think more about what our body helped us to accomplish. 

Another aspect of body neutral thinking is that we don’t criticize others for how their body looks, it’s shape or size. Instead, we accept others bodies as we accept our own. This also takes away social judgements that we really don’t have a right to make anyway. Men could sure learn a lot from thinking this way! 

Another benefit is that we can stop focusing on so many trendy diets and the dangers of always working with various diets. Instead, we can focus on the steady diet of healthy eating and what our bodies need, not what society thinks a woman’s body needs.

So next time you hear talk about body positivity, remember that it’s become a washed out term and isn’t helping women at all anymore. We are who we are and that in itself is pretty awesome!

You might also be interested in this article on emotional intelligence (EI) and why it’s important.

Author: Alexa Hurst is a staff writer for HUM@Nmedia, the parent brand for Optimyz Magazine based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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