There are many things about summer I love, like the sun on your skin for the first time in six months. The thing that ruins these moments, though, is body shaming and body negativity – which shows up on social media this time of year the most. I don’t just mean posts about diets or workouts, but also ones discouraging you to walk outside with body hair or pasty-white skin.
If I went to my Facebook homepage right now, I could find at least one instance of body negativity in the form of a meme or an ad for how to get ‘beach body ready.’ Fun fact: If you have a body, then you’re already beach body ready. You’re under no obligation to look a certain way because it might make others uncomfortable. It’s your body. Your body can look however you want it to, And it can take up as much space as you want.
You can help to change the narrative by pointing out body shaming posts on social media or comments made by people in real life – even if that person doesn’t realize the message is harmful. As an adult, you’ve likely learned how to filter through these messages without letting them affect you – but ignoring them isn’t going to make them go away for the younger generation that’s growing up with these messages.
Finding body positive messages to share on your social media is a great way to jam the negative attacks on our bodies in the media. Whether you’re promoting your body, thin bodies, fat bodies, queer bodies, trans bodies, differently abled bodies, bodies of color, etc – full representation matters because the more you see yourself in the media, the more you’re able to feel included in this world.
Although bodies are personal, they’re also public vessels used to move through the world. When every body is being seen, everyone gets to have a say in our media and our world. This summer, through the body shaming media and comments in real life, remember and remind those around you that your body is perfect the way it is, and that you have every right to be here in all your glory without feeling bad or changing a single thing about yourself.