Body Positive

The Body Positivity Movement: What Happened?

Tess Holliday proves it's still thriving

To be loved and accepted as you are is at our human core. As a society we want to not only be accepted but represented as well. That’s what the body positivity movement meant. It was a calling for fashion designers and heads of media companies to find more diverse models to fill their content. Yet in 2018 it seems as if we’re barely starting to see this inclusiveness online.

A quick search of body positivity will lead you to articles stating what is wrong with the issue. That it glorifies being overweight and expects those with body image issues to instantly overcome those and just love themselves. These arguments miss the point of this movement entirely.

This movement was not created to give people a ‘pass’. It was created so that women could realize they did not have to work themselves literally to the bone in order to achieve unrealistic beauty standards.

It’s about self-care and loving yourself because you’re not going to find your worth in the numbers of a scale.

Thankfully, the idea of body positivity didn’t completely die. Just as many other issues in our 24/7 news cycle, it unfortunately ran its course in mainstream media. However it does remain a common thread among various social media accounts today.

Accounts on social media like Body Positivity on Twitter or Bodyposipanda on Instagram are advocating for inclusivity. To show other men and women with various body shapes that it’s okay to embrace who you are. That you shouldn’t feel bad for not fitting in to sizes 4 and under.

Slowly but surely, we are seeing the effort of this movement come to fruition. Last year, Christian Siriano held one of the most diverse fashion shows next to Chromat, who is known for its diverse model castings. Among the few plus size models in Siriano’s show was Ashley Graham who also walked for Michael Kors.

The biggest wave in this movement recently was model Tess Holliday’s Cosmopolitan UK cover. While she is not the first plus sized model to be placed on a magazine, it’s still a big deal.

Tess herself has been an advocate for body positivity and a role model for anyone who can’t identify with straight sized models on a magazine. Some Cosmo readers mentioned that had they seen someone like Tess on a magazine years earlier, they would have come to peace with their body much sooner.

Even before this beautiful cover, we saw elements of the body positivity movements work in Aerie’s Real Campaign in which the models are not re-touched. A few years ago, Seventeen magazine even said they’d no longer edit girls in their photos outside of basic clean-up such as a stray hair.

Being able to look in a magazine or advertisements and see someone who looks like you in some way is so important. It’s important that we accept and welcome diversity in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

The Body Positivity Movement I was familiar with a few years ago may not still be around. But their values did not die. It’s important that we keep fighting for a more tolerant environment because no one should be shamed for their body.

Cover image via Cosmopolitan


Also published on Medium.

Davyn is a journalism student at Arizona State University. During her free...