PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: Kim Kardashian West of 'The Justice Project' speaks onstage during the 2020 Winter TCA Tour Day 12 at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 18, 2020 in Pasadena, California.

What is Body Positivity?

Body positivity is the practice of actively embracing, loving, and taking care of the body. This practice exists because in the patriarchal society we live in, everyone, but women especially are taught to hate their bodies. Why? Part of the reason in my opinion is because it fuels capitalism. Think of how much the beauty industry makes as a whole. This includes hair, makeup, plastic surgery, dieting products, and much more. It’s also a type of control over women’s bodies. It has been ingrained in not only American society but much of Western culture as a whole.

Study Finds…

A recent study by York University found that Kim Kardashian’s body type, what many people call “slim-thick”, has been a negative influence on how many young women between 18 and 25 see their own bodies. The study discusses how the “slim-thick” body type caused even more weight and figure dissatisfaction in women than the “thin-ideal” of the past.

Kim K has an hourglass figure. She has a smaller waist, but a larger bust, butt, and thighs. Her powerful influence on American society means that her body type has been widely advertised as the “ideal”. However, this becomes harmful when Kim K’s body type is perceived as one of the only ones that deserve recognition or praise.

#SlimThick

As quoted by the NY Post, researchers discussed how in 2021 alone “The hashtags #thick, #thicc and #slimthick have 6.2 million, 3.4 million, and 1 million posts on Instagram respectively, and the hashtag #slimthicc has 134 million tags on TikTok.

The beauty industry thrives on promoting competition and body dissatisfaction. Stressing the “slim-thick” figure as the ideal makes women feel like their bodies, as they are, are not worth as much. This is of course the opposite of true, but as a woman, I can say it’s a very powerful negative mindset that has been instilled in American women.

Kim K’s Heavy Editing

It’s even more ridiculous when you realize Kim K herself feels this pressure. So much so in fact that she is actually ingenious in the way she presents her own body. The NY Post says she has been exposed on numerous occasions for heavily editing her body in the pictures she posts of herself. Even Kim K edits her body to fit the norm that she set.

The bottom line is this “slim-thick” figure is not only unattainable for nearly every woman, but Kim K herself doesn’t even have the exact “slim-thick” figure she presents to the world. The study calls this “appearance perfectionism“. The writers cite that this phenomenon has caused eating disorders, self-esteem issues, unhealthy weight-control methods, and anxiety in the young women studied.

Have you ever had trouble with body positivity? Do you think society is shifting to being more body-positive than it has in the past?

Source: NY Post

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LIST: 7 Ways To Empower Yourself For Better Mental and Physical Health

  • 1. Cathartic Release

    Screaming

    Even if you’re not going through a break-up, the world is going through some sh*t right now so it makes sense that you’d have some pent-up emotions or anxiety you need to release. A lot of times, I get overwhelmed with emotion because I gaslight myself by telling myself the emotions I’m feeling are not okay, or they aren’t justifiable, or they are an overreaction to something small. Sound familiar at all?

    But here’s the thing I’ve learned: your body will feel these emotions whether you try to push them away or not. So why not take part of your day to get them allllll out? I put this at the top of the list because it’s hard to focus on anything else when negative emotions are plaguing your mind and body. Some ideas for this include: physical activity, screaming into your pillow or in a place where people won’t be concerned for you, or just allowing yourself to cry. And I mean an UGLY cry. Don’t hold ANYthing back. This is your time and place to purge those nasty emotions. Claim that.

  • 2. 5 Senses Reflection

    5 Sense Reflection

    I hope after you’ve done a cathartic release, your mind and body feel lighter. Now, it’s time to do a light reflection. I don’t mean meditation. Meditation for me personally is actually really difficult because of the way negative thoughts pop into my brain. The reflection that I do is more centered on the self. And it should be.

    With this, take 5, 10, 15 minutes to think about each of your 5 senses and your favorite things that best cater to those senses. By this, I mean think of your favorite smells, things that make you calm or happy to smell, like your favorite candle or plant. Write them down. Do this with your favorite tastes (drinks, foods, gum, anything), your favorite sounds (could be music or just normal everyday sounds, like windchimes or water running), your favorite things to see (like your best friend’s smile, or a sunset). And finally, leave your favorite feelings for last. Reflect on memories of feelings, like refreshing lake water on a hot day, or how the sun feels on your skin. Embrace the warmness all of these things bring to you. Make a plan to surround yourself with them.

  • 3. Starting Self-Conversations

    Journaling

    Now that you have purged your emotions, and reflected on the small things that make you and your 5 senses the happiest, it’s time to have a conversation…with yourself. A lot of times, negative emotions build up for me because they take up too much room in my limited headspace. They become bigger and bigger and that’s when you need to purge. But, now that you’ve purged, they aren’t so big, and they seem easier to deal with to get them out of your headspace for good.

    The easiest way? Talk about them. I recommend trying therapy, but I do know therapy is expensive for one, and two, it’s not for everyone. Some alternatives to therapy can include keeping a journal or diary, or what I like to do is talk to myself out loud. It’s not as weird as it might seem, I promise. It’s actually really helpful because just saying your thoughts out loud can make them less intimidating or at the same time, more realistic.

    However, in a self-conversation like this, it’s important not to be judgemental of yourself or gaslight yourself as I talked about earlier. Undermining the value of your emotions makes them worse. Remember: whatever you feel, you are feeling for a reason. Trust that. This conversation can be whatever you need it to be. But if you need help getting started, ask yourself these questions out loud:

    • What do I physically feel right now?
    • Why do I feel like this? (Address the thoughts that come immediately after this question. It’s also okay if you don’t know why.)
    • What is the last thing I thought about last night before falling asleep?
    • What is the first thing I thought about this morning?
    • What emotion drives these thoughts?

    The goal is to give yourself validation in how you feel.

  • 4. Mindful Bathing

    bath

    Now that you’ve started these important conversations with yourself to free up your mind, it’s time to put the same effort into taking care of your body. Bathing is so important for your health in so many ways.

    Next time you bathe, whether it be a 10-minute shower or an hour-long bath, challenge yourself to be mindful. By this, I mean take what you thought about in the 5 senses reflection and employ them. Use soap that smells good to you, use a loofah or lotion afterward that feels good against your skin. Play your favorite sounds while you bathe. Use this time to appreciate your body as you clean and take care of it. Your body and its beauty are everything.

    We often don’t appreciate it the way we should. I for one am very guilty of that. What I’ve learned is that focusing on your body’s health and putting it at the forefront of your priorities will no doubt improve your mental health. Exercise is included in this care, but it’s not all about exercise, which is why bathing to me is more important.

    Be kind to your body. Touch it, love it, embrace it. You are so much more than your body, but your body is yours and yours alone. It depends on you to love it and take care of it. Your body does so much for you. It lets you eat good food, breathe fresh air, it takes you to all the places you’re needed most. So now’s the time to give back to it, and give it the attention, the effort, and the love it deserves.

  • 5. Mindful Cooking

    Cooking

    Another way you care and love for your body is by feeding it good food that not only tastes good, but gives you energy, and allows you to grow and thrive. In a similar way as mindful bathing, mindful cooking employs the same 5 sense reflections. Play sounds that relax you as you cook. I’d highly recommend jazz music. Use healthy ingredients that taste and smell good to you. This will make you more excited to dig in anyway. Try some of my favorite recipes here.

    Also, this might not be for everyone, but I love when I put effort into my food presentation. Garnishes are everythingggg. And if your eyes are just as excited to eat your food as your nose and mouth are, that can only make the food better right?

    Mindful cooking also means being aware of how certain foods make your body feel. For example, I’ve noticed my body reacting negatively to lactose recently, so I’m trying out going lactose-free for a bit to see how that goes.

  • 6. Space Control

    cleaning

    While mindful cooking and bathing can do wonders to relax you and center yourself, those can only do so much if your space is stressing you out. I get it. Being an adult means constantly doing the dishes, wiping the counters, and making the bed among other things. But, I do know that once I put in the effort to clean the clutter, I almost always feel better.

    Sometimes, life can feel like it’s out of our control. And a lot of time that’s true and there’s only so much we can do about it. But, your space (and your body) is yours. You have control over your space, so if you want to put off doing those dishes for a few days, DO IT! Because you can. But, if your mind starts to feel as cluttered with emotion as your home, it might be time to finally do the thing. Because it can get overwhelming living in a cluttered space with a cluttered mind. Organize, reorganize, clean. Do what you need to do to feel more comfortable in YOUR space. Physically make room for the growth you want to see in yourself. <3

  • 7. Envision The Future You Want For Yourself

    Vision Board

    Alright. You’ve purged. You’ve reflected. You’ve taken care of your mind, your body, and your space. Now, it’s time to get excited for the future. You’ve done all the hard stuff. Now, it’s time to get creative and get manifesting. That’s right: VISION BOARDS!

    Even if you’re like me and not artistically talented AT ALL (LOL, it’s actually embarrassing), even just writing down or speaking out loud what you want for yourself can be extremely empowering. When doing this it’s important not to ask for whatever you want. You are demanding what you want from the universe or whichever higher being you believe in. You are setting goals and expectations for your future.

    In setting these, it’s important to be as specific as possible. You want your dream job? What’s the company? Where will it be? What will your hours look like? What kind fo coworkers do you want? Leave no rock unturned. You want a new partner? What are the things they value? What do you want to learn from them? How do you want to grow with them? Envision this new relationship exactly how you’d want it to be. And remember this powerful mantra: I don’t chase, I attract. What belongs to me will simply find me.