I recently stumbled across something called the Body Neutrality Movement. You may have already been familiar with the Body Positivity Movement that has been gaining popularity the past few years. But body neutrality takes a more neutral stance when it comes to self-love.
What is body neutrality?
Coined in 2010 by a treatment program for binge and emotional eating, body neutrality aims to put less emphasis on appearance and attractiveness in relation to our bodies.
Body positivity believes you should feel beautiful despite pressure from societal standards. Body neutrality moves away from outward appearance as markers for self-love.
Why it works for me
I’ve always severely struggled with body image. I won’t sit here and say that this movement has cured me of all of these lifelong issues. But what I can say is that the only thing I found helpful in a culture obsessed with appearance, is body neutrality.
Body positivity will never work for me. I don’t feel good about myself all of the time. There are so many things I desperately want to change about my appearance. So a movement that emphasizes appearance and attractiveness, and the idea that once you realize your beauty you will finally love yourself, will never help me.
I like that body neutrality tells me my worth is not in my appearance. I have a body, that body allows me to move throughout the world. It is neither beautiful nor ugly. It just is.
Let me be neutral
I recently did a book review on a feminist literature classic, “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf and it completely changed my way of thinking. I had finally found something that fully encapsulated my feelings on feminism and body image.
Women have to nip, tuck, tone, and change every part of ourselves to be socially accepted. I don’t want the pressures of altering my natural state, while men don’t have to worry about such a thing. Just us existing as is, is treated as an act of rebellion. I want to be neutral.
Ultimately, I believe the Body Neutrality Movement and The Beauty Myth perfectly intersect. Naomi Wolf believes women should break free of what she calls “The Iron Maiden”- an unattainable set of standards that is then used to punish women if they don’t achieve it. And body neutrality strays from the idea that our self-worth is built into our outer-appearance.
Finding the Body Neutrality Movement has been consequential to building the framework for healing. One of my favorite quotes states: “Your beauty is not a rent you pay to exist in the world.” I believe this perfectly encapsulates what this movement truly is.
Realizing my appearance doesn’t have to be at the forefront of self-love or acceptance, (as simple as it sounds), was groundbreaking for me. And I hope to continue learning more about this movement and applying it throughout my life.
Read more body neutral content: How to Improve Your Body Image With Body Neutrality