The difference between body positivity and body neutrality has been asked of me a lot lately so I felt called to open the conversation around the two concepts (something I did in a recent live Q&A over in my Powerful Purpose Facebook Community).

Reading this might just provide you with enough information to make an informed decision – which (if any) is right for you? Or at the very least increase your awareness by planting a seed of thought so you can begin to explore the subject a little deeper.

To kick off, let’s start with the more common of the two Body Positivity.

It’s literally been decades since the body positivity movement took full flight. 

What initially started out as a desire to end fat-shaming in the 1960’s, years later triggered an expansion into Body Positivity in the mid -1990’s when a psychotherapist and an individual who had been through treatment for an eating disorder founded The Body Positive.

Since then the pursuit of loving our bodies has shifted and grown into what we now see body positivity as being today – depending on who you ask the answer may vary slightly but ultimately the outcome we strive for is;

  • Appreciating your body and accepting it as it is
  • Feeling confidence and love towards your body
  • Loving yourself
  • Accepting your body’s shape and size

As a society we are exposed to largely negative messages about our bodies, food and lifestyle. With a good versus bad, perfect versus imperfect, all or nothing approach being marketed to us there is a significant toll being taken on mental health and well-being. 

The impact? How we feel about our appearance and self worth is sadly, tainted. 

How many times have you scrolled IG and walked away feeling worse about your body than when you started?

Have you ever walked away from a social media scroll ready to take on the next fad (and chances are, highly restrictive) diet or exercise regime because a celebrity you LOVE suggested it?

Now with this type of critical judgment of our bodies being so harmful, the body positivity movement has experienced rapid growth (with a little help from social media, obviously!).

To be fully transparent, body positivity still aligns with assigning a value to how you think about your body (albeit a positive one, but a value nonetheless). For example:

Society: Fat is bad.
Body Positivity: I love the fat on my body.

Society: My body is too thin/big/muscular/soft.
Body Positivity: My body is beautiful.

Now if you’ve read to this point and started nodding along buying fully into the pursuit of ultimate body positivity, hold on. Keep reading and let’s explore Body Neutrality before you join the BP movement.

Body Neutrality is the up and coming artist if you like. A relatively new concept that encourages you to occupy the middle zone and as the name suggests, remain neutral

It’s about now that you might be thinking “Linsi, what the?!”

Stay with me…

What Body Neutrality does is encourages you to be objective and align with acceptance. You neither love nor hate your body and you no longer place a value on your body, instead you make peace with what it is regardless of whether you approve of it – or even like it.

No judgement.

To give you the full picture, let’s revisit those examples;

Society: Fat is bad.
Body Positivity: I love the fat on my body.
Body Neutrality: Fat is just fat.

Society: My body is too thin/big/muscular/soft.
Body Positivity: My body is beautiful.
Body Neutrality: I accept my body as it is.

So, which one is for you? If any?

While some might suggest Body Positivity has had its day, others lean into it and embrace the opportunity with two hands to find not only an accepting relationship but a loving one with the skin they are in. 

And, for the growing numbers who feel the affirmation “I love my body just the way it is” or the like, doesn’t quite stick and never will? Body neutrality provides an indifferent alternative to revel in what their body can do rather than what it looks like.  

The truth is in each stage of your self discovery journey there are going to be times (days, months, years, seasons) where you lean more deeply into one than the other, and that’s ok. You are in the driver’s seat and can detour, take an exit or simply slow down any time you like without judgment, ego or critisism.

If right now your awareness has been ignited and the result is a peaked interest with a desire to actively discover more, I would lovingly suggest you do your research.

Move away from assumptions and instead surrender to embracing what aligns most with your beliefs around body image & self love. And above all else, pursue with ease and an open mind.

Big Love & Wellness 💜💫
Linsi xo

 

Resources

The Body Positive

Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet that Critical Voice!) – Book by Connie Sobczak

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