How This Blogger Came to Realize That Body Positivity Isn't Always About the Way You Look
"Your value as a human being does not come from what you look like on the outside."
With their latest campaign, inclusive lingerie brand Parfait is trying to redefine what it means to have a "perfect figure." To do so, they featured six women in a gorgeous photo series that proves that lingerie is truly meant for every body type.
One of the featured women is curve model Raeann Langas, the creator of Rae Everyday, who recently took to Instagram to share how being part of the campaign helped change what body positivity means to her.
"Body positivity. It's a term that is thrown around a lot on social media (I use it almost daily)," she wrote alongside a picture from Parfait's campaign. "The hashtag has been used over 2 million times on Instagram alone. I think through all of this, the meaning behind the words has gotten a bit lost and misunderstood."
Langas continued by sharing what the term used to mean to her. "It was simply changing your mindset and seeing your body in a positive way rather than always thinking about it negatively," she wrote.
Now, she realizes, it's so much more than that. "It's understanding that your value as a human being does not come from what you look like on the outside," she wrote. "It's a constant journey of learning to accept your body for what it is so that you don't let your insecurities hold you back from living life. It's also striving to be your best self." (Related: Katie Willcox Wants You to Know You're So Much More Than What You See In the Mirror)
Langas isn't alone in feeling that the term "body positivity" is, well, complicated. There's no denying that the movement has accomplished a lot. As Megan Jayne Crabbe, aka @bodyposipanda and author of Body Positive Power previously shared with us: "It has created this widespread cultural awareness of things that very few people were talking about 5 or 10 years ago."
But as with every big movement, there's still work to be done. "We've gotten to a point where body positivity is okay for some people-mostly people who are pretty close to the traditional beauty ideal-to embrace their 'imperfections' but still not okay for people who are further from this ideal," Alexis Conason, Psy.D., psychologist and founder of the Anti-Diet Plan, previously told us. (Related: Why Body-Shaming Is Such a Big Problem and What You Can Do to Stop It)
"For example, we often see body positivity represented in celebrities or models like Ashley Graham," Conason pointed out. "They are doing wonderful important work, but we need to recognize all of the people in more marginalized bodies whose voices are not being heard. And sometimes, in the rare case that a more marginalized voice is heard, there is a lot of backlash." For example, images of model Tess Holliday have been criticized for "promoting obesity." (Related: What We Really Mean When We Call People Fat)
Langas, too, is realizing that being body-positive means to celebrate our unique differences and having a positive body image just as you are right now. "I think being body positive looks different for everyone because we each have areas about ourselves that make us insecure," she wrote. "For me, it was my weight and my size." (Related: Can You Love Your Body and Still Want to Change It?)
Over the past couple of years, Langas has worked hard to maintain a positive body image, regardless of what she sees in the mirror. "It has been a long journey to feel confident and happy in my body but I'm also striving to do better," she wrote. "I want to give my body the love it deserves."