Are body positive socials helpful?
Has looking at body positive social media ever made you feel worse rather than better about your body?
If it has, it’s more common than you might think!
In this post, I explore why body positive socials aren’t always helpful for body image, and how you can edit your feeds to make sure they are.
Listen or read below:
The issue with body positive socials
Recently, a client was worried that the body positive socials she was following weren’t helping her to accept and appreciate her body.
When I questioned her about the accounts, she said the bodies she saw still made her feel her body wasn’t ‘good enough’.
And herein lies one major issue with body positive socials, that many are body centric. They’re still showing pictures of bodies, rather than helping us feel we are more than a body.
Now don’t get me wrong, body positivity has done a lot to help more women feel represented in the media.
Images of unrealistic and unattainable beauty rule social media. Greater body diversity is an improvement, especially because research shows that social media has a negative impact on body image.
But here’s the thing…
If we want to live our lives free from body hate, we need to turn the narrative away from liking or loving how our body looks, and towards knowing that we are more than a body in the first place.
What’s triggering about body positive socials
Seeing images of women proudly showing their bodies off, while promoting greater body diversity, can still trigger insecurity in the women looking at them.
Why is this?
Firstly, it creates the idea that to feel good in your body you should enjoy showing it off.
Secondly, that you need to love it all the time.
Neither of these are true for most women! (Of course, if either or both apply to you, that’s great, but they aren’t necessary for a better body image).
And body positive socials too often show bodies that are close to mainstream beauty ideals.
Typically, we see pictures of beautiful, white, able bodied women with perfect skin and slightly larger tummies or rounded thighs.
For the women seeking reassurance or comfort in the bopo community, they’re often disappointed when their body still doesn’t measure up.
For my client, the social media she followed made her feel a failure at body acceptance because 1) she didn’t want to be seen publicly in her knickers, 2) she didn’t like her body all the time, and 3) her body didn’t conform to the beauty ideals she saw in her body positive feed.
Clean up your social media
So, if you’re having a similar experience, and your body positive socials aren’t helping you accept your body, here’s what you can do:
Examine your feeds and notice the body positive socials that are triggering
Make a note what it is about them. More than likely, these accounts are body centric, featuring bodies that you don’t feel are representative of your own.
Prune your feed
Only include socials that encourage you to see yourself as more than a body – that help you to take the focus off your body and onto your life.
When I suggested this approach to my client, it was a real light bulb moment for her! She took the decision to prune down her feed and to get rid of any that focussed on showing womens’ bodies.
And if you need help with some suggestions, here are some of my favourite social accounts:
I’d love to know, how do body positive socials affect how you feel about your body? Do they have a largely positive or negative impact on you? Leave a comment below.