In the last 10 years there has been a huge rollercoaster ride of trends and emotions when it comes to women’s bodies and how they are policed in society. These last few years though have shown a real shifts in attitudes when it comes to people, especially women, and their bodies. With the rise of influencers of all ages, sizes, race and genders the body positivity movement has pushed its way into the masses and has shown a bright future to many.
There are many supporters and haters of this movement and each comes armed with arguments and pitchforks for their side. Some say that it is a way of promoting obesity and unhealthy lifestyles by masking them as okay and others say that it is just a way of helping people love themselves instead of wasting years on self-loathing. Now whether you agree or disagree with the body positivity movement, you can agree that it has taken its hold of society and is starting to create a shift in culture. It is causing people to question diet culture and the dieting industry, is it based upon wanting to make people healthy or is it to shame people into paying more money for fads such as detox tea? It’s helping people realise that they are more than just their bodies and that their worth is not linked into their looks. That is obviously an amazing thing to have happened and that will never be taken away from the movement, but I think something which has come from that is a hyper awareness of our bodies and the pressures on them. When we promote or channel body confidence we are still aware of the critiques that are all around on our bodies. When we say “I’m proud of my stretch marks” or “I don’t care about my rolls showing in this picture” we almost admit that them aspects of our bodies are wrong and we don’t care about them. Which is fine in the form of rebellion but when it comes to confidence it shouldn’t be about fighting against apparent flaws it should just be love for yourself.
Self confidence is the confidence you have for yourself and within yourself. It is what gives you the tools to unapologetically stand up and say ” I am who I am, and I fucking love it”, its what allows people to be whoever they are and not care what others think of them. Some say it creates egotistical and arrogant monsters out of people, they believe that people are going too far to the other end of the spectrum by becoming so full of themselves.
Now here is where the shift in culture is most obvious and prevalent to me, in school we would always hear about confidence building activities or were told to be more self-confident when doing things such as public speaking or performances. Not once was I told to not care about what people thought about my body, I mean my body was never really brought into it. I wasn’t that aware of the effect that my body may have on myself, my work or ultimately others. However in the world of social media, I am constantly told to love my body and what it can do. I see people posting pictures of what they deem as ‘unflattering’ angles and telling me “fuck the haters”. Do you see the shift I mean? I guess in the world of social media your body is much more on show, and therefore up for pickings, than your passion or your voice. Maybe that is because people are more likely to criticise somebody’s body from behind a screen than to their faces. Maybe that is because people are fed a certain narrative of how a woman ‘should’ look and when somebody didn’t fit that they were branded as a freak or unnatural. Who knows why that is truly.
Self-confidence isn’t as openly pushed especially online anymore, there is just more content linked to physical appearance rather than intrinsic value. As somebody who is analysing everything they see and hear in the world of media, I have noticed how people aren’t celebrated much for their self confidence. People aren’t pushed to share their self-confidence as they are to share their body confidence. I feel like being at peace with your inner self and inner confidence is much harder than body confidence, your body will change over your lifetime but your self is pretty permanent. So why aren’t we taught how to be self-confident? Could it all be linked? Do we have to have body confidence to then gain self confidence? Or the other way around? It’s such a hard topic to discuss because there are so many factors contributing to all sides of this debate. In this day and age mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety is on the rise, these illnesses are linked to our idea of our self worth and how we are or feel as human beings. Could a push in a self confidence movement similar to the body positivity movement help with this epidemic? Could we be supported in our mental complexities if we were taught much more about loving WHO you are and not just what you look like?
Something that I have been dwelling on for quite a while is the importance of confidence in general but also the effects of self or body confidence, particularly the movements which stand behind them. On one hand I think that body confidence is amazing and the movement is important, this is due to the rise of mental healthy issues related to body issues such as eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
However I feel like it can impact vulnerable demographics such as young people in a negative way, this can be in making people more aware of their body and making them pick themselves apart. It’s so hard to find a balance and especially with all of the SHIT that could be online that they can see, which could cause physical or mental issues.
So where do we go from here?? I feel like we need to learn to not put too much emphasis on certain aspects of confidence. I think we should work on connecting the dots in our mind of the things which we love about ourselves and also what we want to learn to love. Confidence is so important on an inner level and it needs to come from within and never from external validation.
These are my thoughts on self confidence and body confidence, now I’d love to know yours! Please tell me down below which you think is more important and how we can work on it as a generation!
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