The Body Positivity Movement Shouldn’t Be A One-Way Street

Maggee Chang, Staff Writer

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The Body Positivity Movement is a campaign designed to advocate for body positivity in all women everywhere. Ashley Graham, Sports Illustrated’s first plus-size model to grace the cover, is the face of the movement. She championed the crusade by strutting in her fashion line at New York Fashion Week earlier this week. Diversity and body representation graced the runways, empowering girls from all walks of life (literally.) Women have made great progress in body positivity, accepting everything from cellulite to curves. However, the Body Positivity Movement still has a lot do– they can’t forget the boys.

Not every boy can have six-pack abs just like not every girl can get a flat stomach. Body positivity is practically nonexistent in males. From society’s habit of pushing masculinity, and mainstream media’s attempts to body-shame guys every chance they get, males are silenced into submission about their body image. Even many women, the ones who fuel this positive movement of acceptance, have the tendency to shame guys with “fat” nicknames or jokes. It’s a toxic cycle– for women to change pop culture’s body-shaming ways, they should not fuel that fire. This type of behavior could validate men to shame more women’s bodies, being counterproductive in the very end. Women must understand that the fundamentals of feminism, to be treated equally, apply to men too. Equality is a two-way street. Male body positivity is unrecognized, manifesting a toxic cycle in the clouds.

A deep-rooted cause to body-shaming boys are boys themselves. The fragility of masculinity isn’t masculine at all. Gender roles compartmentalize humans as if they have no individuality. Not all men work out at the gym every other day. Not all men keep their emotions to themselves. All men should accept the fact– society’s teaching of masculinity is the reason behind the lack of body positivity within the gender. If men can’t even cry, what makes boys think it’s okay to be comfortable with their bodies that they believe are unworthy of satisfaction or more?

Through social media, pictures are widespread. Images have the potential to go viral much faster. Teenagers and young adults, the biggest demographic of all social media users, are most susceptible to external ideas. When celebrities are celebrated with photoshop and glamorous but seemingly effortless lifestyles, this audience of vulnerable people will believe the only acceptance they can get is paid with a price– slim bodies. From body dysphoria to eating disorders, the human mind is warped with images of “perfect bodies.” Mental illness is popularized from beauty standards online and on paper. A magazine’s glossy cover or an Instagram post with thousands of likes is the end goal for people everywhere. Diversity in body types in the media is crucial to prevent this toxic society of shallow ideologies– bring in diverse actors into television and cinema without making their weight an issue, have models with curves and cellulite walk the runway as much as Gigi Hadid– normalize normal bodies! Make people believe healthy bodies come in all shape and sizes.

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