This article was originally posted August 31, 2015
“The body acceptance movement, despite its good intentions, is flawed.”
What do you think of this statement? Perhaps before you make a decision, you’ll let me debrief you on the thought process behind this statement.
In her article, “Body acceptance movement fundamentally flawed,” writer and theologian, Louise McEwan explains her stance that,
“Body acceptance has little to do with clothing size — it has everything to do with the condition of our interior life. If we obsess on our appearance to the exclusion of our inner transformation, we will never be comfortable in our own body.”
I have to tell you, I appreciate this view so much more than focusing on whether or not there is a woman deemed “thin” or “fat” by societies standards on the cover of a magazine (BTW, why is it we don’t ever use images of women who fit within that spectrum?).
While I agree that a variety of shapes and sizes on the covers of magazines and online help to create acceptance for all shapes and sizes — I don’t believe this is the answer to eradicate disordered eating — it doesn’t get to the root of the issue.
For example, if you have weeds in your yard — perhaps those beloved dandelions or thistles— if you really wanted to get rid of them (tangent: I personally would love a yard full of dandies) — you wouldn’t just pluck the head or thistle top and leave the stem, right? Instead, you’d dig them to the root to get rid of them for a more sustainable amount of time.
The same is true for body image. We can’t get rid of body image issues and disordered eating just by changing sizes and shapes on covers. As history has shown us, there has always been an evolving “perfect” body image — and most likely, there always will be.
The only way to attain body acceptance then is through “true” body acceptance, which can be found through rigorous work on self-acceptance and self-compassion.
Self-acceptance comes to us in a variety of different ways, and we can find what it is by learning to listen to our inner selves. Some questions we can ask ourselves and meditate or journal about to dig deeper: Why am I unhappy with what I see in the mirror? What are the deeper pains that I am holding onto? What keeps me from loving myself (and others) just the way (they are) I am? What is it about myself that I love?
Self-compassion is extremely useful in creating more peace and acceptance within — it’s a beautiful practice that we could all benefit from. Interested? Check out these links:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM (Loving Kindness meditation)
Want to work towards eradicating disordered eating at the root? Let’s transform ourselves — from the inside out.