As I scrolled through Instagram this morning, I noticed that my entire feed was filled with bikini clad women, these images tagged “#fitspiration”. I follow a handful of personal trainers and fitness experts because I enjoy tips for making an avocado smoothie and how to run without destroying your knees.
But why was everyone posting basically naked photos? I went back and examined the copy –
“New Year, New Me. Promoting body positivity and being happy with how I look!! #bopo #fitspiration”
Oh, I see.
Because we are an image based culture that is driven by social media, we have warped how women perceive empowerment and body positivity. Women today feel empowered when there is a positive response to objectified and sexualized images of themselves.
Please put down your pitchforks and hear me out.
Demi Lovato has been a feminist champion – speaking openly about her issues with weight, an eating disorder and body image. I respect her candor and I believe that we need more female role models that speak openly about these issues.
But, why is it that she has to prove to us that she truly loves her body? And is comfortable in her skin?
Below, you’ll see 2 images. The first is an Instagram Demi posted, captioned,
“Learn to lurrrrrrvveee yerrrr currrrvveees. I actually used to hate them…But then a special someone helped me learn how to love them…And he sure loves them…”
The second image is the Complex Magazine cover from September 2015 – known as Demi’s coming out. Complex has shot a few controversial covers to date (most notably with Kim K and the champagne bottles aimed at breaking the internet). This photo shows Demi topless, in lingerie and sitting on an inflatable banana.
I ask you this, if you cannot tell the difference between a sexually objectified image and a body positive image – is it really empowering?
I know what I am saying goes against modern feminism. The idea that anything goes and we must not critique women. For a long time, I too believed this idea. I was fuming when people criticized Kim Kardashian nude selfie. She should be able to post whatever the hell she wants. It’s her body, it’s her choice.
I still believe that it’s a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body. But the thing is we only reference women in relation to their bodies. These nude selfies and topless photos reinforce the message that women are just bodies and is stark reminder that there is fine line between empowerment and objectification.
We live in a patriarchal society – designed by men to benefit men. Despite what Beyoncé’s song tells us, women run the world. Women are indoctrinated into believing that beauty is capital and our bodies are a commodity. We are conditioned to believe that true empowerment comes from our bodies.
We would never ask this from a man.
“Feel great about yourself Gary? Prove it. Take off your clothes and post a selfie.”
Ridiculous, right? But this is what we demand from women. If a child star needs to tell the world she is ready to be cast as an adult, she poses half nude in GQ or Maxim magazine. Why?
Why do we post nude selfies to portray female empowerment? Because this system has told us that women are just bodies – our value is only in how we look and are perceived.
Instagram is not immune to this system; it runs within it.
Below you’ll see a few images tagged “#bopo”, short for “body positive”. The images show women in bikinis, lingerie and even topless – the messages are truly positive,
The comments underneath the messages are positive as well – women are thanking women for their strength and sending messages of encouragement. I admire these women for embracing their bodies.
I worry about the effects of this type of behavior. 1. You must pose half naked in a photo and share it on Instagram in order to embrace your body. 2. The likes and comments you receive equal the amount of confidence you have
You must be thinking, what do I have against getting confidence from Instagram?
A time-honored adage sums it up: “Confidence is silent, Insecurities are loud.”
My Final Thoughts:
Is the #BoPo movement truly body positivity? Is it how we want our daughters to express empowerment?
we need to stop reducing women to nothing more than the bodies they come in.
We, us, women, we need to stop playing by the rules created for us. We need to stop operating in the current system because by doing so we perpetuate it. We need to show our girls that body positivity does not come from others’ validation of how we look on Instagram. And yes, while feeling good about how you look is important – you are more than your body. You are your mind, you are your relationships, you are your work, you are your accomplishments…more than just a body. More than just a bra size, a waist size – more than your ass, your thighs, your vagina. That is not what defines you.
Feeling good about yourself comes from a deeper understanding of who you are –
You are part of a sacred sisterhood – You are the goddess of life, a creator – You come from a long line of powerful warriors.
“It is time to look within to find the source of your feminine identity, essence and self. Look within to heal and find the truth your voice, wisdom and heart. Look within to find your courage and to embrace your inherent intuition, wisdom and healthy sacred sexuality and wholly embrace the sovereign state of womanhood…Re-align with that with that which exists of life and truth so that you may embrace your fullest expression of your whole and feminine self.”
For More: http://www.beautyredefined.net