Body Positivity Isn't Just for Cis & Gender-Conforming Folks

The Perfect Body.jpg

Where is the place for genderqueer bodies in the body positivity movement? Where are people who experience gender dysphoria supposed to be in a movement that only promotes "loving your body unconditionally” and uses rhetoric such as “the perfect body”?

The foundation for the body positivity movement is amazing. Of course, we should dismantle societal stigmas around scars, body hair, fat, discoloration, and everything else that does not subscribe to "The Norm." We should definitely hold media and corporations accountable for promoting one type of perfect body and shaming all others. The body positivity movement has made great strides towards this by starting conversations that help some people feel better about their self-image.However because of how gendered the conversation is, this movement is missing others. Cisgender women, of course, need a movement that affirms them because they are constantly mistreated, but some aspects of this movement may have unintentional adverse effects on others.

This movement could use improvement in many areas, specifically around having a more race-inclusive component; however, the issues around trans and gender non-conforming folks is given too little attention. Affirmations of one's body are only beneficial when that body is one that does not actually harm your well-being. I do not mean this in the fat-shaming way that much of the negative dialogue around the body positivity movement focuses on. Rather, I mean that there are some people that are actually uncomfortable with their bodies because of the fact that these bodies do not align with their gender identity. Forcing the idea of loving yourself unconditionally down people's throats is counterproductive when they actually feel distressed because of the body they were born into.

Although I am speaking from a place of privilege and different experience as a cisgender woman, I believe this movement should have more space for the different feelings that trans and non-binary folks may have about their bodies. One of the best ways to do this is to simply listen to these individuals that feel uncomfortable and realizing that there is both a time and a place to compliment the way one looks and that there is a time to understand that everyone has a very different lived experience.

Aja Bullock