Denim is a trend. Body positivity is not.

Body positivity

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REEK Perfume

Body positivity has had an astronomical increase in popularity in recent months. Even if it’s not something you follow closely, there are probably figures from the movement that you’d recognise because of the amount of mainstream coverage it’s gotten. It’s been covered by outlets with huge audiences, showcasing the work of amazing people and subsections of the movement who are preaching the message of self-love. Even publicly calling out body-shaming by other companies, celebs and news outlets. Obviously, this is incredible. It’s something that I personally have been waiting to happen ever since I started The Body Confidence Revolution four years ago. But I also can’t help but worry that instead of becoming a permanent topic of conversation that leads to real change, it’s going to become a trend. That will eventually fade out and be replaced by another. I worry that it has already become a trend.

I regularly talk about the immense power that social media has. It’s awe-inspiring but also pretty intimidating and scary. So many companies use its influence to spread messages of negativity in order to further their money-making agendas. Remember the thigh-gap trend? Without social media, that wouldn’t have been seen by so many. So, to see its capacity being utilised in overtly positive ways by people like Bodyposipanda for example is genuinely heartwarming. There are countless numbers of us who are fed up of the nonsense we are drip-fed on a daily basis, to the point where more and more of us are using our voices and taking to social media to challenge it. That’s a brave and frankly awesome thing to do. And I hope it continues to grow. But it doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Mainly money making ones.

The collective following of the “main figures” within the body positive community online is staggering. Easily well over one million. On Instagram alone. And they’re collaborating with brands who have a genuine, heartfelt interest in body positive advertising. HOLLA AT YA, CURVY KATE. Which I don’t need to praise, it’s pretty blatantly badass. But what isn’t, is jumping on the bandwagon in order to generate views, likes, comments and profit. Many self-love influencers have publicly talked about being approached by companies who evidently have no real interest in the meaning of the movement; but want to leech off of the fact that body positivity is on everyone’s lips at the moment. Not. Cool.

Brands need to stop seeing bopo as being a way to make more money. To generate more publicity. And in some cases, even outright lie to their customers and viewers. It is not a hook. It is not a fad. It is something that in 2017, should already be being fully embraced by each and every clothing brand and mainstream media company out there in my opinion. It is not something for you to jump on the back of in order to further an agenda that is entirely different from what we are actually trying to achieve here. If you see it, call it out! If we don’t keep shouting at the top of our lungs, how will they know we’re onto them?

 

Denim is a trend. Body positivity is NOT.

Leyah Shanks

I run a self-love movement for ALL humans called #TBCR. Activist for body positivity. Mental illness survivor and advocate from bonnie Scotland! BA Digital Media student

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