Contributor: Amy M. Klimek, MA, LCPC, Director of Program Development, Eating Disorder Program Coordinator, Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center
Have you ever seen a flyer at the local coffee shop with “body positive” words? Or notice “body love” chalk art on the sidewalk? Those words of encouragement may have been driven by a body activist.
Being an advocate is nothing new; people have advocated on the part of the planet, endangered species and life-threatening illnesses for quite some time.
A New Form of Advocacy
Today, there is a new form of advocacy: being a body advocate. This person works to promote healthy body image by sharing with others through education and awareness how to reclaim their body as their own, defined by their own rules of beauty and acceptance.
Intentionally, this person leads by example through their own actions and words towards others and themselves. This is in response to the tremendous, destructive influence toward body shaming that is currently taking place throughout our culture.
Our entire generation is paralyzed by undesirable, negative body talk primarily through social media. We need to be the change.
How Can I Be a Body Activist?
You may ask how you can be a body activist. First, love, and by extension, take care of your own body. Instead of being forever critical of your body, and essentially at war with it, learn to respect what it does for you. Choose to honor your body, not in parts, but as a whole.
Reclaim your body as your own, no longer being defined by the culture’s definition of “good enough” or “less than.” The love and commitment you extend to your body will be shared with others. Use social media as a platform for compassion and change, not a punching bag.
In your social media activity, text or post messages that are body positive. Pass by the messages directly or indirectly shaming yourself and others through negative self-talk, weight-loss tips or sharing the incredibly defeating diet trends.
Change the Dialogue
Second, absolutely refuse to participate in judgmental conversations. We have all heard them, know what they sound like, and may have participated in them. This includes conversations in your own mind. Change the dialogue. Choose to honor and celebrate the diversity and beauty of all bodies, different bodies, every-bodies. Show up in your body. Explore the experience in your very own skin. Your body is sustainable, rich, and wants to give back to you.
Live the message, “I am choosing health and wellness with happiness and joy.” Advocacy work can start with one person sharing the message for hope and change. Will you be a body advocate? There is no telling how many people will change their very own life, and subsequently, the lives of others.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
In what ways can you become a Body Activist and promote a healthy body image within your community?
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 19th, 2015
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com