We are living in a beautiful time of body-love revolution. Supermodels such as Ashley Graham, Robyn Lawley, and our very own Iskra Lawrence are proving to women that you can love and care for your body at any size. Actresses including Melissa McCarthy and Amy Schumer are speaking up about about body image and proving that even women who are not sample sizes can rock leading roles in film and television. Musicians like Meghan Trainor, Beyonce, and Jennifer Lopez are singing about loving their curves. Even in this era of supposed body positivity, it is important to be aware of whether or not the messages we are receiving are truly about body love, or simply about what men love.
Take Meghan Trainor’s 2014 anthem “All About That Bass.” The song essentially preaches about how curvy women should love themselves because guys prefer “more booty.” The lyrics also put down “stick figure” women in a way that suggests curvy women are better, or more beautiful than, skinny women. While Trainor’s attempts at giving curvy women a confidence boost are appreciated, she is going about it all wrong.
Meghan Trainor is not the only one making this mistake, and she is not to blame for what is truly a much bigger issue. Women have always been pressured to look and act in ways that men find acceptable or attractive. It seems even so-called empowering body-positive messages are often telling women that, as long as men are attracted to their bodies, they are allowed to love their own bodies. In addition, many messages we receive about “body love” are actually messages promoting certain body types, such as curvy bodies or big butts, while completely putting down other body types, such as skinny bodies or flat butts.
Genuine body love is not praising one body type or another. It is not loving our bodies because men love our bodies. True body positivity is encouraging women (and men) to love their own bodies, no matter what their shape or size.
True body positivity is teaching us to love our own bodies because WE love ourselves and our bodies, not because we are “attractive” to others, or because others approve of or validate us.