The SPARKS blog has been on a bit of a hiatus, but we are back just in time to reflect on Love Your Body Week!
Love Your Body Week was an event that SPARKS put on to promote body positivity at Elon. We had a table in Moseley all last week where we gave out “I <3 My Body” pins, compliments, and candy (because sometimes it’s just nice to treat yo’ self). We also had a huge piece of paper for people to write down parts of their bodies that they love. People wrote everything from “My nose” to “My boobs” to “My broken finger”. It was amazing to see people pausing to say something nice about themselves. We don’t often think to do that.
Something I notice at Elon is that we all can be a little judgmental, especially about bodies and clothing. It’s also not just Elon–it’s really a problem everywhere. Our society makes us think that if we say things like, “Oh, she shouldn’t be wearing those shorts” or, “He’s just wearing that to get attention,” it makes us better than those people. Maybe because we know better, or because we’re proving that we wouldn’t make mistakes. The reality is that putting other people down doesn’t really help anyone.
Bullying is bad, and I’m sure we can all agree on that. However, there are different kinds of bullying that we all might be a little guilty of. Bullying like body-policing or body-shaming can be such a simple thing, but here’s an important thing to consider: it hurts us all. What people “should” or “should not” wear is a made-up idea. What looks “flattering” changes every few years. Instead of judging someone’s clothes or body, let’s start being excited for them. Let’s be excited that somebody wore something they feel good in. What’s wrong with wanting a little attention? What’s wrong with wanting to feel a little beautiful, or exciting, or modest, or whatever makes someone happy?
This obviously doesn’t just apply to women, or to how revealing clothes are. The idea that we shouldn’t judge others also doesn’t mean that we all have to agree on what’s fashionable. People have their own sense of styles, comfort, and opinions on modesty, and all of it is okay! We don’t have to agree, we just have to be able to hold different opinions without shaming, judging, or making others feel bad about their opinions.
I have been working on changing thoughts like, “Those leggings look bad,” and to much healthier and positive thoughts like, “Good for her for rocking something she feels great in!” I can honestly that using positive language and thinking positively feels good. It feels good to compliment people, even when they can’t hear you. It feels even better to compliment them to their faces. Honestly, we could all really use a compliment here and there.
When you accept the unconventional beauty in others, it becomes easier to accept it in yourself. Love your scars, your jiggles, your weird pinky toe! They make you special and unique, and they tell stories. As unavoidably cheesy as this is going to be, let’s try to make every week “Love Your Body Week.” If everyone at Elon intentionally changed a judgment to a compliment every once in a while, we’d all be a little more comfortable with ourselves, and a little happier
- Anna von Wodtke (SPARKS Peer Educator)
If you’re looking for more resources about body positivity, here are a few: