May 18, 2022 12:03 am

Why is the body positivity movement critical? 5 keys to join

With the strong irruption of feminisms and the multiplicity of voices in this digital world, women began to put some questions that they had totally assumed between signs of questions. Suddenly, we realize that we do not want them to tell us how we have to see ourselves, to dictate formulas to us. Today, someone raising their little finger saying how a woman should look is beginning to be perceived as an archaic attitude. We begin to realize that we can choose who we want to be and free ourselves from a few impositions. And this process –gradual for some, vertiginous for others– is irreversible.

Many celebrities are no strangers to this. “I don’t submit anymore”, is the message of dozens of actresses, singers and models who stopped dyeing their gray hair, showing their wrinkles or their kilos. It happened a few weeks ago, when, at the premiere of And Just Like That, they interviewed Sarah Jessica Parker – our dear Carrie – and she said: “I know how I look, I know about my gray hair and my wrinkles, what do you want? Stop getting old? What disappears?. Or when Camila Cabello said that she went for a run with her belly uncovered. Then he saw the paparazzi and heard a voice in his head telling him to cover it up. Then he thought: “This is not my voice, it is the voice of society that tells me that you have to have the body that I see on Instagram.” Also the actress Cecilia Roth protested when she came out excessively rejuvenated with digital retouching on a magazine cover. “I want to be as I am at the age I am and with the time I have lived”, He said.

In social networks, the signs of exhaustion are increasing. With the end of one-way messages, telling us what was cute and what wasn’t, dissenting messages exploded. On the one hand, there are the #bodypositive influencers: women who decide not only to stop hiding their body, but also to enjoy it, show it off, enjoy it; on the other, fat, brown, pro-age activism: women –mostly, but also men– who decide to militate non-hegemonic beauty. Now that anonymous people make themselves heard, we can hear how those who do not fit into what is supposedly desirable think, feel, and live. And all of us are learning and unlearning at a rapid pace. Thus we have Agus Cabaleiro, Brenda Mato, Lux Moreno and others who are making visible a mandate that was tacit for years: you have to see yourself like this. There are accounts that distort aesthetic pressure on us, such as @Bellamente or @Mujeresquenofuerontapa. The latter recently popularized the #HermanaSoltáLaPanza campaign, inviting all women to stop sticking their belly out and/or cover it up. Hundreds of women in different parts of the world joined, showing in photos how their belly really looks and even t-shirts and street posters with the slogan came out. A true online revolution that has a very powerful correlation within each one and in the collective. We begin to look differently and to disarm –not without pain– mandates that we internalize.

Surely you have heard of “hegemonic bodies”. What exactly would be a hegemonic body? What is hegemony? The concept of hegemony was coined by the Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci. He said that, at the cultural/symbolic level, in a diverse society the values ​​of the ruling class prevail. In our world this is: Eurocentrist, young and white. The hegemonic beauty model was imposed by Western culture and refers above all to the healthy, stylized, young and white body. Of course, for many of us this is not visible because we are not even close to suffering the consequences of this model.

On this path of distorting the ideals of beauty, one of the first to raise her voice was Naomi Wolf, who published The Beauty Myth in 1990. Wolf put the female body on the table. He dissected it and explained something that seems obvious today, but that had not been said before in this way: that the beauty of women is a patriarchal construction imposed with a political objective. “A culture obsessed with female thinness is not obsessed with the beauty of women but with their obedience,” she said. The idea is that if we are always dissatisfied with who we are, we will be submissive and vulnerable to the indications that we receive.

Then Virgie Tovar took over, also from the United States, with her book You Have the Right to Stay Fat. She says that the diet is an “assisted femicide” that is executed in two ways, on a physical level and on an emotional level. “Women starve to be thin and suffer from eating disorders that lead to very serious health problems,” he warns. On the other hand, she says, we’re taught that if we’re not skinny, we’ll never be “worthy or lovable.” But it goes further. Because he understands that in this system where our body is a matter of opinion, fatness is only one of the items.

It is undeniable that in the background are the systems that organize our society: capitalist and patriarchal, that need us to be productive, pregnant and busy consuming products that make us desirable. It is no coincidence that the #BodyPositive movement and now activism against beauty canons arise after #NiUnaMenos and #MeToo. First we ask for the basics: stop killing us, and now we are going for more, that is: stop telling us how we have to see ourselves, who can be desirable and desiring and who cannot. The struggles are taking place all together, it is true, and the chips are falling by the dozen, but, as Luciana Peker says in her book Putita golosa: “The women’s revolution is vertiginous and determined. It is not possible to go back or bow your head, because, against machismo, the worst path is halfway there.”

Today we begin to look differently, we distort mandates and stereotypes. It’s an internal click. There is a certain impotence, because one cannot see again as before. And there is resistance, too, to unlearn all these mandates that limit us, that impoverish our quality of life. We are afraid of unlearning because, to a large extent, it means disobeying. And it’s much more tempting to fit in, isn’t it? And it is that, to a large extent, this system hardly has to remind us of its rules: we have fully internalized them.

The important thing is to stop the ball. Faced with mandates from the outside –a “we don’t have sizes for you”, an advertising photo, a comment on social networks–, ask ourselves what feeling we have. Many times we let our emotions pass, we do not give them value because it seems to us that we are exaggerating, but, in reality, it is that something affects us and a lot.

Faced with our own lapidary thoughts and automatic behaviors, we can ask ourselves: “Does this internal voice reproduce my desire or that of validation from the outside? For what or who do I dye? For what or who do I do this treatment? For what or who do I take care of my nutrition? We also know that it is a process. So let’s treat each other well in the meantime. The activist Agus Cabaleiro, in her book I tell you for your own good, gives some keys:

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