What Is Body Neutrality?
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What Is Body Neutrality?

Zoe Kramer March 18, 2023

Body positivity has long been championed as a cause to promote self-love and acceptance for people of all shapes and sizes. While this movement has helped many, it doesn’t necessarily create a complete solution for everyone struggling with body image issues. Sometimes the prospect of trying to create feelings of love and positivity towards oneself all the time can be unrealistic and overwhelming. As a result, many people on social media are now choosing to promote body neutrality instead. But what is body neutrality, and how does one practice this mindset?

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How Is Body Neutrality Different From Body Positivity?

Body positivity is the idea of embracing self-love and finding beauty in yourself regardless of your size. While this is great on paper, in practice it can be hard to do, especially when society is constantly enforcing a rigid beauty standard. Trying to be positive all the time can also make you feel worse overall, because it feels disingenuous when it doesn’t line up with how you actually feel. In addition, body positivity can sometimes reinforce the idea that a person’s worth comes from their appearance.

Photo by Andrew Benge/Redferns

Body neutrality is a movement that proposes an alternative both to loving and hating one’s body: simply accepting it for what it is. This approach puts less emphasis on appearance and more emphasis on embracing oneself as a whole person who is more than just a body. It can also involve appreciating your body for what it can do, rather than how it looks.

How To Practice Body Neutrality

One of the best ways to practice body neutrality is to come from a place of gratitude. You might take a moment to appreciate your thighs for their strength that allows you to walk or run. You might appreciate your arms because they allow you to hug a loved one. You might appreciate your belly for holding your organs or for carrying your children. By shifting the focus from appearance to function, you can gain a fuller acceptance of your body.

Another way to practice body neutrality is to listen to what your body tells you. This might involve exercising, not to lose weight, but because you enjoy the feeling of a workout. It means eating when you’re hungry, and resting when you’re tired or sore.

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Zoe Kramer is a full-time staff writer on Freshered. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2022 with a BA in Journalism, Media and English Literature. During her time in university, she worked for her student newspaper as well as completing an internship with a book publisher. She has also written and continues to write book and theatre reviews. She is excited to now be pursuing a career as a journalist and learning something new every day. In particular, she loves writing about student life, books, the Internet, and travel. Originally from the United States, she is enjoying living abroad in the UK.