Body neutrality has begun to replace body positivity. Whereas body positivity asserts that all people deserve to have a positive body image, body neutrality asserts that bodies are neither good nor bad and that the focus should be on their functionality. The problem with body positivity is that it keeps the focus on appearance as the primary goal when there is more to people than how they look. Body neutrality does not urge you to love your body whatever its size or shape. Instead you can learn to appreciate everything it can do: jog, have sex, carry you to far off places. In line with this shift, content creators are questioning the harmful content that proliferates around eating, offering new perspectives to diet culture.
Why is it important?
Many believe shifting the focus away from appearance towards a more holistic appreciation of oneself is a healthier approach to self image. While the body positivity movement has promoted acceptance of obesity, and much traditional advertising has pushed the ideal of Eurocentric beauty, many medical professionals believe that individuals can be thin and unhealthy or overweight and unhealthy. Body neutrality proponents argue that this perspective is better for overall mental wellbeing. Actress Jameela Jamil has amassed a large following of women who subscribe to her belief that you are more than what you weigh. Locally, @betterwithbalance is an Instagram feed which promotes a holistic and balanced approach to diet and exercise.
What can businesses do about it?
Businesses, particularly in the weight loss and body image sectors, should take heed of this emerging shift in attitudes. Consumers are starting to question society’s obsession with appearance and the current notions of beauty: this will start to exert pressure on the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry. Businesses should embrace this new outlook and cater for this type of consumer in the products and services they sell and in their marketing strategies. While this type of consumer may be in the minority at the moment, we are expecting this trend to continue to grow.
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By Faeeza Khan
Image credit: Jeffrey Grospe