I recently listened to an interview with Sonya Renee Taylor and her new book: The Body is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love and it got me thinking about how much my life has changed in the past few years. Because of my decision to reject diet culture and systems designed to objectify bodies, I didn’t realize I was also rejecting an unethical hierarchy of self-worth based on appearance alone.
Sonya is so inspiring with her mission to dismantle systems of body-based oppression and how she believes that “inequality, oppression and injustice are in key ways, a manifestation of our inability to make peace with our bodies.” – Sonya Renee Taylor
Before this interview, I had never thought about body shaming this way. I had always thought of it as an idea I had to reject because I knew it didn’t serve me, but I never thought about the reason behind it; that body shaming is just another way for societal systems to gain control over us.
I’m sure it comes at no surprise to hear that a lot of our systems are broken. So many of them have been designed years ago when unethical practices were the norm. But times have changed. And I think it’s time we do something about it.
Sonya goes on to talk about the only way to dismantle the system of body oppression is to leave it. If we continue to participate in it, then we continue to uphold it.
If you’re reading this, then I imagine you agree with me that people’s worth has nothing to do with what their bodies look like. So then why we do we continue to engage in these self-hating and self-shaming behaviours that only perpetuates this idea? (And I am guilty of this too, so I’m asking myself the same question)
However, if we all decided to stop shaming our bodies – we could make real, meaningful change. We could dismantle the system. We could abolish the hierarchy of body oppression.
But I know what you might be thinking: “That sounds like a lot of work Jess. How can I make a difference?”
You can make a difference.
It starts with you accepting yourself as you are.
It starts with you not apologizing for your body.
It starts with you celebrating your natural beauty.
It starts with you.
Start by reading this blog post (and this one!) and follow people on social media who are fighting the system like: Sonya Renee Taylor, I_weigh, Own It Babe, The Birds Papaya, Bodyposipanda, Stephanie Yeboah, etc. to help you change your perspective. And make sure you stop following or mute any toxic accounts who uphold the system (even if they are your friends).
If we all do our part to reject body oppression, we can make a very meaningful difference and change the trajectory of our future and our children’s future.
Because when you finally choose to stop tearing yourself down, you start lifting yourself and others up. And that my friend is radical self-love.