The body positivity movement is sweeping social media. Instagrammer The Tiny Tank talks to us about BOPO and openly shares her story.
As white girl with a fitness Instagram, I understand that my story has been told a thousand times over, and that I do not represent a vast majority of those who are marginalized in our society. However, I do think that BOPO is hard, for any girl (or guy); thin, fat, black, white, rich, poor, straight, LGBTQ, disabled.
No matter our privilege (or lack thereof) we are defined in so many ways, by so many different subsections/labels, and through so many different exterior outlets. Often our own insecurities are what we project onto others. Our social conditioning (*coughs* internalized misogyny *coughs*) has taught us we need to look a certain way to be ‘pretty’ or ‘attractive’, but if you stopped for a minute, and looked at every single face you saw, really studied it… I don’t think you’d consider anyone ugly.
Let’s think about the following…
WHY do heinously zoomed in mirrors exist, who is this helpful for? No one has vision that extensive.
WHO decided that it’s so embarrassing to sweat or get your period? But it’s so totally normal (if not expected) for us to ‘paint’ our faces and wear weird skin coloured tights.
HOW is it okay that a man can have hair over his whole entire body but if you have a stray pubic hair everyone is up in arms about it.
(*coughs* blame the patriarchy *coughs*)
Battling my own insecurities
Probably one of my biggest insecurities is how much I sweat, I’ve never written about it before, but anyone who knows me well will know it’s a huge bug bear. I sweat when it’s cold, when it’s hot and when I’m nervous or excited. Genuinely sweat droplets down my armpits like 24/7.
When I was at school I used to think, it was the most embarrassing thing. I would sweat through my shirt and jumper right through to my blazer. Then when it dried I’d have huge white deodorant circles, so I’d keep my arms pinned down like a little penguin. I was so mortified.
I still sweat but not as much as I did then, and I’ve noticed it’s mostly when I’m worried about my “perspiration issues” that I then start drowning in my own anxiety- literally. Maybe if sweating was accepted as a natural biological function rather than a cause for humiliation I wouldn’t have had such a problem?
Pressure in society
Whilst sweating may seem like NBD, there are unacceptable pressures put on women (and men) everyday: and it’s one of the reasons that I am so grateful for social media.
Growing up with magazines, I never saw people showcasing their cellulite/stretch marks – let alone anyone with a remotely ‘normal’ (I HATE that word) figure, unless they were unfortunate enough to be featured in a ‘so and so has put on weight’ article. What’s more the women I knew in ‘real life’ were being oppressed by this indoctrination of perfection. One minute your mum is picking which fruit her body shape is; pear, apple etc. and then next thing you know Trinny and Susannah are on the TV saying ‘there isn’t a single woman who can’t find one fault with her figure, but we can all learn to hide what we don’t like’. Don’t get me wrong, I bloody loved What Not to Wear, but it is a perfect example of how women are objectified- not least at the hands of other women.
Social media helped change my perspective
Social media transformed my sense of self, I found that I ‘fitted in’, albeit my journey started as an aesthetic venture, it was the first time in my life that a body I liked, was a body that I could have.
Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley- those were my muses growing up; I used to stand in my bedroom and twist my legs out to try and make myself have a thigh gap, and be mortified to wear shorts to games. I used to avoid most sporting activities at school, too ashamed of my body. That makes me upset to write, because looking back I wish I had had the confidence, I LOVE exercising now. What a counter intuitive thought that is, “I’m too fat to exercise”, but it’s one that stayed with me for years, and I know many others feel the same.
Body positivity movement
Gladly, the BOPO movement on social media is awe inspiring. I know that being muscly/thick is a current trend, much like Effy from skins fitted into the ‘Heroin Chic’ look, but it’s still a step in the right direction. If only we could have every body type represented simultaneously, not just on social media, but in the mainstream media and in high fashion. Not as a publicity stunt, or as a brave act, but because one body type cannot represent millions of different women. Unlike Trinny and Susannah, I think the BOPO movement is teaching us to learn to love the bits we don’t like, rather than how to cover them up!
If you are reading this then I ask you to remember:
You are beautiful
You are original
You are dignified
You are you
You are powerful
You are optimistic
You are self-assured
You are important
You are timeless
You are independent
You are valued
You are inspiring
You are triumphant
You are you
TheTinyTank is a certified PT and online coach currently studying at University in Cardiff. She has over 51 K followers on Instagram. To follow TheTinyTank check out her Instagram or YouTube Channel.
If you have a body positivity story or a perspective on the body positivity moment to share then let us know! Drop us a comment below or message us on the TOTM Instagram.