Is body positivity just another branch of toxic beauty culture?

by Cookie

Photo by Anete Lusina on

The past 15 months have been epic. As in, epically difficult in so many ways.

So many pressures coming from every single angle, and the inability to really control or plan for anything because every single moment seems to be hanging on the edge of a knife, ready to fall or change or be sliced open.

It is exhausting to live in a perpetual state of wondering what tomorrow will bring when your choices are limited and you have no power over the decisions that affect your life.

For a woman, particularly a working mother, we are used to living in a world that calls on us to meet the expectations of everyone around us. Having to give a 100% in all of our roles lest we be judged by our bosses, our families, our fellow mothers and ourselves.

And now, with those expectations amplified with limited or no options for ways to recharge or take breaks or say no, I am feeling especially tired of any expectation of beauty standards or body image attacks or fashion or any of it really.

I have always been a huge advocate for body positivity, self-acceptance, fitness at any size, and ignoring stupidly unattainable goals that some dickhead decided was hot. And now I am questioning if even that is something we should give a shit about.

Why do I have to be beautiful to be worthy?

Why do I have to be skinny or fit or groomed, or feel like I should celebrate my stretch marks or surgical scars or any of it? Is body positivity just some other bullshit vanity marketing tool?

Why is beauty a PHYSICAL attribute? I mean, to begin with, what is beautiful to me visually is not beautiful to another person. Beauty rather might be better defined by personality traits like kindness, consideration, self sacrifice, love and generosity.

And in terms of the past 15 months of our lives, when there is so much pressure on us to be all of things without much time to consider for ourselves, why are women most specifically still worried about whether they are beautiful or not? I honestly don’t know who has time to fucking care right now.

Maybe I am just burnt out. Maybe I am lazy. Maybe I am lucky to be in a relationship with someone who sees ME, not just my appearance. Maybe I am throwing in the towel and going full Apocalypse Dom where no one cuts their hair and having a shower is a major accomplishment and fatness is a sign of stability and wealth rather than a shamed thing we try to hide.

Maybe Covid has worn me down and shown me that beauty standards are fucking bullshit and has taught me to re-establish my priorities. Maybe beauty never even really existed and women should finally feel like they don’t have to hurt themselves with dieting or over exercising or guilt about eating something delicious or spending their hard earned money on fake eyelashes and nails or hair dye.

Maybe I’ll change my mind. Who knows.

But honestly, right now….I am going to let my hair grow wild and my eyebrows go unplucked and I’ll wear nothing but leggings and comfortable shoes and promote things that celebrate the beauty that exists in humanity on the inside.

It’s nice to be “pretty”, but let’s promote beautiful humanity rather than a pretty picture.