If you’ve been on Instagram at all this year, you’ve probably noticed the body positivity movement gaining steam. Women are shrugging off the false definitions of “beauty” that have seemingly been forced on them by societal messaging for far too long. In doing so, many of these women have taken to Instagram to announce that they’re proud of their bodies—as they damn well should be.
Artist, author, and Instagram influencer Justina Blakeney posted a photo of herself in a bikini earlier this month, writing: “As an adult I’ve been a size six and a size sixteen. What that’s taught me is that self confidence has no size. So throw on those bikinis and let’s go to the beach, cuz the sun, sand and waves don’t care about cellulite, back fat and thigh chub!!” True? You bet. But is it “brave” to announce this realization on social media?
Blakeney posted another bikini pic just a few days ago to clarify her thoughts on self-love. “I do not think I am brave for loving myself," she wrote. "I think I am lucky. I am lucky to have a body that has served me so well over these forty years; a body that has carried me to the tops of mountains and to the middle of oceans, and brought a human into the world. My body is strong and resilient.”
Blakeney’s post speaks volumes about what the body positivity movement has turned into as a result of diet culture. The original message of the body positivity movement was simple: You can and should be proud of your body and love it no matter what you look like.
Diet culture has warped that idea into something along the lines of: You should love your body by being thin. This message signifies that loving your body as it is requires some type of radical confidence or divine self-esteem. But Blakeney’s post challenges that idea, claiming that truly embracing yourself no matter what you look like isn't a feat of bravery at all.
Her caption goes on to explain that it is, in fact, hard to undo years of messaging that have told you what you’re “supposed to” look like. (How could it not be, given the way the beauty and media industries have promoted—and profited off of—female insecurities for decades?) “Loving myself took practice," she wrote. "It took work. We have to delete millions of messages we’ve received throughout our lives telling us all the ways that [we’re] not enough. But we *are* enough. We are more than enough.”
But there's a light at the end of the body-acceptance tunnel: Blakeney emphasizes that once you do get there, it’s good. She wrote, “When we love ourselves enough our cup runneth over and we get to spread that love around to others and fill them up with love too.”
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