Celebrating Body Positivity During Love Your Body Week
This week, Babe Lash is celebrating Love Your Body Week, and in honor of this week-long event, we are bringing you a guest blog post from the co-authors of More Than a Body and co-directors of the nonprofit, Beauty Redefined, Lexie Kite, Ph.D. and her twin sister, Lindsay Kite, Ph.D.
On their Instagram account, this sister duo shares insights about body positivity and ways that people, especially women, can learn to love their bodies in a healthy way
An Interview with Beauty Redefined
Babe Lash: Talk to us about the difference between body love and objectification.
Beauty Redefined: If you only love your body when you love how you look, that is not love. That is objectification. Loving your body can’t be all about loving your looks - that’s so objectifying, conditional, and shallow! If your body only deserves your love when you like your appearance, that’s not really love, is it? Love is not conditional. You deserve to love yourself in a much more holistic, deep and secure way. You deserve the kind of love that doesn’t take you on a roller coaster depending on how you look in those pictures or how your cellulite looks in that lighting or how many compliments you get on that outfit. You are more than a body. You deserve that deep love and respect that comes from a place of compassion, understanding, respect.
We feel like our work stands apart from much of the body positive activism and body image interventions that are popular today because, as we detail in our book, we are less interested in expanding the definition of “beautiful” and more interested in helping girls, women, and all people see themselves as more than beautiful, more than bodies, and more than ornaments whose values derives from how they appear.
Babe Lash: Your work and especially your book push for a new understanding of body confidence that really resonates with people. Can you tell us more about how you are working to redefine positive body image?
Beauty Redefined: We are so thrilled to see that our re-imagining of body confidence and love is spreading far and wide! Here’s what we want people to know: Positive body image isn’t believing your body *looks* good, it is knowing your body *is good,* regardless of how it looks (or works).
Most people think body confidence is rooted in accepting how you look. That's why bopo influencers are so popular -- they show and tell you how confident they are in their looks so you can feel good too. This is a first step toward body confidence for lots of people, but it is not the only step. Your body is not an object to be looked at, so healing your body image -- your perception and feelings about your body -- is not about changing how you view your body; it's about changing how you value your body.
An awesome step toward true body confidence is learning to value your body as an instrument for your use -- not an ornament to be admired. (Shout-out to our popular mantra and subtitle of our book, “Your body is an instrument, not an ornament.”)
Babe Lash: Yes! Your “instrument not ornament” mantra is such a paradigm shift for so many of us. Can you tell us more about how to really internalize this message?
Beauty Redefined: Changing your body won’t automatically fix your body image or confidence. It might kick the same down the road a little, but it won’t ever heal you. What does help is learning to think of your body from an internal perspective, prioritizing how you feel, what you can do, who you are. This paradigm shift will help you in every conceivable way to find your power and confidence and worth beyond how you think other people are perceiving you. Repeat our mantra every time you feel self-conscious and tempted to hide or “fix” your body.
As you move throughout your day, whether running or on a Zoom call or walking down the street, shift your focus to your physical senses instead of your mental picture of yourself. This will help you keep your perspective on how you feel and what you are doing rather than how other people might be seeing you. What are you hearing? How do your feet feel against the ground? Are you taking deep breaths? What are you grateful for in your wonderful body? To truly improve your body image, prioritize the way you experience the world, not the way the world experiences you.
Babe Lash: Your model of body image resilience is a game-changer. Tell us more.
Beauty Redefined: Body image resilience is the process of seeing the unreal ideals you’ve grown up with and the shame you’ve lived with and working to respond to it in ways that serve you – to take the very pain you’ve experienced and use it to become MORE of who you are and who the world needs you to be, not less.
You will feel shame at times about how you look and how your body falls short in terms of looks, abilities, etc. That's the nature of having a body -- especially in a sexist, objectifying culture that places too much value on how women appear. But you don't have to cope with that shame by punishing your body into fitting an arbitrary, unreachable beauty mold you've been prescribed. (That never worked and never lasted, anyway.)
Those moments of shame can be your spark, your reminder to see more in yourself and your body, and act accordingly. These are moments you can rise with body image resilience. You can come back to your body as your home by choosing to prioritize how you live over how you look. What do you want to do, feel, achieve, and experience in and through this body of yours? Try it. Regardless of how you look or think you need to look to qualify. Just try. You'll find out what solid, secure body confidence feels like when your body becomes an instrument instead of an ornament. Prove those anxious fears that live in your head wrong as you show yourself that you are more than a body and you deserve to live and move and lead and show right now, as you are. The world is waiting for you.
Babe Lash: As a beauty company, we have to ask: Can I be body positive and love makeup?
Beauty Redefined: Of course! In our book, we ask people to take an inventory of all the “beauty work” they do – the things they do to get ready for the day or the procedures, products, time, money, and energy they spend on their appearance. You’ll quickly see that women and anyone presenting in a feminine way are required to do and spend and sacrifice so much in the name of beauty. Of course you can wear makeup and do any beauty work, and as you do so, we encourage you to continuously ask yourself if you are doing anything that is driven by shame instead of fun or creative self-expression.
If you feel like you cannot step out of the house without mascara or you’d die if someone saw you on IG live without a full face, you have the opportunity to pull back and prove to yourself that you are still very much YOU without those products or procedures. Opt out of mascara next time you hit the gym or go to the store, show up on social media without all the products you feel like you have to have in order to be loved, valued, or validated. Prove to yourself and the entire world that you don’t need any product or procedure to be a valuable, loveable, worthy person. You are more than a body.
About Beauty Redefined
Beauty Redefined’s mission, “centers on the truth that positive body image isn’t believing your body looks good, it’s knowing your body is good, regardless of how it looks. This refined definition of positive body image provides the foundation for their work to arm people with the tools to build resilience in a culture that objectifies and commodifies bodies. Whereas approaches like body positivity and body neutrality can feel impractical or unachievable in a culture that values women in particular as bodies first and people second, the Kites’ approach centers on helping people build Body Image Resilience – a practical and continuous process of facing body shame triggers and responding in strategic ways that reconnect you to your body and your greater sense of self.”
About Love Your Body Week
“The Love Your Body campaign challenges the message that a woman’s value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.”
“Together we can combat the influence of the media by exposing its ideal and narrow framework as unrealistic and often unhealthy. As women we can educate each other on what healthy really is, discuss and expose the media’s use of retouching and altering of photos, and remind each other that every body is beautiful.”
Learn more about Love Your Body Week and the National Organization for Women here.
Babe Lash invites you all to join in this week-long celebration of empowerment and education. Be sure to follow us on Instagram to get involved and join the conversation!
If you have any feedback or questions please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org