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The Importance of Body Positivity

College can be a lot to handle.

Many students at Colorado State University struggle with mental stressors on a regular basis. A stress which is not typically discussed is body image issues, a mental strain many people encounter every day. This is a mental disorder that has often times gone dismissed as a “normal” phase or feeling in one’s life, especially in their teens and twenties. However, it is the farthest thing from healthy and can lead to extreme depression and anxiety.

With the rise of social media, there has been an unrealistic standard placed on both men and women around what their bodies should look like.

“Social media has put an image on people,” Donavon Reed said, a freshman computer science major at CSU. “Media portrays people in a way that if you don’t fit their image, you don’t fit in at all.”

Despite the negative effects social media has imposed on millions of men and women around the world, there have been efforts to bring awareness to this issue. Organizations are ready to team-up to encourage men and women of all sizes to love their bodies.

One of the movements dedicated to self-care is the “body positive” community which is dedicated to promoting the love and acceptance of your own and others bodies. The goal is to view bodies as beautiful in every way. Join and support their efforts at thebodypositive.org.

In February 2016, the Truth in Advertising Act was passed through the federal government, banning the alteration of any physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the people depicted in images. This was a monumental step in the movement for body positivity, and brands all over the world are starting to take this responsibility into account during campaigns for their newest products.

Take for example American Eagle. #AerieReal has sparked a worldwide appreciation for the bodies of every woman, of every shape, every size, every color. The movement is supported by popular figures in the world such as model Iskra Lawrence and gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman. The ideologies behind the trend are as simple as loving you for you. There is no retouching done on models’ photos used to show off Aerie’s latest lingerie sets. They are normalizing what the average body has: stretch marks, cellulite, etc.

There is nothing more essential than loving the body that you were given. Whether you are dealing with body image issues or have overcome the mental obstacles it can present, get involved. There are tons of resources and groups available, specifically tailored to empower and help you take control of the way you view your body. Life is too short to waste worrying about waist size, too precious to worry about others impressions, and far too important to question its importance.