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Does Body Empowerment Promote Body Shame?

A quick internet search leads to endless articles about why you should come to terms with the way your body is. People who preach this message claim it’s the only real way to a positive life. And, there’s no denying that there’s decent logic behind this concept. After all, it makes sense to argue that coming to terms with your body as is brings a better outlook in general. The opposite would be to hate what you see in the mirror whether you could change it or not.

So, on the one hand, the body empowerment argument is admirable. But, it can also be a little problematic. For example, body empowerment doesn’t take each woman’s needs into account. Furthermore, you don’t have to actually hate your body to see its flaws and want to improve them. Frankly, the insinuation that you do is a little off putting. Yes, those women who despise their bodies could definitely improve their self-love factor. For the rest of us, though, this suggestion of ‘body empowerment’ could do more damage than good. Here’s why.

Don’t Settle For Something You Aren’t Happy With

In many ways, this is the main reason body empowerment could be harmful. You should never have to settle for something that makes you unhappy. This tends to lead to a pattern of not pursuing dreams and real desires. For example, what if you’ve always hated your nose since a bike accident left it crooked in the 5th grade. You were always told to love yourself the way you are, but you struggle, feeling less than pretty. You want to get nose surgery but have reservations because you don’t want to be judged by on lookers who don’t understand.  

The above example reminds us that settling isn’t always a good idea, especially if it’s to appease others. After all, you wouldn’t stay in a horrible relationship just because your mom said you have to “stick it out”, would you? Or what about a low paying job that you hate? No, you would Get a new one. The truth is, if you aren’t happy with your appearance, you have the right to change it without anyone judging you. 

Change Can Be Empowering

Making the changes you want in your life can be empowering. Staying stuck in a rut is not. And, when your appearance is an issue for you, a message that shuns action can hurt and create more resentment. You might also feel a sense of failure for not taking the steps to true happiness. 

The point here is to do what makes you feel beautiful and happy. No one else lives in your shoes, so don’t make decisions based on someone else’s opinion. Test the waters by doing something simple, like getting a haircut. Notice how much stronger you feel afterward. Then, imagine how changing your body would feel.

Make Decisions for You

Women often do a lot to support each other, but nobody else knows exactly what is in your mind and heart. Yes, your friends are important, but finding the courage to make your own choices is crucial. I believe true empowerment is rising above all the chatter and choosing what’s best for you. You might ruffle some feathers, but so what! It’s your life, your body, and you must own it!

Making the decision to change your body drastically is a hard one, especially if you have loved ones against it. Cosmetic surgery and expensive procedures are among the most frowned upon things that you might be considering. Or, maybe you’d prefer something non-surgical, like these options at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology for non-surgical liposuction. How do you handle the lashing from people you thought loved you?

First, it’s important to understand that your choices are your own and you owe no one any explanation. But, if you must share your reasons, be diplomatic without showing a lot of emotion. Share your needs and what you hope to gain from your experience. Leave it there, and stand your ground.

As soon as you stop fighting your body and everyone else, you should be free to enjoy your life in a positive way. You’ll be able to look in the mirror and know that you are boss over everything you see.



About Madeline

Madeline is a mid-west mom of three who spends most of her time refilling ice trays and changing toilet paper...just kidding. She is a high school guidance counselor, all around funny gal, and a writer. Her first book, Be Happy Already!", is in the works.

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