Too often body positivity tends to focus on appearance — all bodies are good bodies, no matter how they look. But what about all the stuff our body can do? The concept behind the social media movement My Body Does is not that appearance is totally unimportant, but that it sometimes overshadows the other aspects of our bodies worth celebrating. After all, outside of looking good, "our bodies are merely a shell which conceal our heavenly souls". (Thanks Freaks and Geeks.) Society may place a whole load of importance on how our bodies look but, at the end of the day, looking good is the least of what our bodies do for us.
Through touching, seeing, smelling, tasting and hearing, our bodies let us perceive the world around us. Hell, even without being able to do some of those things, our bodies are still able to provide a view and an enjoyment of our world. Without a body I couldn't jump or sing or dance or laugh or love. And I'm willing to bet that most of us don't thank our bodies for this as often as we should.
#MyBodyDoes is a "focus on what my body does, not what it looks like," as the movement's Instagram page states. It's a serving of body positivity that doesn't solely rely on aesthetics. Through their social media campaigns and appearances at events, the mission is to spread body positivity as far and wide as possible. To teach people to love their bodies for what they do, not just how they look.
The affirmation stickers — available as for purchase online for $5, or as a free PDF to create your own — is hopefully only the first in many projects by the campaign to preach self love and body acceptance. The stickers are meant to be an opposition to the body shaming advertising campaigns and strict beauty standards that are shoved in our faces on a daily basis. No matter where you stick 'em (a particularly disturbing subway ad, your notebook, your mirror), Jessica Anderson and Ashley Simon (the New York based pair behind the project) hope the four affirmations will make you feel a bit happier every day.
My favorite phrase used for the sticker pack is "I am cultivating a loving relationship with my body." Self love and body positivity is a journey that many of us are still struggling with, not an instantly completed discovery. By admitting that this is a journey, rather than an already fulfilled destination, we allow ourselves room to mess up and room to improve.
Anderson and Simon, state in their blog that activism and yoga are what helped push them towards self acceptance. As Anderson wrote, "The more I connected with my body through yoga, the less I thought of it as an object, and the more I thought of it as a partner."
The openness with which the pair have embraced body positivity in all aspects is what makes this campaign so refreshing and unique. There's no one way to have a body — and there's no one way to love it either.
Images: Courtesy of My Body Does