Something rather short, by my scale, about body positivity I felt the need to share on Twitter starting with this tweet.
This is an edited and extended version.
I hate my body a lot. Still, I don’t show anything of it and run around shirtless when friends and/or their friends see it (if I know them enough to know they won’t run away screaming), or close family. I just don’t go full naked because I’m aware most people get uncomfortable by nakedness, especially if they’re not partners or _really_ close to the person, especially with bodies like mine. I know my body is not considered good-looking and/or attractive by most standards of society. I could change that, to feel better about myself and get more positive feedback (or, at least, less negative) from people, but that’s another story, and not happening right now.
Still, I force myself to not let that image of myself have any influence on my actions. I think it’s important to push society towards (more) body positivity — in expectations, and actual actions. Not just for me, but for others as well. I see a lot of fat-shaming all over the place and while it’s true that media is not helping for the most part, they did not start that fire and are also not the only ones keeping it burning. It helped me to actually care less to pretend to care less, too. About my body, and naked ones of others (strangers and friends) I see.
It happens a lot in the BDSM scene to see friends and strangers naked casually, in photos and on events. You lower/lose thresholds fast, especially those put up by upbringing and society. Of course not everyone goes on BDSM events or makes other experiences that pushes them away from the common body image and its importance, so my clothing decisions depend heavily on (likely, adjusted by a risk calculation) comfort of people who are going to see me. It’s full, normal clothing for public, shirt and sweatpants for strangers at the door (pizza, packages, neighbours), shirtless sweatpants for friends or close family at home (for shorter amounts of time) and naked for partners and events in appropriate contexts.
I change in front of people. I make it obvious I’m going to do it so they can decide if they want to turn around if they don’t want to see it. Everyone should handle this this considering how you feel comfortable. That includes society’s views on nakedness and thresholds you know were just taught — they are reality for your brain, so they have to get some weight in your decision-making.
If you can handle it: Show more body positivity than you actually have. It helps yourself, and society’s common views on the topic. You’d do those who have problems with it a great service, but you don’t owe them, or society in general, anything you didn’t consent into. If you feel society’s take on things is improvable, see the possibility to do something about it, and are able to take the downsides of trying to change other people’s minds, doing so increases your integrity a whole bunch — at least by my definition of it, where a lot of your level of integrity is defined by the level of altruism in your actions.
Keep comfort of others in mind though, too. You don’t reach anything by running across a football field naked. Subtle, slow change is the most reliable; if it happens too fast, people dismiss it. You and everyone who does similar things are “crazy” and get branded as radical feminists, triggered snowflakes, or social justice warriors. That doesn’t help this cause, and more likely achieves the opposite of the intended goal.