What is 'Body Positivity' All About? | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

What is ‘Body Positivity’ All About?

Following 'Body Positivity Week', Life&Style writer Jessica Gray raises awareness about the issues surrounding this campaign

In the UK alone it was reported that in 2015, 725,000 people were affected by an eating disorder. Although they can affect people of any age, most conditions develop during late teens. At a time of moving to university and major lifestyle upheavals, it is vital to remember the importance of being comfortable in your own skin in a safe and healthy way.

That is where Body Positivity Week comes in. From the 23rd to 29th October, the campaign hopes to help prevent the rise in negative body images at a time when physical appearance can feel like the most important thing. Body Positivity Week also hopes to reduce the taboo of discussing eating disorders and, by doing so, help those with a problem by suggesting where help is available.

During the last few years, the role of the internet in the life of young people has risen dramatically. With apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter constantly sharing airbrushed images of celebrities, it is not a surprise that body image is becoming such an important feature of everyday life. Although it may seem harmless scrolling through your favourite celebrity profiles, this can often lead to personal negative body images.

Now, it has to be said you aren’t to blame for this - who wouldn’t feel bad looking at airbrushed abs and contoured cheekbones every day? But one thing has to be remembered and that is that these people are usually not real. Anyone can look 'perfect' after five hours in hair and makeup. The important thing is to be happy with who you are underneath all of that.

This is the message Body Positivity Week hopes to spread not just throughout the awareness week, but all year round: that not all of us look like we have just walked off the cover of Glamour magazine, but that’s okay. The campaign hopes to raise awareness that all bodies, no matter their shape or size, are perfectly fine as long as you feel happy in them yourself. The important thing is to be healthy, and by reducing the taboo in discussing eating disorders, Body Positivity Week hopes to help those who feel like they are struggling to get some advice on how to improve their own situation.

The rise in eating disorders within the last few years is the most life threatening result of growing numbers of negative body images amongst young people. This is not just a phenomenon affecting women either; 1 in 10 sufferers of eating disorders are male. One goal of Body Positivity Week is to increase the awareness of eating disorders in highly competitive sports. Often young people under immense pressure from their sports can find themselves risking their health in order to achieve their desired weight or physique. By signposting where you can go for help, Body Positivity Week hopes to reduce the stigma around discussing eating disorders to make sure young people no longer struggle through their problems alone.

A key aspect to Body Positivity Week is to signpost where people can go for help. B-eat is a UK charity that aims to change how people think and talk about eating disorders as well as helping those who feel like they are struggling themselves. Through campaigns and support, b-eat is successfully challenging the stereotypes people attach to eating disorders and providing vital information for the treatment and recovery of sufferers.

So if ever you feel you may need help, or know of somebody that has come to you with a problem, b-eat is the charity to go to for any support or advice you may need!

Also, b-eat now has its own society here at the University of Birmingham in an attempt to raise further awareness amongst students and young people. To find out more about b-eat, simply visit www.b-eat.co.uk.


29th October 2016 at 7:41 am

Images from

Andrea Parrish-Geyer