Body Positive Ireland: The movement encouraging self-love

Eadaoin Fitzmaurice

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What do you think about when you hear the words “body image”?

When we hear the word body image, it is usually followed by a negative connotation. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Body positivity is a movement that has spread quickly across Irish soil and is getting the nation talking.

Every body is beautiful - Arne Hendriks
Every body is beautiful – Arne Hendriks

The brilliant mind who started this movement in Ireland is the moderator of the Facebook page Body Positive Ireland , Rebecca Flynn. The Circular caught up with her to learn a little bit more about BoPo and how relevant it should be in our lives today.

Rebecca defined body positivity as the idea that:

all bodies are good bodies, regardless of size, shape, colour or ability, they are deserving of love, care and acceptance!

Rebecca wanted to make Irish people aware of this movement, so she set up the Facebook page and began to share body positive articles and images. Her page soon became a hit and she now has almost 3,000 followers. She shares images that aim to promote loving and accepting your own body.

Rebecca's page encourages us to love our bodies
Rebecca’s page encourages us to love our bodies

Rebecca believes that “from a very young age we are sold the idea that thin is the ideal” and that we are expected to fit in to this “narrow parameter” of what we think is beautiful. However, this body image that we see in magazines and movies is an illusion. Only a very small amount of the population will ever have that size 0 model figure, and even some that do are entirely unhealthy.

BoPo has helped Rebecca love herself
BoPo has helped Rebecca love herself and her body

Rebecca also spoke about how difficult it is for us Irish to accept compliments and how if you express love for yourself you can be viewed in a negative way, as being full of yourself. This has greatly affected how we perceive ourselves and our bodies and has lead many to have serious body image problems.

I think in Ireland, it’s probably difficult to be body positive because we’re taught to be deprecating. You cant be too big for your boots, you cant be too full of yourself, you have to be able to give yourself a good slagging off, including what we look like. It’s such a shame really, because I think there’s nothing nicer than being able to proudly declare that you think you’re gorgeous and you love yourself

So how can we become body positive?

Rebecca believes that social media has a huge impact on our perception of body image. However, unlike advertisements and movies, with social media we can control who we follow and what we watch. She also spoke about how dangerous dieting can be and admitted that she has unfollowed bloggers who constantly speak about losing weight.

She recommends:

Changing what comes up on our Facebook feeds and our Instagram feeds. Unfollowing things that make you feel bad about yourself and your body  and adding in people who make you feel good. Finding your body and seeing your body being represented as well

 

Diets are becoming more and more popular in Ireland right now, but people don’t realise the serious effect they can have on your health if they are taken too far. Many people become obsessed with what they are putting into their bodies and how much they weigh. Eating Disorders Victoria, believes that “Many full blown eating disorders can stem from a seemingly innocent experimentation with dieting whereby a group of friends decide to start a diet together.”

Rebecca shared her opinion:

What I think is healthy is not obsessing over those things and just enjoying food and enjoying life and trying your best to enjoy your body even though it might not necessarily be the societal ideal”

In Ireland, we still have some way to go in regards to body image and body acceptance. However, people like Rebecca are paving the way for this positive change, and this movement is inspiring thousands of people to think differently when they look in the mirror.

Here is a video with the entire interview:

If you would like to learn more about Rebecca and BoPo Ireland the link to the Facebook page is here:

 

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Eadaoin Fitzmaurice