Tertia – What does ‘body positivity’ mean to you?
On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being completely positive, how would you rate yourself?
Bonita (41) Coordinator
To me personally, it means accepting the body you have and the changes that come with it. Over the years I was always so body conscious, thinking I had to be slender and look fit. But over the years, with age, and through burlesque, I have learnt to love the way I look. I don’t think I’m a 10 purely because I know there are lifestyle changes I can do to better myself.
Colette – Bodybuilder and photographer
5 (off season), 9 (when competing)
Off-season I feel less confident. But when I compete I feel very confident. I find that women in the fitness industry are never happy with their physique., always wanting to improve, it’s actually sad. I’m also guilty.
We have so much to be grateful for. Is body confidence a personal outlook? Yes.
I find that lots of woman in the fitness industry all have stories to tell when it comes to why they choose to do this sport. Personally, I chose to do this sport because I have been fighting an eating disorder for more than 20 years.
Fighting bullimiarexia for so many years, this sport saved my life. I knew if I wanted to compete I have to eat healthily which means six meals a day. My last show was in March last year, I was placed 1st. Four months ago I placed 4th in South Africa.
It makes me sad that random strangers make fun of me because of my muscles. They don’t know why I chose this journey, It used to upset me, I cried a lot, now I don’t give a shit. My husband committed suicide. I had an eating disorder that almost cost me my life. I ended up in abusive relationships because my self-esteem was so low. I can go on and on. After my husband committed suicide, I chose to do drugs which I did for a long time to take away the pain.
I thought I deserved a shit life.
Since I started my journey in fitness my outlook in life has changed dramatically.
Angela (52) – Part-time photographer and housewife
Taking into account my age. Body positivity is feeling good about yourself even if you don’t have the perfect magazine standard body. The ridiculous thing that is that I hated my body when I was younger even when it was damn near perfect.
It was so silly wasting time dieting every 5 minutes to achieve the impossible. I should have loved myself more back then. My figure changed when I fell pregnant at 30. My metabolism slowed down after that. I used to weigh 52kg before I fell pregnant. I am okay with my body now, but I would like to lose weight. Yet I am no longer prepared to go to huge lengths to do it.
Marcelle (48) – Programmer
The fatter I get the lower the score and the more self-conscious I get. Body positivity means being satisfied with my body’s shape and having a positive mental image of myself.
Mmabatho – Body painter, dancer and model
Honestly, I’d say 10+ it really means a lot to me.
Tanya – Photographer
I’ve been on quite a journey and it took me a long time to learn to love myself. I’m comfortable with myself.
Lynn (41) – Project Manager
I am feeling good about what I see in the mirror. Whether I’m wearing my makeup or not. I’m getting better with age.
7-9 (depending on my cycle)
Body positivity means being able to look in a mirror or at a photo of yourself, being gentle and appreciating what you see.
Looking at your body and being grateful for all it does, instead of focusing on its perceived flaws and deviations from Twiggy (my ideal beauty).
It’s looking at a woman and appreciating their unique beauty before criticising. It’s looking at food as fuel and honouring that it’s there to power your body and not numb your emotions. It’s running around on a beach wearing whatever makes you feel good and not giving a continental about what other people think. It’s being positive in your own skin.
Nadia – Housewife
I actually don’t recall having a positive attitude about my body but did know that in the good old days, that it was in good shape.
As I got older and had children, my body positivity took a turn for the worst. To none at all. My brain is still stuck in my 20ies mindset. Over the last year or two, I have been trying very hard to love the way I look at the moment.
I envy women who just don’t give two continental hoots about what others think and wear what makes them feel comfortable. That made me think that body positivity is being able to look at yourself as the years go on, with love and gratitude. To realise that there is nothing one can do about gravity, but make peace, be grateful and make the most of what was given to you. I also firmly believe that it all starts with the mind. When the mind is at peace, so will you be.
Lulu (44) – Practice Manager at a Medical Wellness Spa
It means how I feel about myself, how I see myself. You know I spent most of my youth not liking myself. I grew up in a family that was very critical about physical appearance. I got told I was fat and ugly. I was not fat, just taller than the other children and I was a bit bigger than the other skin and boned ones in my family but definitely not fat. Both my sisters had eating disorders because of it. I just ate and did not care. But I played a lot of sports so I was always very muscular. I still did not like myself because I believe all the horrible things I got told over and over. It was only in my late twenties when I realised the impact it was having on my life.
I decided that I needed to work on liking myself. I started psychologically working on it. I also found out I was type 2 diabetic which explained why I was struggling with my weight. I lost about 25kg’s and was fitting into a size 30 jeans. Nothing changed about how I felt about myself if anything I liked myself less because I did not like how I looked being skin and bones. So I kept working on learning to like myself for everything that was great about me and slowly how I felt about myself improved.
I am not skinny today. I eat healthily and do my best to take care of myself, I like myself more. I also never want to be skinny. I like my voluptuous body. I like having boobs even if it means having a tummy, I would rather opt for having big boobs and a tummy than no tummy and no boobs. Today I wear a bikini because I want to. When I was a teenager I would wear a full costume and not even walk on the beach because I thought I was fat and ugly.
Today I say, I like how I look in a bikini. It does not matter if other people do not like how it looks. I feel sexy. And I am going to enjoy my life. So I walk on the beach and at the public pool comfortably. We are fully functional human beings. We must appreciate this and make the most of our lives. We only have one life. I wish that more woman cared less what people thought and I wish that more woman were kinder to each other instead of highlighting what they think are faults. The other thing that I always remind women of is that men do not see us the way we think. Men love the female body. It is often woman that make other woman aware of themselves, one should remember that to a man the female form will always be beautiful. After a lifetime of heartache, I speak passionately about this topic. I know a lot of other women feel the same and go through the same. Girl Power. We need to spread it.
Billy-Jean (35) – Photographer