Fifty-nine percent of SA women said that the love-your-body movement makes them feel grateful for seeing all kinds of shapes being accepted. Still, they aren’t necessarily embracing the label: far more respondents, 64 percent, said the best way to describe their feelings about their bodies is “accepting or neutral” compared to 15 percent who say they feel positive and love the way they look and 21 percent who dislike their looks. But what does it mean to be body neutral? A few months ago 34-year-old Grace September from Joburg stumbled on the term. “I was on my phone and read about body neutrality. It was the best description of how I felt about my body. I don’t hate it. But I don’t go around thinking I have the hottest behind ever,” says Grace. Some feel that the constant pressure to love themselves is too overwhelming. Being body-neutral is becoming a popular alternative to the bodypositive movement. It supports finding self-acceptance. It’s the understanding that your body exists in its present state and your reaction to that is more factual than it is emotional. “I think it’s a well-adjusted way of thinking about your body. I found that I can’t be positive about my body every day and I don’t hate it every day either,” says Grace. “The body-positivity movement is crowded with slogans, but bodyneutrality moves away from loving what your body looks like,” says Anandi Jooste, social worker and counsellor at Akeso Montrose Manor clinic. “In my experience of facilitating Body Image groups, it’s evident that it’s easier for clients to focus on the functionality of their bodies. When they write a gratitude letter to their bodies, they are often left with shock and appreciation for their bodies and what their bodies are still able to do, despite the abuse they have put it through. Appreciating your body can still be possible even if it feels difficult to love it,” she explains.