In Neu­tral

Women's Health (South Africa) - - SEX + LOVE -

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.

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