Does the Hill need a body positivity movement?


The Mayfield Senior Body Positivity Club uses a cartoon to promote body positivity.

6:30 a.m.: the piercing sound of your alarm jolts you from a deep sleep. Exhausted, you snooze your phone and scroll through your Instagram feed, liking a picture of Kourtney Kardashian promoting “slimming teas” and waist trainers. You skip breakfast, ignoring the ominous voice of your mom saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Later, school day finished, you head home and are excited to workout and sleep early. These are lifestyle choices your doctor urges you to partake in, choices that are “vital to your health” yet difficult to do with the mountains of homework that must be completed at the same time.

Stressed and overworked teens are bombarded with information about how to become their healthiest selves. The mix of information and priorities that teens must balance can add pressure and heighten thoughts of insecurity.

Social media compounds the problem. With the ever-present juxtaposition of food and fitness accounts, social media presents Tologs with a confusing problem that some schools are taking steps to address.

While FSHA girls have listened to talks from fellow students on body positivity during assemblies and on retreats, there is no club on campus solely dedicated to body positivity. At Mayfield Senior School, however, juniors Lucy Howell and Hayley Eaves recognized the need for a safe space to talk about health, with a special focus on body image.

“I know that I am not the only person that has been negatively affected by diet culture and beauty standards,” Howell said. “I wanted to create a club that spread more positive messages of self love and inclusivity.”

The club is extremely popular at Mayfield. Out of a student body of 330, 200 students are members.

“[Our membership] shows [us] that many teenage girls are affected by the lack of inclusivity, which is needed to bring a community together and promote self love,” Eaves said.

In addition to starting the club, Howell and Eaves created an Instagram account with messages of body positivity, so the supportive messages of self love could continue to impact girls after they left school.

The Instagram account, @mss.body. positive, has around 150 followers. Its feed features posts on “toxic positivity” and promotes assemblies on body positivity. The account’s content is a sharp contrast to the list of celebrities whose feeds promote “skinny teas” and fail to promote inclusivity.

“Anyone who has an Instagram knows that there are so many accounts that push diets and exercise routines on people by making others feel bad about the way they look,” Howell said. “There is definitely some grey area in our society about what is deemed healthy and what is not.”

Ana Cristina Bailey, a sophomore at FSHA, thinks a body positive group similar to Mayfield’s would be a very beneficial resource for FSHA students to have.

“A body positive group would be really cool,” said Bailey. “I think a lot of people would join.”

Many Tologs on campus have recently devoted themselves to healthy living through cleaner eating and exercise and could benefit from a self love support group as they continue to strive to be healthy. Hopefully, the body positive movement will alleviate the pressure that comes with being healthy and clarify that health is a personal and unique experience.