Body positivity, body acceptance and body neutrality - What's the difference?

Body positivity, body acceptance and body neutrality - What's the difference?

At Somaia Collective, we live and breathe ethical and sustainable fashion that's size inclusivity. We believe everybody and every *body* deserves comfortable, gorgeous pieces to *flex* their personal style. No matter your body size or shape, we're here to bring you stunning on-trend fashion that makes you say *Yass*. 

So you can only imagine our excitement over the past few years to see a shift towards a more inclusive and body-positive landscape here in Australia. But while it's a commendable shift away from the narrow beauty standards upheld in the 00s, it's not necessarily an instant fix to improving our body image concerns. Research suggests that 80% of Australian women are dissatisfied with their bodies.  

So is this body-positive lens a good thing? Or is it too much pressure on us to love our bodies all the time?  

Body acceptance and neutrality are becoming gentle alternatives to improving body image rather than the all-or-nothing body positivity messaging. But what's the difference between body positivity, body acceptance, and body neutrality? Get curious with us as we explore all three. 

What is Body positivity? 

Body positivity encourages people to revolt against the norm! To accept and love their bodies regardless of their shape, size, or appearance. *Yass* to that. It's a social movement that's evolved to challenge society's limiting views towards an "acceptable" body - particularly a woman's body. While it's certainly a positive shift compared to former beauty ideals, the concept of loving all of your body all the time is unrealistic. The idea of constantly resisting society's beauty expectations and always feeling good about our bodies can be challenging to maintain 24/7.  

What is Body acceptance? 

Body acceptance offers a more balanced alternative compared to body positivity. Instead of constantly promoting body love, it focuses on leaning into body insecurities. It's about learning to appreciate, respect and care for our bodies, encouraging us to be kind to ourselves, and acknowledging that every day is different. Some days you may not love your body, but that's ok - you can still accept it. The goal of body acceptance is learning to get our body without the desire to alter it. 

What is Body neutrality?

Body neutrality, similar to body acceptance, takes a step further by removing both positive and negative thoughts about our bodies. It's simply about acknowledging what our bodies do rather than how they look. It emphasises body achievements, like the ability to walk or function ins the world, over appearance without judgement. It offers a space to observe our bodies with curiosity, which can help us feel more peaceful and calm. 

What's the body positivity movement?

Initially created to uplift and advocate for people outside society's beauty standards, due to heavy commercialisation, the term Body positivity has shifted too far from its origins, no longer supporting the individuals it originally intended to. Even Lizzo, a well-known advocate for people living in larger bodies, has expressed her concerns regarding the intentions of the body positivity movement. 

We still live in a world plagued by diet culture, weight stigma, and fat shaming. Even with the best intentions, the concept of loving all of your body all the time is almost impossible. Using body acceptance and neutrality offers a sense of calm as they try to remove judgement by observing the body with curiosity instead of judgement.  

Tips to achieving your body acceptance *goals*? 

If you've constantly verbalised the rhetoric "I hate my body," it can take time and practice to accept your body entirely. Here are three strategies to help you take a step towards body acceptance. 

Practice self-care

We don't mean facials, massages, and trips away. Regarding self-care, we're talking about getting back to basics, getting enough sleep, washing your hair regularly, preparing nutritious meals or moving your body with pleasurable activity. 

Donate old clothes and buy new ones 

While donating old clothes that no longer fit might be hard, the feeling of liberation and freedom makes it worthwhile. Every time you open your closet, you won't be reminded of failed dieting attempts or the idea that your body needs to change. When you need a wardrobe refresh, we have you covered. From chic and comfortable everyday outfits to gorgeous statement pieces, you'll feel a weight lifted from your shoulders as you embrace your new-found style. 

Listen & Learn - Empowering podcasts 

Let's be honest. Changing the way we think about our bodies can be challenging. Having a supportive community around you can hear stories of others with similar struggles can be incredibly empowering and uplifting. There are some incredible podcasts with a wealth of information on body image where you can unlearn and relearn how to find more body acceptance and neutrality. 

Our top podcast recommendations 

Maintenance phase 

Wellness and weight loss, debunked and decoded 

She's all fat 

"The podcast for fat activism, radical self-love and chilled vibes" 

The Body Grievers 

"A podcast aimed to help you explore your body image" 






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