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Friends and body image

I’ve spoken before about my influences, both positive and negative in regards to personal body image. I think I’ve mainly focused on my family for the positive and negative sides, but I haven’t talked much about friends and their influences on me.

I was discussing this with someone on Twitter and it made me realise just how much of a positive influence my friends have been for me in regards to body confidence, feminism and body image. I have chosen to surround myself with these people. I suppose you could say I live in a body acceptance bubble. And I’m ok with that. The world is judgemental and harsh enough on the subject of women and their bodies and I don’t want to add to that. The friends that I have now and the people I see socially aren’t just “ok” with their bodies; they love and accept their bodies. Not all the time, 100%, but they don’t actively hate. They bravely reject the norms pushed on us and give a firm middle finger to the culture that rewards a person for hating their body and other people’s bodies.

Without these people in my life, I don’t know where I’d be. I definitely wouldn’t be as outspoken as I have been. Or as accepting. They’ve taught me to see things from different viewpoints, from the other side. They’ve taught me to question. They’ve taught me not to blindly follow the status quo. It took a little while, but they’ve influenced me positively, into giving up the harmful practice of judging people for their looks, or their choices. I realised that I was being programmed by society and certain social groups into this harmful mindset, and it wasn’t fair, or very feminist of me. I realised how hurtful engaging in this is and tried to put myself in other people’s shoes. This isn’t to say I don’t slip up and am perfect – I still slip up from time to time. Judgement is a hard habit to break free of. But, ultimately, I think it’s worthwhile. I think it’s worthwhile to examine our immediate reactions to things and think critically why we are reacting in a certain way.

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