brief note re: the centrality of beauty and image to “body positivity” discourses
1. people who care a lot about their own beauty usually have strong and complicated reasons for feeling that way. feeling beautiful is not just about feeling beautiful, it’s about feeling like a beautiful person, like the protagonist in a movie, like maybe you could be the hero in your own life, like you deserve to be happy, like you can be sad without being ridiculous, like you deserve to have feelings and to have them taken into consideration. it may also be tied to your ability to access the resources you need to survive, from affection to housing to clemency to clients; that is to say, beauty is structural, it is about resources, it is not only about individual feelings. either way, if someone isn’t able to detach their sense of a right to these things from a sense of their own beauty, then their happiness will be fragile.
2. someone can think their own body is beautiful and still have a relationship with that body characterised by disgust and antagonism. for a whole lot of reasons, but what they boil down to is that you don’t just have to look at it. you probably have to look at it less than anyone else. you have to live in it.