Op-Ed: Body Positivity During Quarantine

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Illustration by Ava Lockhart ’21.

Zoe Kaplan

Living through a pandemic is certainly very scary, and it is impossible to know when this strange time will end. Many people are engaging in fewer social interactions and spending much more time with themselves.

This creates more time that can be spent looking at screens and staring into the mirror out of boredom. Personally, when I have too much time on my hands I often look at my phone and scroll through Instagram.

When I scroll through my explore page, I often see models posing for pictures or ads promoting ways to lose fat through exercise of diet teas.

I know that tips like this can be helpful for some people who are struggling to lose weight, but they can be extremely harmful and unwelcome for people who have body confidence issues.

Diet tea won’t magically make fat disappear overnight, and not all bodies look the same regardless of how much someone exercises or eats.

No one is confident all the time with how they look, but living through COVID-19 has made it more challenging to remain self-assured.

Personally, I have grown increasingly frustrated with the way I look after spending so much time by myself for the last few months. It is too easy to look in the mirror and pick out all my flaws after being surrounded with my thoughts constantly.

Even while staring into my phone while I watch Netflix, I often find myself looking at my reflection. I frequently notice how tired I look, and sometimes I feel like my cheeks are too chubby.

Once I notice the things I consider to be flaws, it is almost impossible for me to disregard them, making their influence last longer than I want it to.

While it seems like so many people in the world of social media try to bring people down to sell more product, there are also companies and influencers who express the importance of body positivity in and out of the media.

For example, an Instagram account called @DanaeMercer focuses on posting content that emphasizes how crucial it is to be confident with who you are. Her posts focus on her natural beauty and often feature sayings that have to do with body positivity.

During a time where everything is uncertain and there is a lot of negativity, I feel that it is crucial for people to speak out and spread positivity.

People who are able to be open about their experiences and who share their art or wisdom make every day a little better. I find when I look at accounts such as @DanaeMercer’s, I feel inspired—not just by looking at how they look.

One day I hope I can gain enough confidence to to inspire other people myself, whether it’s through body confidence or something different.

An important reminder to everyone: no matter how cheesy it sounds, you are beautiful. People should love you for you, not for the way you look.