If you’ve been on the internet for a hot minute, you’ve probably heard of body positivity. The movement has some high-profile promoters — and a valuable outlook on the worth and beauty of all bodies.
What does body positivity have to do with your business? Everything. By incorporating its principles into your business, you can both make the world a better place and find an entirely new set of customers who’ve been just waiting for you to open up to them.
When you run a small business, your budget is often even smaller, making “make my business more positive for different types of bodies” and “figure out what more people need from me” seem like impossible projects.
The good news is that there are lots of things you can do at low cost to make your work and your business accessible to more people.
Over the next few weeks, we'll be exploring ways to make your existing business more body positive (or to incorporate these principles into a business that you're dreaming of or planning).
Now, on to this week's letter:
“Body positive” seems easy enough to understand: let’s be positive about and inclusive of all kinds of bodies! And just embracing and living this one concept will make your business better and available to a wider range of bodies.
But if you really want to honor all bodies and dive deeper into how bodies that aren’t thin, white, straight, cis and able-bodied experience the world, it can get confusing fast. Marginalization? Intersectionality? Do what?
At the bottom of this letter, I’ve included a glossary of terms you might encounter while listening to other people speak about their experience in their bodies. I’ve used some of them in this series as well.
You don’t need to become an expert on marginalized bodies, but a basic understanding of each term will help you move forward and ask intelligent questions, and understand how your own body and others experience the world — and how that affects your business.
Though there are many intersections of privilege and marginalization, in this series I’ll be focusing on body size.
I’ve reclaimed the word “fat” and use it as a neutral descriptor in this series.
You don’t need to be comfortable using the word for yourself or others, but don’t be offended or shocked when the many other people who’ve reclaimed this word use it to describe themselves.
Quick Fix: Be familiar with the terms in the Terms to Know section at the bottom of this letter so that you can discuss them when they come up regarding your business.
P.S. Share this week's letter or save to read later here. It's only possible to offer the Body Liberation Guide and all its labor for free because people like you support it. If you find value here, please contribute for as little as $1 per month. Every dollar helps.
“By reading Fat! So? by Marilyn Wann, I became familiar with fat activism which challenged me in so many ways. First, it helped me become comfortable with the word “fat”. After reading the book, I would make mantras and practice saying, “I am fat,” “I am a fat brown mujer,” and “I matter.”
Before, I would not use these words to identify myself because it was hard to not associate it with being bullied or shamed. Reflecting on this made me realize how I was abusing my fat body by following unhealthy diets.”