She's Got the Look
What does body positivity look like? Given that body positivity is a mindset, rather than something one physically is or does, you might think it’d be tough to spot. But when people resolve to challenge societal norms and feel confident in their own skin, it shows. People who recognize unrealistic beauty standards and counter them with positivity and self-love, seem to move through the world with a certain swagger and confidence. Observing how they function in society can be a great way to lay the groundwork for improving our own self-image.
Beauty in All Shapes and Sizes
Take a look at Candice Huffine, plus-sized model extraordinaire. We say “plus-sized model,” but that may not be true for long. Not because she’s trying to cut down a few sizes, but because she’s trying to make it known that the old days of modeling, when “thin was in”, are now a thing of the past. There’s no need for a “plus-size” tag anymore, she argues. Models are models, regardless of their shape or size. There is no longer an ideal body type; you can be beautiful in whatever skin you’re in. Hers is a powerful message not only because it empowers us to appreciate the inherent beauty of our bodies, but because it encourages us to remove our body-image from the center of our self-worth.
Unlike many plus-sized models, who start out on the straight roster and switch to plus-sized modeling later in their careers once the strain of staying thin becomes unsustainable, Huffine was a plus-sized model from the get-go. Her journey began when she noticed other plus-sized models. “The other [plus-sized] models were working and they were beautiful, and I said I would totally do that,” she told the Washington Post. Her answer suggests that appreciating the physical appearances of others, regardless of their shape, size, or color, is a necessary component in improving our own self-image. If we can think positively and non-judgmentally towards others in this way, then perhaps we can extend ourselves the same kindness.
Run Your Race
Candice is also trying to prove that fitness is for everybody, not just for people who have the athletic body types typically portrayed in fitness advertising. In 2015 she accepted her husband’s challenge to run a half-marathon. At first, she felt plagued by self-doubt that she couldn’t complete it because her body didn’t fit the mold portrayed by the fitness industry. But she trained relentlessly and completed it that same year, and in 2017 she challenged herself to run a full marathon, which she also completed. Though the modeling industry continues to label her a “plus-sized” model, she upholds that the boost to her mood and confidence that running provides her is a vital component of her positive self-image. Now that’s a role model.
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