What Is Body Positivity? The Path from Shame to Pride Article

Leboeuf, C. (2021). What Is Body Positivity? The Path from Shame to Pride . 47(2), 113-127. 10.5840/PHILTOPICS201947218

cited authors

  • Leboeuf, C



  • "Body positivity" refers to the movement to accept our bodies, regardless of size, shape, skin tone, gender, and physical abilities. The movement is often implicitly understood as the effort to celebrate diversity in bodily aesthetics and to expand our narrow beauty standards beyond their present-day confines. Like other feminists, I question whether the push to broaden beauty norms should occupy as central a role as it does now in the movement's mainstream incarnations, and I believe that, beyond challenging confining beauty standards, body positivity should teach us that all bodies are worthy-for example, of care and respect. My aim in this paper is to offer a general account of body positivity. I argue that body positivity should be understood as the transition from limiting body shame to proper body pride. I adopt a pluralistic approach to body positivity, incorporating the idea that we should not only expand aesthetic standards, but also celebrate such aspects of embodiment as our capacity for bodily pleasure or our bodily abilities. What is common to these different ways of developing empowering relations to our bodies is the move to resist all forms of body shame that limit our flourishing and to cultivate proper pride in one's body. I conclude by considering several avenues toward embodying such pride and, thus, embracing body positivity: expanding beauty ideals; promoting equal access to physical activities and celebrating the accomplishments of all athletes, regardless of body size or level of ability; and consciousness-raising.

publication date

  • September 1, 2021

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 113

end page

  • 127


  • 47


  • 2