Recent statistics from The Mental Health Foundation have shown that one in five UK adults have felt shame because of their body in the last year, which led to ‘body image’ being announced as the theme for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week.
This A/W, we’re campaigning for more of us to celebrate our bodies, aiming to inspire feelings of wellness and confidence amongst women and men.
We’ve enlisted the help of some of our favourite Manchester fashion bloggers to get their thoughts on why bod confidence is so important, and hear about their journey to body positivity.
Performer and body positivity advocate Sophie Lee, thinks that social media plays a big part in the perception of a perfect body. “I feel we have become blinded to appreciating one another as society has created a non realistic idea of what “beauty” is or what “body shape” we should be. It’s affecting a lot of the younger generation in particular, especially due to social media. We must encourage and improve self acceptance.”
Billy mirrors these thoughts, “Being positive about your body is being confident about who you are. It's especially important right now because of the comparative culture we are living in. Everywhere you look there are perfect pictures of people, but really no one is perfect.”
Gaining body positivity can be a different journey for everyone. For Damilola, struggling with body image may come later in life. Like many women, it was after pregnancy that she struggled to regain confidence.
“Personally for me, it's something I have definitely had to learn and I’m still learning. As a mum of two, my body changed after having my kids - stretch marks, c-section scar, weight loss, weight gain.
“One thing that’s bothered me most are my stretch marks and even though they are not that bad, I still obsess over it in my mind that it's soo bad but talking about it made me realise that my partner isn't even bothered about it as much as I was. So guessing what others think about me was something I had to stop.”
For those struggling, many feel the best advice is to not compare yourself to others and learn to love yourself.
Jully advises “accept who you are, because with acceptance comes the discovery of your inner strength, qualities and super powers.”
India also offers some great advice to those who are feeling low about their body. “The only advice I could give to someone struggling with body confidence is to try and look at themselves through someone else’s eyes, no one is as critical about you as yourself. It’s also so important to place more value on personality traits and talents than physical appearance. Self love and body confidence takes a lot of time though.”
Fashion can be an important way to improve body confidence, as echoed by Curtis “If I feel confident in my clothing. It seeps into other areas and genuinely can make you feel better. Like wearing a brand new shirt out for the first time and feeling like you can take on the world.”
Hayleigh also feels that fashion can help you let your personality shine. “Fashion has always been one of my biggest ways to express myself. Since I was young I would always just wear whatever I wanted, and it allowed me to really find myself over the years.”
Francesca, who has struggled with her body since childhood, shares an important message.
“I have been insecure about my body since the age of 8, I have diary entries all about it, by 12 I had sneakily bought a pair of control pants and hid them in my room to wear to school, by 22 I was exhausted with the hurdles that were second guessing every move because of my body holding me back. The day I gained body confidence was more the day I refused to feel that shame anymore.”
Tell us what makes you feel body positive using the hashtag #MCRforeveryBODY for your chance to win a £100 Manchester Arndale gift card to create your A/W look. Visit our trend-setters’ individual Instagram accounts where they’re each giving you the chance to win too!