Take Control Of Your Scroll For Better Body Image & Mental Health In MenopauseNov 06, 2023
We live in an age where our self-worth is often intrinsically tied to our social media feeds. Every swipe and scroll exposes us to perfectly curated images that can either uplift or deflate our spirits. But what happens when this curated reality is in direct conflict with our self-image, especially during a transformative stage like menopause? Too often, we fall prey to aggressive predatory marketing schemes that promise us eternal youth and a different body. But there are other options and one of them is this: take deliberate steps to curate a feed that celebrates body neutrality.
The Need for Body Neutrality
Body positivity had its moment, encouraging us to love our bodies, imperfections and all. Even with the best of intentions, the movement often felt exclusionary for those who found it difficult to muster love during times of change, like menopause. The pressure to “just love your body” turned toxic and hashtags like #bodypositivity and #loveyourbody were hijacked by people posting pictures of their highly photoshopped bodies exclaiming body love. All that did was flood our feed with more distorted images and messages. The reality is that it’s not realistic to feel good or excited about your body 100% of the time. You can’t just “get over” ingrained body image issues overnight. Enter body neutrality, a more forgiving philosophy that aims to remove both positive and negative value judgments about our bodies. Why neutrality? Because it allows us to appreciate our bodies for what they can do rather than how they look.
What Is Body Neutrality?
Body neutrality is the idea that you can exist without having to think too much about your body, negatively or positively. It encourages you to recognize your body’s abilities and non-physical characteristics over your appearance. This movement aims to decentralize the body as an object by challenging the myth that the way you look drives your worth and value. Our current society does value bodies that look a certain way, so even the act of body neutrality can create dissonance.
The Role of Social Media During Menopause
Menopause is a pivotal stage, with your body going through changes that are rarely celebrated in mainstream media. The opposite is true. Older women who are considered attractive are praised primarily for not looking old (hello, JLo). Not only do women experience immense pressure to be thin, but they are also expected to maintain a youthful appearance, and because youth is equated with attractiveness, aging is often perceived to be synonymous with being less attractive. How are we supposed to accept our aging bodies when we’re constantly being told that it is something to hate? This gap can make an already complex life phase feel even more isolating.
You don’t have to LOVE your loose skin, stretch marks, wrinkles, softness, etc. You can just ACCEPT it as a natural part of your body. It’s not inherently “bad” or “good” - it just is. There is nothing wrong with the way your body looks. And if you can’t love it all the time, that’s okay.
Curate to Celebrate
One of the most immediate ways to encourage body neutrality is by curating your social media feeds. Follow accounts that showcase a diverse range of bodies, ages, and life experiences. Unfollow or mute accounts that make you feel less than, or those that promote a singular, often unattainable, beauty standard. Seek out platforms or accounts that offer valuable advice and support for the menopausal journey, and celebrate the complexity and beauty of this stage of life.
Accounts Worth Following
In line with fostering a community spirit, consider following accounts that highlight a diverse range of body types, ethnicities, and cultures, and also promote a weight-neutral approach to health. Surround yourself with information and people that make you feel good. Are there any accounts that you follow that don’t make you feel good? Unfollow! Accounts that fearmonger? Unfollow! Accounts that are trying to sell you the ultimate solution? Unfollow!
Here are some of my favorite accounts to follow for body diversity and weight-neutral approaches to health:
The Ripple Effect
The benefit of a curated feed extends beyond your own well-being. It also sends a powerful message to social media algorithms about the kind of content that should be amplified. By engaging with posts that promote body neutrality and inclusivity, you're essentially voting for a more tolerant and accepting digital landscape. This, in turn, helps other women who are exposed to these more balanced viewpoints.
Unplug to Reconnect
While curating your feed is empowering, taking periodic breaks from social media can also be rejuvenating. It allows you the mental space to connect with your body on your own terms, free from external influences. During these moments, you can focus on what makes you feel healthy, strong, and balanced — the ultimate goals during your menopausal journey.
You've lived long enough to know that the "ideal body" doesn't exist, so why do we keep pursuing goals that are only related to achieving that "look"? In a world where social media holds significant sway over our self-image, curating a feed that aligns with the philosophy of body neutrality can be a game-changer. By taking control of your social media environment, you're taking an essential step towards a healthier, more balanced mindset. So, let's celebrate the incredible capabilities of our bodies, embrace their uniqueness, and journey toward a place of self-acceptance. And remember, body neutrality isn't about indifference; it's about creating a space where your body's worth is not up for debate.