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Body positivity and self-confidence is something our society has worked really hard to make difficult for just about everyone. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with images and media that is always telling us we are not enough. Maybe you are too skinny or too fat. Maybe your hair is too short or too long. We’ve been taught to strive to look more like a Bella Hadid instead of look within ourselves and our own beauty on a regular basis from as young as two years old.
The body positivity movement is in full force which we think is a beautiful thing. Finally, we have someone like Ashley Graham showing us what different types of bodies look like and models like Hunter McGrady are changing the standards of what beauty looks like in our world.
The queen of the body positivity and sex positivity movement in our opinion though is definitely Elle Chase. This bad ass sex educator, activist, and author are one of the strongest and most important voices in the body acceptance movement. In her time she’s been featured on NBC, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast, and has also organized one of our all time favorite porn blogs Lady Cheeky.
We got super lucky to spend some time with Elle Chase to learn more about body shame and where it comes from and how to find positivity in yourself and others.
Body shame is hardcore in our world- why do we body shame ourselves and others?
I believe it’s a combination of feeling bad about ourselves because 99% of us don’t fit into the aspirational beauty image that society foists upon us, and the flip side of feeling better about ourselves when we can shame others for the same thing. It’s a vicious self-perpetuating circle that we learn from a very early age that we do automatically and often without self-awareness.
What are tips you have for dealing with body shame?
The first thing I ask my clients to do when we are working on deconstructing their body shame is to notice how much they judge other people. When we judge others we are really judging ourselves. Take a look at how many times you think something judgmental about someone else and ask yourself why it activates you so much. Why do you feel so moved to judge this thing/person/situation? What about it triggers the judgment response. You can learn a lot about your own stuff this way, and from that become more self-aware. The more self-aware one is, the better prepped your mind is for the other body acceptance work.
How can one overcome body shame and find body positivity when it is coming from people close to them?
Overcome is an interesting verb. There’s something final about “overcome” like we’ve crossed some sort of finish line. I believe that shooting for “overcome” is puts too much pressure on us. I think acceptance is the more realistic action to shoot for, and once we are there, then shoot for “overcome”. Once you accept your body for what it is right now, you can do the work of working on your internal reaction to others judgment of you. I believe in the old adage, “you cannot control what someone thinks or does but you can control your reaction to it.” Therein lie the freedom and the work.
What are some tips you have for getting confident in your own body and finding your own beauty?
I think it’s essential to curb the negative self-talk. It’s easier said than done, but it’s crucial in order to start the process of self-acceptance. The first step is to notice how often you do it. Count the times each hour, or day you say something negative about yourself. You’ll be shocked at how often it is on an average day. Notice when there’s more negative self-talk than others and make a note of it. Then the challenging part, now when you notice a negative thought about your body, try not to take it in, and instead, just notice it, acknowledge that you have that thought and then imagine it just passing from one side of your mind’s eye to the other side and gone. After some practice doing this for a little while, you should start to feel some modicum of relief. The more you do it, the better you will feel. Abating the negative thoughts you have about your own body is 50% of the battle.
What are some resources for people looking to gain confidence?
There are some fantastic books out there that are incredibly supportive and helpful. My favorites are; Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, What No One Will Tell Fat Girls; A Handbook for Unapologetic Living, by Jes Baker, Big, Big, Love by Hanne Blank, and The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. There’s also a wealth of resources in the back of my book, Curvy Girl Sex
How did you discover ways to feel sexy about yourself and find body positivity?
Masturbation and physical self-discovery. I took the time to know my naked body to explore, slowly, deliberately and often, how and where my body liked to be touched. This experience turned me on, took me out of my own head and grounded me in my body. It was freeing and liberating and I realized, in my mind and in my body, how sexy I am.