bodypositiveRemember Friends? Some of the most memorable episodes featured Courtney Cox in a body suit portraying an overweight Monica. We loved how funny “Fat Monica” was, but did we ever stop to think about how she must have felt constantly living in the shadow of her thin best friend Rachel? She lost the weight eventually, but for those of who can’t (or don’t want to), it can be difficult when all we see being portrayed in media and society are “Rachels.” Do you ever catch yourself wondering, “Where are the Monicas?”

That’s why “body positive” websites like Lady Gaga’s ‘Body Revolution,’ ‘My Body Gallery,’ and ‘Stop Hating Your Body’ are so appealing: because they let us see what “real women” look like and celebrate the diverse body types that exist in reality and not in print. But are they all they’re cracked up to be?

First things first: it’s great that women are being given opportunities to discuss their personal experiences with their own bodies and show support for one another in friendly environments. All for it. The problem is, however, is that we’re still playing by the rules of the game even if we think we’re not. Uploading images of our bodies to My Body Gallery is like telling the media: “Hah! I can overexpose the female body too!” It’s a different side of the same coin. And it’s a game that’s centered on cold hard cash. Gaga’s “Body Revolution” and her messages of self-love are empowering to her followers, but they also make sure that they remain loyal to her and, in turn, bankroll her career and Interscope Records’ profits. And, the peeps who first created the concept of “body positive,” don’t offer their services and materials for free – they charge for them (and sometimes it’s a hefty chunk of change!). Wouldn’t they distribute them for free if female empowerment and body liberation is all they’re after?

So, yes, love yourself and the skin you’re in. But don’t do it because somebody else tells you to. And don’t do it by their rules or terms. Do it by your own.

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