Jessamyn Stanley doesn't hold back when it comes to being honest about her body. The yoga teacher and body positivity advocate has been vocal about her struggle with self-acceptance in a culture that values smaller bodies, as well as her battle with body shamers online. Now, Stanley is sharing her advice on how women can make peace with their bodies.
“I have received so many negative comments about my body in my life, I cannot even begin to list all of them,” Stanley tells Health. “They go from 'you’re fat,' 'you’re ugly,' 'you’re disgusting,' 'you’re promoting obesity,' 'you’re a horrible person.' Everything you can think of to say, and then more specifically to a fat person, has been said to me.”
Stanley explains that despite all the negativity she’s received, she’s working to normalize conversations around taboo body subjects—like the natural body changes and issues women are often taught to see as bad or shameful.
“When I talk about my thigh chafing, and people were like, ‘It’s cool to talk about our thighs being chafed?’ And I’m like, 'we all got that,'” she explains. “Arm fat, as you get older, I do arm work all the time. That’s just a little bat wing thing. It’s happening, it’s a part of getting older."
While vocalizing these subject matters is important, she says, she really wants people to know that body changes are a natural part of growing and aging.
“We’re taught to think that our bodies aren’t supposed to change. That's the patriarchy," she says. “That’s who’s making you think your body doesn’t need to change. Your body evolves because you evolve. We grow from the new moon to the crescent to the full moon, and then to the waning moon. We are always in this massive period of transition and that has to be honored. Your body is meant to change.”
“It’s meant to shift, it’s meant to grow. The more that we can lean into that, just collectively, the happier we can all be.”
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