I was reading an article the other day from Shape that came up on my Apple News feed. The article heading caught my attention by asking “What Is Body Neutrality, Again?” Curiosity about the title I clicked on it to read more of what it was talking about. The article summarizes “Body neutrality shifts attention away from cultural beauty standards. Instead, this mindset focuses on how you treat your body.” I enjoyed the thought on this and wanted to compare body positivity versus body neutrality with a naturists perspective.

What Is Body Positivity

Key Take Away Bullets

  • Encourages us to love our bodies, all the time
  • Embracing the emotions it brings
  • Pushing out negative thoughts about ourselves
  • Forces feelings that may or may not be there
  • True feelings and emotions can be suppressed

Love Your Body

Wikipedia states “Body positivity is a social movement that promotes a positive view of all bodies, regardless of size, shape, skin tone, gender, and physical abilities.” Body positivity ideally focused on loving all bodies and celebrating the one’s we have. You don’t need to fit into any beauty norms, certain body style or weight, or any other appearance related characteristic. We all know there is no perfect body according to societies standards.

Embraces Emotions

I love the ideology behind this because the movement brings attention to the masses that not all bodies are perfect. We all can’t have the perfect muscle-to-fat ratio but that doesn’t mean we have to feel shame because of it. The benefit of body positivity is it brings emotion into the equation and helps you love and celebrate the body you have.

Remove Negativity

If you are the type of person who wants or needs positive affirmations, then body positivity could be the movement you’ve been looking for. Positive affirmations can help change your mood and rewire the way your brain works when it comes to negativity. You’re essentially pushing all the bad, negative, and self-hate thoughts out of your body, and bringing in thoughts of love, acceptance, and inner-peace.

Forced Feelings

We can’t help how we feel about ourselves most of the time. It’s inevitable that we are going to compare our bodies, clothed or naked, with those we see around us. Even with the positive affirmations we give ourselves or from those closest to us, the affirmations may not always seem authentic. Clinical psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD, believes “[body positivity] blames people for how they feel based on their mindset. It can also push people into trying to feel something they don’t.” She believes “body positivity is a subset of toxic positivity” because of it.

Suppresses Emotions

One major downside to body positivity is those who practice it could end up suppressing their true feelings and emotions. If someone has an eating disorder, they can begin to feel “guilty, ashamed, and more depressed”. Suppressing these emotions with false positivities can lead to further despair. Suppressing emotions is linked with higher levels of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and in extreme cases, suicide.

What Is Body Neutrality

Key Take Away Bullets

  • Removes emotion from body image
  • Focuses on gratitude and function
  • Doesn’t require loving your body
  • Understand our bodies change over time

Removes Emotion

Body neutrality removes the emotions about your body and body image from the equation. Body neutrality shifts away from beauty society imposes on us and focuses the attention to how we treat our bodies. Refocusing our attention to body neutrality can help unpack and force us to deal with hidden emotions. Dr. Albers states “body neutrality makes you dig deep and ask those questions about how you came to adopt and internalize the unrealistic beauty standards and ideals” This forces us to deal with any psychological issues we are facing when it comes to body image and the affects it has on our lives.


I find one thing we lack in today’s society is gratitude. I see a lack of gratitude with my own kids and with those in my extended family. Gratitude is defined as the state of being thankful and having thankfulness. How many of us can say we are thankful for all the things we have in our lives? I know I don’t do it all the time. One place we can start is being thankful for the body we have and what it does for us. Some days it’s hard because getting out of bed some mornings causes pain in my feet and ankles. Body neutrality allows us to be thankful for the body we have and helps us to show kindness to ourselves. Our bodies are a vessel of our lives and what carries us through good times and bad times.

Love Isn’t Required

Those mornings when I wake up and everything seems to hurt I certainly don’t love my body. The beauty about body neutrality is that we don’t have to love our bodies. I don’t think we need to hate our bodies either, but it’s more about acceptance than what it is or isn’t. Focusing on acceptance and being thankful we’re alive each day can relieve a lot of stress and pressure we feel. Also, surrounding ourselves with people who are thankful for us and accept us for who we are helps reinforce this behavior.

Our Bodies Change

I tell a lot of people that everything with my body seemed to go down hill after I turned 40. I started gaining weight, hips and back hurt more, and I just can’t do as much as I used to physically. Starting back to CrossFit last week proved all of this to be true. I’m sure I will get there one day, but it’s going to take me a lot longer than before. Thankfully, that is okay. The older we get, the less we want to and can do. I accept that.

Naturists Perspective

Now that I have given you an overkill explanation of the differences of body positivity and body neutrality, I’m going to look at this as a naturist and how we can combine all three to bring out the best in us all. For a long time I wanted to hide behind a veil of being someone who I wasn’t. Often, I didn’t even want to accept myself and I never thought I could be accepted for who I was. It seemed I had to be the person that everyone wanted me to be. Even here on my website I wanted to hide and sometimes still do, even from behind the keyboard!! Body image is a real issue that almost all of us either have or have had in the past. It’s a life-long journey to overcome.

Discover Your Journey

I can see the advantages of both body positivity and body neutrality, and they each have merit for their set group of people/followers. I just don’t see myself falling into either camp fully and feel I fall somewhere in the middle of both of them. This is probably true for many of you, too. There are certain body parts I like more than the others, but I don’t dislike or hate the other ones either. They are just…there. Some of them I can’t change and I have to accept those are part of my overall body and me as a person. Those parts are functional and help me get live my life to the fullest.

When I look back and think about the journey I have been on for the last 15 years, I can certainly see how I have changed. In my late 20’s, I started to learn more about naturism and how much I loved the idea that people are happy and content with themselves while naked. I was intrigued so much that I visited my first nudist club while on a work trip in Florida. I can honestly say that was life changing for me. It was very unfortunate that my situation would not allow me to embrace the naked life. Thankfully, I kept pursuing that journey regardless and I couldn’t be happier.

Social Media’s Affect On Reality

One of the healthiest things I did was avoid most social media platforms. Social media has to be one of the most toxic environments we find ourselves in. Social media has engulfed our lives and we are overwhelmed with influencers who represent nothing close to normal society. I think it is great people are able to make money by putting themselves out there, but many of the high-profile ones are what society calls ‘beautiful’. I have fallen trap to this before and started saying things like “I wish looked like…” and insert any name or body style. Saying words like that is very detrimental to ourselves and no amount of positivity or neutrality is going to help. These are very internalized thoughts.

The reality is we don’t take care of ourselves. When we don’t take care of ourselves, we end up in this downward spiral that we are not good enough. We gain weight, we stop moving, we gain more weight, and then our thoughts can lead us to focus on more things wrong with us. The list goes on…my thighs are big, my boobs are uneven, or I hate my [insert body part]. Even when I was in the ‘normal’ range for a health woman, I still felt ugly at times.

How Does Naturism Help

For me, naturism is a state of mind which allows me to be comfortable with who I am. This isn’t just a body image issue or about positivity versus neutrality. It’s about accepting yourself for who you are as a whole person. To be able to accept yourself as a whole person, one must be able to accept all parts of them regardless if they are good or bad. I have made many mistakes in my relationships with people. This is both romantic and non-romantic relationships. Making those mistakes yielded learning opportunities for me and made me a better person. I own and accept my mistakes, and I am who I am.

One thing I tell Mike often is I don’t have to worry about how my clothes fit when I am naked. Putting on clothes that are tight or that I can no longer wear greatly affects my self-esteem. Just last week I put on jeans for work and almost cried. They fit…barely. The whole day if felt like they were cutting into my stomach. Such a disappointment. As I am writing this in my office I am butt naked except for my watch and glasses. Sure I have a fat roll hanging over a bit, but at least I am comfortable and I feel good about myself.

Naturism Accepts You

The one thing I love about naturists are they genuinely accept you for who you are. I actually feel more at ease talking to them than I do people with clothes on. I didn’t know this until our trip to Couples Negril and I had the opportunity to actually engage with others. I don’t know, maybe it was the relaxed environment and endless alcohol that helped too. This was far different than my first visit to a nudist club in my late 20’s when I was terrified to even look at others.

The one thing I have learned, especially over the last few years, is the more we let life and the opinions dictate who we are, more lost we become. I believe we should take ownership of who we are at our core and not let those who are afraid or insecure shame us into someone we’re not. For example, I’m sure most of you have heard about Bradley Cooper being naked at home. He has came out and said that is what he prefers and his family doesn’t care and accepts it. Wisconsin petitions pushed back a law banning nudity, and a federal circuit court deemed topless equality across six states. People and society are changing, and what was once a carnal sin is becoming more normalized. It’s normal to be nude.

Final Thought

Regardless of what movement you decide to belong to, the one key take-away I have is be accepting and content with who you are. Also, be sure to surround yourself with people who are supportive of you despite your ideals, body type, size, shape, skin color, or disability. If someone shames you, cut them out of your life as much as you can. If someone is embarrassed by you, cut them out too. Look for people and lifestyles that support your and speak to you. I promise you won’t regret it and your life will be more abundant.

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  1. I have been my own free range naturist for about 70 years. Even by age 9 or 10 I loved the freedom of running free and naked on the streets of my town, on summer nights when I could manage it. Some years later I tried organized nudism, but their “Body Neutral” perspective and disrespect for normal human body feelings and functions turned me away.

    I suppose I’m a Body Positive Free Range Naturist now. I now post articles and comments on X @BobAlle58828655 promoting body acceptance and celebration of all human bodies of every age and condition. I advocate “love yourself first” including respect and acceptance of all normal human body processes and function, including love, breeding, masturbation, pee, poo, and just feeling good in sunshine. I advocate loving our bodies without ugly body masks, without hiding bodies in remote compounds, without hiding our body needs and functions.

    I’m glad to see your blog series being posted. The more of us who demand actual acceptance of our bodies and love of ourselves as the normal standard human the better. .

    1. Thank you for the comment and your perspective on body acceptance and celebration of the body. I can understand your frustrations with organized nudism and the purist viewpoints of some. You’re going to see that with any large group of people though. I wrote about my frustrations in an article titled Giving Up Nudism? where I basically chose to be someone who is clothes free without any affiliation. I just want to be naked and enjoy my life. I will say I lean more towards naturism because I love to be naked outside and feel the wonders of this earth on my skin. Water, wind, warmth from the sun, and even the tickle from grass at times. I plan to talk more about naturism, intimacy, and even some sexually related topics and how it can be enhanced by nudity alone. Stick around, it’s going to be good. 🙂

Let me know your thoughts on this!