Why are we all still so ashamed of our bodies? It turns out the vast majority of us don’t like the skin we live in, and would be mortified to share an unfiltered view of what our bodies are really like.

At first glance, it may seem that the digital world isn’t doing too much to help us feel more open; it’s created a wave of artificially distorted images that only make most of us feel more ill at ease. However, alongside all the Instagram perfect imagery there are some important changes happening in how we look at and talk about our bodies. 

A series of related movements are lifting the shame and helping us feel more at peace with the skin we live in. They are united under the banner of ‘positivity’. Positivity about the way we look, the way we have sex, and all the conditions and quirks that come with it. This positivity isn’t just about having a sunny demeanor, it’s about policing the things in society that make us feel ashamed of our bodies. So as Lizzo’s soundtrack of self love resonates globally, Victoria’s Secret and its impossible standards are being shut down.

This new wave of positivity has a big fight on its hands, but it has already put the beauty and fashion industries into a spin, forcing them to reassess what forms of beauty they promote. It’s also put pressure on society and social media to rethink our relationship to sex and to bring important conversations out of the shadows.

By The Numbers

16m, the number of posts tagged #bodypositivity and #bodypositive on Instagram (and counting). Instagram, 2020

37%, the percentage of straight women who don’t orgasm during sex, compared to 10% of straight men. The Guardian, 2018 

57%, the percentage of Gen Z who feel self-conscious about their body. U.K. Mental Health Foundation, 2019 

4%, the percentage of women around the world who consider themselves beautiful. The Real Truth About Beauty, Dove Self Esteem Report 

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Photo Credit: Peter Devito www.peterdevito.com