13 Body-Positive Quotes That Remind Us That All Bodies Are Beautiful
These body-positive quotes may help you appreciate all bodies no matter their size, shape, or color—even your own.
Why is body positivity so important?
The body positivity movement, which seeks to challenge one-size-fits-all beauty ideals, has been gaining momentum as far back as the 19th century, when “dress reform” sought to free women, literally, from their corsets. And while unrealistic beauty standards have been around just as long (or even longer), the rise of television, advertising campaigns, and social media mean people can now get the message in a thousand different ways that they are somehow not enough.
It’s no surprise that this can eventually be harmful to your physical, mental, and emotional health. The good news is that social media has also helped to shift the lens from body obsession to body positivity with hashtags like #bodypositivity and #bopo to increase feelings of body appreciation and acceptance.
“It’s so important for role models to send out body-positive messages to counterbalance all of the other messages that we receive informing us of the opposite, whether that be on social media, in conversations with our family and friends, and more,” says Melanie Shmois, a cognitive behavioral therapist at Mind Your Strength Coaching in Avon Lake, Ohio. “Role models sharing how they love their bodies is empowering,” she adds, and the truth more of it is needed. It’s not just body-positive photographs showing celebrities celebrating their imperfections that can help, but also body-positive quotes and words of wisdom to remind men and women to celebrate how they look, however they look.
Get inspired with these body-positive quotes that may help you better appreciate the body you’re in (and don’t miss these positive thinking quotes to boost your mood, too).
You deserve your love and kindness
“Speak to your body in a loving way. It’s the only one you’ve got, it’s your home, and it deserves your respect.” —Iskra Lawrence
Iskra Lawrence is a British model and fashion star who flaunts her curves and has used her fame to promote body positivity. (This quote is taken from her 2017 TEDx Talk.) Lawrence is considered a plus-size model by fashion industry, standards, but she rejects labels and doesn’t define herself by her size. She frequently posts unretouched photos of herself on social media and encourages others to take care of their mental, physical, and emotional health.
Why does weight even figure into the conversation?
“My weight? It is what it is. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow. It’s about being content. And sometimes other priorities win.” —Melissa McCarthy
“My weight?” McCarthy asks rhetorically because…why even talk about Melissa McCarthy’s weight? How is it relevant to literally anything at all? The actress, comedian, writer, producer, and fashion designer, McCarthy, has been “every size in the world.” (This is what a body image coach wishes you knew.)
There’s so much more to you
“Take your time and your talent and figure out what you have to contribute to this world, and get over what the hell your butt looks like in those jeans!” —America Ferrera
Back in 2012, actress America Ferrera spoke to Cosmo for Latinas about a number of topics, including all the time she wasted on diets and her appearance. Cultivating body positivity wasn’t new for Ferrera in 2012, however. Seven years earlier, she had already starred in the film, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which was based on the body-positive premise that four unique women were able to share a single pair of jeans—not because of what their bodies looked like, but because of their deep and abiding friendship). (Improve your body image without dieting.)
Appreciate your uniqueness
“What makes you different or weird, that’s your strength.” —Meryl Streep
In the same speech, given to the graduating class of 2014 at the University of Indiana, where Streep was awarded an honorary doctorate degree, Streep confessed she used to hate her nose. Now, however, she appreciates it and understands that the fact that it wasn’t “cookie-cutter” helped distinguish her from other actresses when she was first looking for acting roles. (Want to feel inspired? Here are the 17 best graduation quotes.)
You are enough
“It was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen.” —Sam Smith
In his acceptance speech at the Grammy Awards in 2015, Best Pop Vocal Album winner, Sam Smith, admitted that it was only when he starting loving himself and his body that he was able to free himself to make great music. “Before I made this record, I was doing everything to try and get my music heard,” and that included trying to lose weight, even at the expense of making “awful” music.
You don’t have to look a certain way to be beautiful
“Feeling beautiful has nothing to do with what you look like.” —Emma Watson
Feelings aren’t facts, and they can change direction as quickly as the wind. To feel beautiful, you don’t have to look any particular way at all. Feeling beautiful is about seeing the beauty in the sum total of yourself. But even at the times when you’re not feeling it, give yourself a break because feeling bad about feeling bad is worse than just feeling bad. Seriously, there’s science behind that.
Don’t hold yourself up to someone else’s ideal
“Before pictures are implications of a right way and a wrong way to have a body. It perpetuates an ideal that is harmful” —Mary Lambert
Grammy-nominated vocalist, Mary Lambert, who has performed with Macklemore, Gavin DeGraw, and Madonna, among others, is comfortable in her skin. Her experiences with weight loss attempts have been less than positive, in part because they weren’t motivated by self-love.
“Your weight loss is your prerogative,” she tells her blog readers. “If you feel like it’s gonna make you happier or feel better to have a goal of losing weight, I’m not the expert of your body [but] if you believe that you’ll be happy only if you achieve an arbitrary number on a scale, you will have an arduous, frustrating journey.”
What matters is what you see
“One day I decided that I was beautiful and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see.” —Gabourey Sidibe
Gabourey Sidibe is an actress and author and starred in Precious, which earned six Oscar nominations, including for her portrayal of the title character. She has a lot to be proud of, and she is. “I am plus-size, I have dark skin and I am 100 percent beautiful,” she tells NPR, “but I get a lot of flak” in Hollywood. Sometimes, it even hurts her feelings. But it doesn’t change how she feels about herself or encourages negative self-talk. It only changes how she feels about Hollywood.
Being yourself is beautiful
“I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.” —Emma Stone
Actress Emma Stone’s spin on body positivity takes into account that beauty may be in the eye of the beholder. However, she makes it clear that there is nothing more beautiful to behold than a person who is unafraid to be herself. Take the time and be kind to yourself.
The value of physical beauty is questionable
“You can’t really invest in your looks as your only ‘thing’ because it is a depreciating asset.” —Rashida Jones
Actress Rashida Jones sent this message to all young girls during a panel discussion at the 2014 Women in the World Summit and capped it off with the advice to put the effort into cultivating “intelligence and talent, which will appreciate and get better as you get older.” (Here are steps you can take to wake up happier with yourself every day.)
Cultivating a new way of looking at “body love”
“By speaking of ourselves in a positive and affirmative fashion and finding ways to eradicate self-hate, we can foster a sense of love and compassion powerful enough to restructure our society’s entire perspective of ‘body love.'” —Jessamyn Stanley
Yoga teacher, Jessamyn Stanley first captivated the social media public with her Instagram account, documenting her home yoga practice. Stanley has a “yoga body,” which is to say it is authentically what it is in each moment, without apology. True to form, her vinyasa yoga classes provide a “body positive approach to yoga which celebrates students’ bodies and encourages them to ask ‘How do I feel?’ rather than ‘How do I look?’ when practicing yoga.” Learn how this avid runner’s body changed during the pandemic as she learned to listen to it more.
You’re not broken
“You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself.” —Geneen Roth
Author Geneen Roth, who has written prolifically about eating disorders, is spot-on in addressing the notion that you’re not broken. Everyone has issues and flaws. Nevertheless, you don’t need fixing. You’re good enough just the way you are.
Body positivity should be the rule, not the exception
“You don’t need an excuse to feel good about yourself.” —Olakemi
Self-described body activist, Olakemi is a Nigerian model who is a purveyor of words of positive wisdom. She is an Instagram influencer whose followers look to her for inspiration. Among her other pearls of wisdom, she offers the following definition of body positivity. “Body positivity means inclusion but also equality. Acceptance and celebration of diversity. Not tearing down others of different body shapes and sizes. Being audacious enough to love yourself. Pushing past fear and doubt with positivity.”
- Body Image: "The relationship between Facebook and Instagram appearance-focused activities and body image concerns in young women"
- New Media & Society: "#BoPo on Instagram: An experimental investigation of the effects of viewing body positive content on young women’s mood and body image"
- Melanie Shmois, MSSA, a cognitive behavioral therapist at Mind Your Strength Coaching, in Avon Lake, Ohio
- TEDx Talk: "Ending the pursuit of perfection | Iskra Lawrence | TEDxUniversityofNevada"
- Time: "Here's Meryl Streep's Spot-On Advice About Being a Woman"
- Mary Lambert Sings: "Hi, Fat People Can Be Healthy"
- NPR: "Gabourey Sidibe's Message To The World: 'Mind Your Own Body"
- Good Housekeeping: "Melissa McCarthy's Weight-Loss Journey in Her Own Word"
- Cosmopolitan.com: "America Ferrera is CFL's New Cover Girl!"
- MSNBC: "Mika removes her makeup at women's summit"
- Instagram: "mynameisjessamyn"
- PhotoBook Magazine: "How To Be Proud And Be You: Influencer Olakemi Teaches Us About Body Positivity"