For a movement that has recently been called into question, the two words might stir up some controversy or negative feelings. However, Woods, who has been an integral part of the movement for young women, doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with body positivity itself. Instead, she believes there’s something wrong with the way it’s been interpreted in relation to self-improvement.
“I kind of became this body-positive activist, naturally,” Woods tells Yahoo Lifestyle at the St. Ives Mixing Bar in New York City, explaining that her work as a plus-size model organically brought her into that space. “I didn’t really know much about the movement until I became a part of it. But it’s kind of a weird concept nowadays.”
The meaning of the movement has only recently become muddled for Woods. Following the sudden death of her father in early 2017, the model started using the gym to help herself mentally and emotionally. In the process, she’s noticeably slimmed down, achieving what she calls a “healthier appearance” that she’s super-proud of. However, her fans and followers seem to think that it contradicts her platform.
“Even with me working out, it’s been very controversial for some people,” she admits. “They’re saying, ‘Oh, you’re working out, you don’t like your body, you’re trying to look a certain way.’ But no, I feel like loving your body and being body positive is taking care of yourself, doing things to make you better, and doing things that you want to do.”
While it promotes the importance of self-acceptance and self-love, body positivity does little to provide people with an understanding of how to achieve those things. Even more so, it seems that changing physically is, to a certain extent, disapproved of. Examples of this are seen within the plus-size modeling industry, where the concept circles back to.
“I’ve definitely heard some companies say, ‘Can you wear body padding or something to make you bigger?’” Woods says of plus-size brands striving to make their models look fuller. “People don’t really realize, but I’ve talked to other plus-size models who say they’ve gained a lot of weight and are working more. Or they’ve lost a lot of weight and are not working as much.”
However, many people more deeply involved in the movement, like Woods, would disagree with the industry’s push toward constructing the perfect plus-size model to be a body-positive advocate. But as the industry changes to include more body types, including those in between straight and plus sizes, Woods hopes that body positivity will become better understood as the movement that it should be.
In the meantime, she’s focused on her own journey to self-confidence, which includes glowing skin, a good hair day, and a consistent routine at the gym.
“Right now, we’re kind of still stuck in our old ways,” she says. “Just because you want to work out or fix something does not mean that you’re not body positive; it just means that you are evolving.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• Plus-size influencer gets fat-shamed after partnering with Nike
• Curvy model Jordyn Woods: Labeling people as plus-size ‘is not cool’
• Why this woman had a post-breakup makeover — when she wasn’t even dating someone to begin with