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Meet the Dublin woman encouraging thousands of Irish people to 'be kinder to their bodies'

“Body positivity is about showing your body the respect it deserves,” says Rebecca Flynn.

Regram from @pizzasisters4lyfe Self care is so so important. (beautiful drawing from @cloudy_thurstag)

A post shared by Body Positive Ireland (@bopoireland) on

YOU’VE PROBABLY heard the phrase ‘body positivity’ (or BoPo) being used a lot lately. But what is it, and does it apply to your body? Yes, of course.

‘Body positivity’ is the simple idea that ALL bodies – fat, thin, hairy, wobbly, whatever – are equally valuable, and Dublin woman Rebecca Flynn is trying to get Irish people on board.

16508555_260819484355281_847164540284127641_n Source: Facebook/Body Positive Ireland

Rebecca discovered the body positivity movement a couple of years ago after following fashion blogger Edith Dohmen, and subsequently sought out more women with similar views.

“The more I watched, followed and read, the more I realised how diet culture and societally imposed beauty standards had hurt me,” she told DailyEdge.ie.

I started to move away from those ideals and it felt so brilliant, like I had been freed. I realised there weren’t many Irish people discussing body positivity so I decided I would set up a platform where I could ‘pay it forward’, so to speak.

With this in mind, she set up the Body Positive Ireland Facebook page, where she posts inspiring articles, artwork, and ‘self-esteem selfies’, touching on everything from fashion to weightlifting to body hair.

In the caption for this photo, for example, she discusses the pressure many women feel to be perfectly plucked and shaven before going to the swimming pool.

14292234_177804042656826_2489187369852475106_n Source: Facebook/Body Positive Ireland

Since having a little boy, she writes, she just doesn’t have the time to worry about it anymore:

I go in whatever state I happen to be in at the time and, you know what, no one has ever batted an eyelid. Prep or don’t prep however you see fit, so long as you know you don’t have to make yourself look a certain way for the pool or beach or anywhere.

The BoPo Ireland Facebook page currently has over 2,000 followers, with 750 more on Instagram – and Rebecca tells DailyEdge.ie that the reaction has been “really wonderful” so far.

Regram from #BoPoIreland follower and artist @karen.harte 💜 #bodypositive

A post shared by Body Positive Ireland (@bopoireland) on

She understands that Irish people can be quite reserved when it comes to matters like this, what with the national fear of people thinking you’re “full of yourself”.

It seems for a lot of people there’s a fine line between self-love/body acceptance and being big-headed… I knew for me personally to move forward I had to let go of the paranoia that people would think I’m full of myself. To be honest, I’d rather be that than my former insecure, body-hating, food-restricting self.

“I’ve been so uncomfortable with a lot of things on my BoPo journey,” she continued. “But I choose to sit with that discomfort and use it as an opportunity to learn.”

With the page, Rebecca wants to challenge the notion that body positivity is just “someone dancing naked in front of a mirror shouting I AM THE BIGGEST BABE TO WALK THE EARTH” – but if you do feel that way, that’s amazing too.

“It’s mainly about unlearning what we’ve been taught to think about bodies and the idea that we should always be striving to be smaller or more perfect,” she says.

It’s about showing your body the respect it deserves, and even if you don’t, now or even ever, totally love your body that you can accept and appreciate it for all that it does for you. I believe we could all do with being kinder to our bodies.

Amen to that.

You can follow Rebecca and Body Positive Ireland on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat (its_r2theb).

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