Love your body: introduction

Ten inspiring Torontonians bare all to promote body positivity and self-love in 2019

There’s never been an easier or harder time to be yourself and love the person you are. 

The world, we hope, is becoming more tolerant of diversity – in race, gender, ability, age, size and shape – and more inclusive of various definitions of beauty. 

Scroll through Instagram and other social media and you’ll see thousands of people sharing photos of themselves every day, proclaiming (and in some cases, reclaiming) who they are. Many use hashtags like #selflove and #bodypositivity, and strangers from around the world offer messages of support and encouragement. 

But at the same time, the internet amplifies words of hate. Those same posts are often bombarded with repulsive comments a person wouldn’t dare say to another’s face. There are still very few repercussions for online trolling. And Instagram plays a role in perpetuating traditional beauty ideals and promoting unattainable bodies.

The year 2018 saw diversity on mainstream magazine covers rise by double digits, with 62 of 128 covers featuring people of colour. Crazy Rich Asians broke the mould for Asian representation in a major Hollywood movie last summer, and stand-ups including Tig Notaro and Hannah Gadsby continued to expand ideas of gender and queerness. 

Closer to home, polarizing University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson embarked on his global book tour for 12 Rules For Life and continued to preach narrow views on gender, manhood and pronouns. And in November, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party opened a debate about denying gender identity to trans and non-binary Canadians. 

The fight for true inclusiveness is far from over. In fact, it’s more important than ever to stand up for those who may not have the strength, power or privilege to do it for themselves. 

In the following pages, you’ll meet survivors of breast cancer and rape. You’ll meet individuals who have overcome eating disorders, and you’ll read stories from folks still fighting to accept every inch of their skin. 

When we created the Love Your Body issue five years ago, we wanted to help change the conversation that typically comes up in January – the idea that we should lose weight, get fit and ultimately change who we are to become a “better” person. We wanted to subvert the headlines endorsed by mainstream health and beauty rags, and instead, encourage people to appreciate the body they’re in right now.

That conversation should be happening all-year round, and we hope that you return to these photos and stories of brave, beautiful and unique Torontonians whenever you need to be reminded of self-love.       Michelle da Silva

This year’s subjects:

See last year’s Body Issue here.

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