Over the past year, the “#bodypositive” movement has inspired individuals, especially women, to adopt a more accepting mindset towards their bodies, further cultivating a critical discussion surrounding personal health and well-being.
Through the creation of her website and Instagram account @straighttothebutze, Olivia Butze SC ’18 is honing her creativity, intellect, and unique perspective to not only spread awareness about the movement itself, but also encourage and empower other women to share their personal stories.
TSL: What was your inspiration behind #StraighttotheButze?
OB: I started the actual Instagram account after the first year of college. Looking back, it was a way to prove to myself that I could enjoy food, because around the same time that I started that account, I was having a lot of body dysmorphia issues and started to change my eating habits all based around this idea of what I wanted to look like. But then, that changed: In the middle of sophomore year of college, I started meeting with a nutritionist, and I realized that at the time, the whole [Instagram] account had been such a lie because it was not actually what I [had] believed in. #StraighttotheButze has evolved over time and was definitely born out of this anxiety and stress I felt, [along with] not [being] willing to acknowledge it. For the tagline, I was trying to come up with a way to use my last name because it’s such a huge part of me even if it was something that I hated for the longest time when I was a little girl.
TSL: What does balance look like for you?
OB: I think balance especially is just whatever I need to do to feel my best, and most of the time, it’s me going to bed at 9:30 p.m., eating six times a day, exercising … but other times, that could also be me staying up late spontaneously just to hang out with my friends. I believe both are individually defined, and a part of this is that I never want to try and place my experiences with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder on anyone else.
TSL: What does being body positive mean to you?
OB: For me, body positivity is realizing that there is no right way or wrong way to have a body and that nothing is considered perfect or imperfect. I know everybody faces these differently and for different reasons; mine is just one story. That's why I think balance and body positivity are so unique to every individual. They shape around our own experiences and nobody besides ourselves truly knows what is best for us. Someone may inspire your ideas of these or encourage you to find them, both of which I hope to do with #StraighttotheButze, but ultimately it's always up to the individual. This is also why I believe addressing the race and privilege boundaries in health and wellness is extremely important. I have a lot of privilege and am not in the place to put my experience on anyone else.
TSL: When you get back into that negative mindset, what do you do to get back to your stable base?
OB: I feel like #StraighttotheButze has really come in handy over the past year because when I used to get into that mindset I wouldn’t really know what to do about it, and that’s part of the reason why I think I was so closed off about it when I first started my eating disorder. I didn’t know how to talk about it because I like to pride myself as somebody who has so much control over her body and mind, and this was the first time that I really didn’t have that control, and I didn’t know how to get out of it. But, #StraighttotheButze has been something where as soon as I feel any ounce of guilt or mental or physical shame, I automatically post something on my account.
TSL: Do you feel that there is enough body positive awareness on campus?
OB: In general, I don’t think there’s enough body positivity, and I think it’s something that’s cast aside almost. I think our schools are amazing because people are so passionate about so many different aspects of the world and really work hard to make change in any way they can. However, with eating disorders, they aren’t taboo and they’re something that people don’t know how to approach. It’s something that I think should be on every campus—and not even just college — because it’s not something that goes away and not necessarily something that gets better with time.
TSL: Where do you want the #bodypositive movement to go?
OB: I really don’t want it to be just a fad. People are saying it’s one of the big trends of 2017/2018. And I hate that because it shouldn’t be a trend. It should be something that’s permanent. I want it to become something that isn’t taboo and a naturalized part of everyday life. Thirty million women and men in the [United States] have eating disorders. That’s a big number.