The idea of body positivity is simple enough: that all bodies are worthy of self-love, self-care, and acceptance; all bodies are allowed to feel beautiful—and the definition of beauty is boundless. But in practice, body positivity isn’t always so simple. Pushing back against the negative norms we see every day can be tough. For the days when you need a little extra inspiration, here’s a list of 8 body-positive poems to boost your confidence and encourage self-love.
“bravery” by Alison Malee
“Take up as much space as you dare,” writes Malee. This short and powerful poem empowers us to be bold and unashamed, to be as brash and loud as we like. “Bravery” reminds us to be comfortable in our own skin, and not to let others define how or where to exist in this world.
“we are all born…” by Rupi Kaur
In this short and sweet poem, Kaur reflects on the tragedy of being taught that we are not beautiful. She implies that our definitions of beauty are learned over time, and they erase the innate beauty that we all possess.
“Ana” by Sierra DeMulder
“There is nothing empowering about lessening yourself,” says DeMulder in this full-frontal attack on the pro-ana movement. Her spoken performance unpacks all the ways society convinces us to make ourselves small and reminds us to fight back against them.
“when my body was mine” by Lauren Christine
“Vulnerability is my strength,” writes Christine, “as I dance barefoot with hairy underarms.” This encouraging poem takes readers on a journey from shame to self-acceptance. As societal pressures seem to take over the speaker’s body, she breaks free by letting her body hair grow, wearing un-stylish clothes, and dancing like a fool.
“When a man tells me I’m beautiful” by Naina Kataria
“And I dare him / to wait / till my hair grows back,” writes Kataria. This powerful poem brings back memories of hair removal like a ghastly flashback. Hot wax, lasers, bleach, Veet, and more bring this poem full-circle as Kataria points out the hypocrisy that comes with male and female body hair standards.
“My Body is Not an Apology” by Sonya Renee
“The body is not a spill to be contained,” says Renee. In this spoken word performance carried with rhythm and stamina, Renee preaches a powerful reminder to see our bodies as sacred gifts that we should honor—never apologize for.
“The Fat Joke” by Rachel Wiley
“I do not owe you shrinking. / I do not owe you health, perceived or otherwise, to deserve respect,” says Wiley in this heart-stopping poem. In her spoken performance, Wiley provides a reminder that we are all human and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
“Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou
There’s no way we could make it through this list without mentioning one of the most influential poets in American history. Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” is truly iconic, encouraging women to embrace their size, style, and the swing of their hips and let their joy shine through.