Women’s Herstory Month ends with message of radical self-love

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Sonya Renee Taylor is the founder of The Body is Not An Apology, a digital media and education company dedicated to promoting the concept of radical self-love. Yesterday, Taylor was the guest speaker at the Women’s Herstory Month closing event. Photo courtesy of Sonya Renee Taylor website.

The University of Connecticut Women’s Center held its closing event for Women’s Herstory Month yesterday featuring guest speaker Sonya Renee Taylor. 

Taylor is the founder of The Body is Not An Apology, a digital media and education company dedicated to promoting the concept of radical self-love. Radical self-love, as defined by Taylor, is the ability to love oneself despite feelings of inadequacy.  

According to Taylor, radical self-love does involve the body, but is also affected by race, gender, sexual orientation and more.  

In her speech and while answering questions, Taylor emphasized the importance of dismantling the idea that certain types of bodies are more valuable than others. 

woman in gray hijab holding makeup brush
According to Taylor, radical self-love does involve the body, but is also affected by race, gender, sexual orientation and more. Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

“If the question is that there are some bodies that are valuable and some bodies that are not then the answer is always that there are some bodies that are disposable and there are some bodies that are not,” Taylor said.  

“If the question is that there are some bodies that are valuable and some bodies that are not then the answer is always that there are some bodies that are disposable and there are some bodies that are not.”

Sonya Renee Taylor, founder of The Body is Not An Apology

As long as the idea that some people are less valuable exists, society will always believe that some people are disposable. It can be based on someone’s mood that day or even if they are seen as necessary or acceptable, said Taylor. 

Boundaries, although difficult to maintain, are also an important part of radical self-love, according to Taylor.  

“The idea of boundaries can be very permeable, and it can be difficult to hold,” Taylor said. “One of the things radical self-love says to us is, ‘The reflection of my own radical self-love is my commitment to reiterating my boundaries again and again.’” 

“One of the things radical self-love says to us is, ‘The reflection of my own radical self-love is my commitment to reiterating my boundaries again and again.’”

Sonya Renee Taylor, founder of The Body is Not An Apology

Taylor said the pandemic has also affected the way radical self-love can be spread in today’s society. The pandemic has shown people that how they view themselves is contagious. 

“What if we become intentional about what it is we want to pass on in the world and to stop treating it as if it was only us?” Taylor asked the audience.  

An attendee asked Taylor how adults can support children to promote the idea of radical self-love. The first step is allowing children to question and challenge things they hear, she said.  

positive black girl with long curly hair sitting in living room
According to Taylor, creating critical thinkers will allow children to grow into adults that can be confident enough to challenge beliefs that may make them feel insufficient and promote radical self-love. Photo by Marta Wave on Pexels.com

According to Taylor, creating critical thinkers will allow children to grow into adults that can be confident enough to challenge beliefs that may make them feel insufficient and promote radical self-love.  

Taylor spoke about the background of feelings of insufficiency, particularly with body positivity in the Black community.  

“The permission to question what we’ve been taught is really challenging inside of our community sometimes and this is one of those places where I think that there is a place we’ve not been given permission to question what we’ve been taught.” 

Sonya Renee Taylor, founder of The Body is Not An Apology

“I think this question is important particularly for Black folks,” Taylor said. “The permission to question what we’ve been taught is really challenging inside of our community sometimes and this is one of those places where I think that there is a place we’ve not been given permission to question what we’ve been taught.” 

The conversation about healthy Black bodies cannot begin until a conversation about racism and the systems related to it are addressed too. Taylor’s examples of these systems included food deserts, redlining and gentrification.  

Taylor ended her talk with a warning against reaffirming harmful practices that would “reinforce practices of bodily oppression” and discourage habits of radical self-love from forming.  

A recording of the event will be released by the UConn Women’s Center in the near future.

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