‘Body Positivity’ is Wildly Misunderstood

“Body positivity.”

There is plenty of that dish going around, sparking many a heated debate and freeing many a hateful social media comment – pinging loudly through the internet and creating a chaos of unprecedented proportions.

After all, what is wrong with saying we should be ‘body positive’? Is it harming anybody?

Let us dissect this a little further, before I add my voice to this already saturated discussion.

The ‘body positive’ movement has received a lot of criticism and applaud, in equal measures, over the last decade or so. The movement, quite simply, states that all bodies should be celebrated and accepted, in all their forms. The movement aims to prevent feelings of insecurity and inadequacy in people who only see one particular figure-type being glorified in the media and in society; the movement highlights that it doesn’t matter what size you are, you are still worthy of self-love, and other love, that you are still valid as a human being.

On the face of it, this is a perfectly reasonable statement.

So why are many people opposed to this?

I shall tell you.

People say that the body positive movement ‘glorifies’ weight gain and fat people, that it is unhealthy to say that it is ‘okay to be fat’, because it gives ‘fat’ people less of an incentive to lose wight, and aim for better lifestyles. People (especially non-fat people) actually become quite het up about this on the internet, saying that the body positive movement glorifies obesity and ‘thin-shames’ people who aren’t fat.

So, in light of these discussions, which I have combed through extensively on the internet, I have had a little think about this, and this is what I have come up with.

Firstly, in order to lend an opinion to this argument, it is worth highlighting one very significant point: Nothing ever stays the same.

People are on continuous journeys throughout their lives, that is a fact.

Secondly, the body positive movement highlights that no matter what size you are,¬†you are worthy. This does not mean they are glorifying fat people. To call an obese woman ‘beautiful’ does not insinuate that she is beautiful because she is obese; she can be beautiful because she is just that, beautiful. The movement aims to highlight that just because somebody is ‘fat’, that extra weight does not define who they are, that they can still be beautiful and wildly successful in the same way as a smaller person can.

It aims to break the mould surrounding the idea that in order to be beautiful or accepted, one’s body must be looked at and judged first.

So, in light of the fact that nothing ever stays the same, it makes sense to come to the conclusion that fat comes and goes also.

People can say things like, ‘being fat is unhealthy’ and ‘she is unfit because she is fat’ and ‘posting photoghraphs of your fat body on the internet tells people its okay to be unhealthy’ – but what most of them are failing to realise is that¬†they don’t know what the full picture entails.

Just because somebody is fat, it doesn’t mean they are just sitting at home eating junk all day. They could be active in their lives, lifting weights and going to fitness classes, coaching yoga and teaching Pilates. They could be wildly successful entrepreneurs, excellent parents, wonderful children, the kindest beings on earth. They could be writers, poets, carpenters, skilled chefs. They could be hard working, have excellent ethics and wildly funny. Just like a thin person can. We just don’t know, you see, and to judge a person by how they look, despite not knowing the truth of their circumstances, is damaging and demoralising.

I do understand, of course, that this is the internet and people do say whatever they want, regardless of what it could mean to somebody else and disregarding the fact that they don’t know the full story.

However, I think it is important to highlight that the #body positive movement is wildly misunderstood.

Sure, people who are obese get a lot of disparagement both online and in public – a lot of humanity is not very kind – and the movement itself is criticised heavily, even by obese people, because it is believed to be purporting the idea that being fat is fine. Being overweight isn’t the most ideal situation, naturally, but that certainly does not mean people who are so deserve to be treated like anything less than a human being. They have the same rights as a thin person, they are not alien or different, they have the same feelings and emotions and deserve the basic human right of having that recognised.

Being fat does not make you a lesser human, and being treated with kindness and consideration should not be conditioned by what the scale says or how many fat cells your body clings on to.

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Fat.

You know how everybody says things like,

‘Oh I learned to love my curves and wobbly bits’

and

‘I changed my lifestyle and suddenly I don’t mind the fat. I feel comfortable in my skin.’

and

‘I am happy with how I look, fat rolls and all.’

How can they say that? And how do they look so good? Does their confidence automatically add ten million nice real life pixels on to their bodies?

I am above my necessary weight. And I feel so so fat. And ugly. And so uncomfortable in my own skin. I can’t breathe properly because I am a few pounds overweight and always trying to suck my tummy in. And NOTHING looks good on me because I have a massive ass and huge thighs but tiny calves and ankles and arms and my stomach is not flat anymore, so my clothes all look weird. Fat does not sit well on me at all, and I have a small face too so it just looks – WRONG!

I TRY to tell myself it is okay, I am still beautiful.. but I do not feel it at all. I feel fat and ugly and horrendous and out of place.

Also my husband says, ‘What happened to you, Lenora!?’ and he THINKS things because I can read his face like a book and it makes it worse and I just feel so horrible and unattractive and nasty.

Yesterday I was in the changing rooms and it felt like the music of my life sizzled into a buzz like an angry wasp and then it crankled a bit like a big machine dying down and crumpled into nothing. I noticed my muffin top and my pouchy tummy and then my arms are wiggly and my face is horrible and my legs are not legs they are wobbly misshapen things and I am just a massive ball of wobbly horrible things and I can’t love this. Who can love this? It is awful.

And I stood there for a good fifteen minutes just staring at myself in shock and disgust, and when I came out the lady said, ‘Did you like anything?’

And in my head I said, ‘Yes I loved it all but i hated my body so I am not getting anything at all because my skin does not deserve it and I am a flabby, ugly, dragon and I hate myself.’

I said, aloud, ‘Yes, thanks! I’ll take this one!’

And walked out and now the cute top I bought it hidden away in my drawer because I can’t bring myself to wear it and see how expanded my stomach has become in the span of TWO MONTHS.

I am just a miserable pile of unwanted fat.

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How the heck do they do it? How do they look so gorgeous! Image Credit.