‘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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Muscle Mania

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Iron Girl by Dani Jennings

 

We woke up this morning to malignant ice covering every surface. It appeared to have sprouted it’s frosty tendrils overnight, like some sort of arctic fungus, through roads, pavements, cars and roofs. The whole world was blanketed with a frosty white. The air was sharp with cold. The biting kind, that creeps up on you when you least expect it, and causes your fingers to go numb.

The ache in my muscles is raw.

Today is a rest day.

I have been going to the gym every day this past week. My clothes are saturated in sweat by the end of it. I feel pumped and happy, even though the pain is near unbearable.

I got up and pottered about, getting ready to leave the house. As I pulled off my pyjamas, and stood in front of the mirror under the harsh white light of the bedroom, I noticed how wobbly my legs were. They weren’t exactly shapeless, but in the mirror I could see that the skin was not smooth and tight over my muscles. There was fat in places there hadn’t been before, and the shape wasn’t as streamlined as I like to imagine. In fact, I realised that although I had already put in so much work, there was still a very very long way to go.

They feel amazing though. My legs. All my muscles ache and ache, I can feel them slowly tightening. So at the moment I don’t care the they don’t look that great. I am getting there, slowly but surely. I can feel it, that’s all that matters right now.

Tomorrow is Abs and Arms day!

My mother in law very kindly made me a sandwich and gave me a snickers bar to take with me,  the latter of which I slipped into my husband’s drawer when she left. Clean eating, I thought to myself, is the only way to see satisfying results, rather than only feel them.

 

Why Do You Think You’ve Got What it Takes?

Well, first, what it takes to do what?

In my case, it’s to do life.

To be kind and and good, to handle adult situations in a mature way, to pass all my modules.. and with high grades, to secure a  prosperous future for myself, to follow my dreams, to give my parents their due respect and honour, to be a good wife, to help my marriage survive, to take care of my body and my soul, to do well in life, to be happy.

Well, sometimes I don’t think I do have what it takes. But that isn’t what the question is asking. It’s asking why I think I have what it takes. WHY do I think I can do what I set out to do? Assuming I already know I do have what it takes.

Which I do.

I think I do because I am passionate about what I do. I am eager and excited to get up and go. I love my goals and dreams, and I desperately want them to become a reality, so therefore I am willing to put in the extra effort and hard work that I need to put in in for that to happen.

I know the road to ‘there’ will be difficult, and I will experience moments of sadness and frustration and sometimes depression, and might even feel like giving up halfway through.

But it’s like at the gym, when you’re on the step machine, and you’ve set yourself fifteen minutes of random intensity and at the seven minute mark you think, ‘God, I can’t do this anymore, let me just get off and go on to body training’.. but then it’s 7:55 and then 8:21 and you’re like, ‘Well, I can stop at 10’ but then ten comes you’re like, ‘well, what’s five minutes, ey?’ and then fifteen minutes are up and hallelujah you’ve completed your goal and you leave with shaky legs but feeling absolutely fabulous.

That is why I think I have what it takes, because I know when the going gets tough, I can give myself those little nudges that I need to go full speed. I can speed myself up. I am a self-motivator.  I can DO IT.

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Why do YOU think you’ve got what it takes?

 

 

I Can, Therefore I Will

You may be surprised to learn this, given my track record of being despicably bad at writing blog posts, but this blog post is actually me procrastinating!

I am supposed to be outside on the green working out for 45 minutes before the gates of the gallery open and an influx of summer day-outers arrive with their children in tow to disrupt my countryside peace, but I thought I would make this quick post on creativity and inspiration before I go, since I have had my morning coffee and am pumped up and bursting with motivation!

Today is an up day, folks. I am inspired by several people. I won’t mention all of them, just those that have inspired me this morning!

Jack Howard is one of them. He is a youtuber who is doing a great many things with his life, and I do not always watch his content, but when I do I am immediately motivated to write more, move more, dance more, paint more, read more, learn more. I cannot pinpoint exactly why his videos make me want to do that, but they do. He seems so vibrant and full of information and witticism, and I am a sucker for witticism, which sadly always seems to hover just beyond my reach, and so my little quips always fall a little flat.

D Wallace Peach is another inspiration. She makes me feel uplifted, and she does not know it but she encourages me to write more, which is something I struggle to do when I am feeling low, which is a lot recently. She is an author of several books I have yet to read (and I will, I certainly will), and her writing is full of life and love and the nurture of nature through it’s seasons. I always want to take up my pen as I used to in the days of yore and cover mountains of crisp paper with my scrawly, fat handwriting after reading one of her posts.

Well, this was just a short post to tell you that I am pumped with life, dear reader. I want to be more. I want to aspire higher. My husband, who is also one of my biggest inspirations, has taught me through his actions and his very being, that you can always be better than you are, and that there is nothing out there that you can’t do. He opened my eyes to the fact that we are only limited by our perception of things.

I am only limited by the excuses my mind makes NOT to do something.

I can, therefore I will.

Who motivates you to do what you do?