‘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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Are You Interesting?

“Jack of all trades, master of none”

Or in my case, ‘Jane of all trades, mistress of none”

Because I am not.

Interesting, that is. I think it comes from having a despicably short attention span, brought on, no doubt, by an addiction to social media.

I am good at many things, but have not mastered one thing in particular. Although at this moment in time, writing seems to be the only consistent thing in my life. I do love to write. I also love to read.

I just don’t love to learn new and interesting things in a dogged manner, thus rendering me acquainted with a great many topics, just not knowledgeable about any of them.

“Oh, have you heard about so-and-so?”

“Yes.  I read about him.”

“Oh really? Tell me more!”

“Um, I’ve only heard about him, to be honest.”

Because I didn’t bother to read anything more about the topic even though it interested me and would have probably made a great conversation. Same thing with a great many other topics and ideas. I don’t follow through and see it to the end. Because I am lazy and like to hipetty hop from one topic to another in an erratic manner.

For example, halfway through writing this post, even though I was on a roll, I opened a new tab to check YouTube. I really didn’t need to, but I just did, and I forgot what else I wanted to say. I keep doing this, and all my work is lacking in concentration and focus as a result. This is also the same for my conversations and human interactions. I am terrible at it, and think I am terribly un-interesting.

Anyway – the feeling of being boring makes me feel terribly insecure. Which is a vicious cycle because when you feel insecure you are not your usual happy, chirpy self and you become an awkward wallflower, fading away into the background and feeling upset that nobody wants to talk to you.

Alternatively, you try too hard – and that flops too.

Feeling insecure stops a person from achieving their full potential.

I know who I am, but sometimes I can be maliciously insecure. That is, insecurity has a malevolent hold on me. It catches in my throat and turns my attention away from life and liveliness and makes me cloudy and moody and complainy.

So I have learnt that I need to ignore my insecurity and focus really hard on finding that place inside me where I am happy and carefree. When I have found that place, my true self flows out and it quite often surprises me.

You see, you have to be less self conscious – and also less self aware. Don’t fret, my dear. Smile even though you hate your teeth, throw your head back and laugh genuinely – show that mouth to the world. Don’t edit your laughter, it sounds forced. Relax. Breathe. Enjoy the sun and the rain and look for the silver linings in everything.

If something displeases you, ignore it, and find the pleasing factor inside it. Everything has a pleasing factor.

Alternatively, play the glad game. That is a good game to play. Let us hail Pollyanna, and make life a happier place. There.

Good day.

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A Saturday Thought

One thing I have learned about life is that you have to have a lot of faith, and have to be a lot content with your lot in this world. You have to have faith in yourself, to pull you up and keep you going when times are rough. To wake you up in the mornings, and feed you and clothe you and take care of all your emotions.

You also have to have faith in other people, even though faith in them is sometimes thrown back in your face. You have to throw things to chance. You have to work hard, even though your heart is broken and your morale is low, and you have nothing going for you because eczema riddles your arms, your chest is wheezy, your hair loss has become so bad you can’t hide it anymore, you have extra fat and it’s putting you off looking pretty. You have to brush your hair and wash your face and wear a nice bra because you’re twenty two and even though you don’t feel like you look like regular gorgeous twenty two year olds, you still have to look good and feel good.

You have to fight even though your husband is being a moody git and denies it when questioned why. Even though both he and I know he is being a git.

You have to fight even though you feel so lonely and all your family is far away and there is so much work to do and so many things to plan for and you have barely started and you feel too ill and demotivated to start.

You have to have faith. You have to look at those below you because you have money in your bank account, a roof over your head, heating to warm your cold toes and a bloody good mattress. Plus you just ate a roast chicken for dinner and how many people can say they’ve had that?

That’s a blessing, folks. It’s a mighty blessing and all these complaints are trivial, and you have to have faith and hope and keep fighting for your hair and your marriage and your family and your friendships and your sanity.

And your faith.

I have a faith, folks. I don’t talk about my faith often, but my faith is what keeps me going, keeps me wondering at the majestic beauty of the world and the meticulous science behind everything. I have a faith, and I need to keep it alive.

That was my Saturday thought. Adieu! Have a great weekend.

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How to Treat Yourself

You: Hello, how are you doing?

You: I’m fine, thank you.

You: Have you eaten today?

You: Why, yes, thank you. I had a nice peanut butter banana and a mug of coffee.

You: Oh, jolly good. How is everything else?

You: Well my husband is being very cruel lately.

You: Oh, no. How so?

You: Well he isn’t giving me any hugs, and is being generally off with me. He comes home very late and goes straight on to his laptop and gets irritated when I try to talk to him. I think that’s rude and hurtful and unappreciative, and he can go do one.

You: Oh..

You: And I didn’t say goodbye to him this morning, but I did pack a lunch for him, and he didn’t say thank you, so I didn’t kiss him goodbye like a usually do, I didn’t tell him to drive safe, I didn’t ask him if he had his phone, keys, wallet. He didn’t care, though. He just walked out that door. I feel bad for not saying goodbye, in case he dies on the motorway, but he knows I love him, so I don’t feel that bad.

You: …

You: So I am done. He can come apologise when he is ready, but until then, I am not talking to him.

You: Yesterday he walked in at 10PM, (he left the house at 6AM) and went straight on his laptop didn’t even ask how I was. Didn’t even look at me, in fact. I came in to the living room and his mother asked me, “Is he ready to eat yet?”

IS HE READY TO EAT YET!??!?!? SOD THAT. His Lordship can get his own dinner.

Yes, I know he drove for three hours straight. BUT I AM HIS WIFE, LIVING IN HIS MOTHER’S HOUSE, WHERE I DO NOT EVEN FEEL COMFY ENOUGH TO POOP, YOU CAN HAVE THE DECENCY TO TREAT ME WITH THE LOVE AND RESPECT I DESERVE.

You: Oh, lovey. Have a nice cup of coffee, get your cycling gear on, and cycle off to the country. Maybe visit Allie on your way back, have a chat, and then go to the uni to do your work. Don’t think too much about it. You did your bit, okay?

You: *sniff* Yeah, okay, that sounds really nice actually.

You: You deserve it, my dear. Now, off you pop.

You: Thank you.

You: You sturdy thing, you!

Treat yourselves good, folks, don’t wait for others to do it for you.