The Toxic Side to the Body Positivity Movement that no one wants to Discuss


Happy new year, and welcome to 2022. The time of year again where gyms, gym wear companies and, come on let us just bite the bullet here, really anything relating to diet culture, can look forward to making money off people. This includes those who long to start fresh this year, embarking on a journey of health and wellness. Among this group, a substantial number consist of women and girls, who are unhappy with their bodies, and will once again strive to change their selves, to get leaner, even though they are healthy weight. For the better or the worse, this group includes me. Thankfully though, there is a strong and persistent movement, acting as a power against this. This is known as the body positivity movement, which encourages women of all sizes to love and embrace their body as they are, rather than worry about aiming to lose more weight, to get to a desired and ideal appearance, which is going to be exceedingly difficult, potentially unhealthy an even impossible for many to achieve. This is going to make more sense seeing how much the ideal standard keeps on changing; from the hourglass in the 1950s, the extremely thin frame in the 2000s, and the current hourglass, which is even harder to achieve, without extensive plastic surgery and gym membership! Therefore, anyone who holds a gram of common sense and who possesses minuscule respect for women, would agree that it is surely better that women are instead encouraged to love and embrace their bodies, regardless of their body type. Yet, as much as we all think that beauty standards are not only wrong, but harmful, we often fail to acknowledge the flaws of the body positivity movement, which is resultantly hindering its progress. 

What is Body Positivity? 

Body positivity relates to a movement which has encouraged people of all sizes to look at their body in a positive light, despite the way the media has influenced us into believing that a particular type of body is the ideal. It dates back as far as the 1960s, and “grew in tandem with women’s liberation and Black Civil Rights in the United States.” It focused on embracing larger women’s bodies, especially those belonging to women of colour. However, as this movement evolved, it has focused more on promoting bodies of all sizes, including skinny bodies, bodies that have cellulite and disabled bodies. Although, there has also been concern that it has become too focused on slim, white bodies, closer to the “ideal”, in recent years. 

Why we Need the Body Positivity Movement 

Before we debunk the body positivity movement, we do need to note why this is so important. Because while it certainly has flaws, it has been particularly important in helping people of different body types feel more comfortable within their bodies. For a start, it is often assumed that larger people are “lazy” because of their size, while discrimination against those people is rife. For example, it is true that a “fat” person would be less likely to be selected for a job compared to their thinner counterparts, even possessing the same skills and qualifications. Furthermore, it is very often the case that when people who may be overweight according to BMI go to the doctor, they are often only advised to lose weight, rather than have their condition investigated, which may not be at all related to their size. An example of this would be the experiences of positivity influencer and “Youtuber FatGirlFlow”, who while experiencing a history of eating disorders, was “continually” told by doctors to “lose weight.” Nonetheless the advice they were giving her was not only unhelpful, but was incredibly dangerous, as her strive to “be healthy, nearly killed her.” This shows that weight most certainly does not equate to health, however there still lies a significant prejudice that larger people are not only lazy, unmotivated etc, but are also “unhealthy”, when this is most certainly not always going to be the case. 

Where some think the Body Positivity Movement is going Wrong 

In recent years, influencers with smaller bodies have captured a substantial amount of the body positivity movement. For instance, while Gabi Gregg, known for the “fatkini” has around 876K Instagram followers, Daene Mercer, another body positivity influencer who has a very thin physique has 2.4 million followers. It is understandable as to why some may feel neglected by the turning that the movement has taken, seeing it ending up being about white women, with bodies close to the ideal, posting photos representing the difference between when they are sucking their stomachs in and when they are not. 

“But hang on a minute, it’s Unhealthy!” 

If anything, I hope the last paragraph has shown you that size does not always equate to health. Yet, it is also true that obesity can lead to a huge array of health complexities. This has led to some people to believe that fat shaming is acceptable including Maher, who contested that if people could be shamed out of smoking, then perhaps fat shaming “would make people rethink their lifestyle habits.” Nonetheless, while it is important to point out that obesity is an important health issue, it is unfair and incorrect to presume that someone has an unhealthy lifestyle just because of their size, just like it would be inaccurate to assume that one leads a healthy lifestyle just because they are slim. 

So, what Happens when the Fat Girl does become Skinny? 

“Let’s make something clear, having a goal for intentional fat loss is not body positive” 

Everyday Feminism

 

How beautiful does this sound? All of us should love our bodies, and be perfectly happy in our bodies, regardless of what they look like. But there is a catch. Because what happens when someone like Adele chooses to lose weight? I do not know her exact intentions, but perhaps she did it for her health, because she wanted to feel more comfortable, or she was fed up with the amount of grief that the media gave her beforehand. Even though it was equally beautiful before. Plus, I will not even go into why the media would want to obsess over her body, considering the huge talent she possesses. In my view, it is most likely that her motives were a combination of all three. Therefore, if she was intending to lose fat, then she had to make these healthier choices so these two go hand in hand. Nonetheless, regardless of her intentions, with regards to the media it backfired, with some fans even commenting that they had felt “betrayed” because of her weight loss. Yet, regardless of what your body looks like, surely if she is happier now because of her hopefully healthier lifestyle choices, then we ought to be happy for her? And even if she chose to make this move to change her appearance, no one should ridicule her, considering the extensive pressure she was under. This way, while she may have “given in” to the pressures of beauty standards, considering the difficulty associated with not doing so in the position she is in, no one should shame her for making the decision to lose weight. 

Toxic Body Positivity 

One could choose to look at the body positivity movement, and then think brilliant! Regardless of what weight anyone is at, we ought to, or even need to love our bodies. But surely something must be wrong when people become upset when a public figure chooses to lose a substantial amount of weight? This is because while one can interpret the body positivity movement as a way for them to embrace their bodies regardless, if they are left being felt betrayed at another women’s weight loss, then perhaps it suggests that these people are not as happy within their own bodies as they may think. And while I believe a large motivator for many women losing weight, is unfortunately due to wanting to be viewed in a better light and to be nearer the ideal, another strong motivator is health. And if one knows that their lifestyle is not as healthy as the ideal, then it is likely that they are not going to be as happy with their bodies as otherwise. Therefore, perhaps if the body positivity movement did choose to take a stronger focus on health, overall, it would enable more to feel comfortable in their bodies, due to being encouraged to lead a healthier lifestyle, leading to a healthier body. Regardless of what the body looks like. 

Conclusion 

Happy new year, and welcome to 2022. The time of year again where gyms, gym wear companies and, come on let us just bite the bullet here, really anything relating to diet culture, can look forward to making money off people. This includes those who long to start fresh this year, embarking on a journey of health and wellness. Among this group, a substantial number consist of women and girls, who are unhappy with their bodies, and will once again strive to change their selves, to get leaner, even though they are healthy weight. For the better or the worse, this group includes me. Thankfully though, there is a strong and persistent movement, acting as a power against this. This is known as the body positivity movement, which encourages women of all sizes to love and embrace their body as they are, rather than worry about aiming to lose more weight, to get to a desired and ideal appearance, which is going to be exceedingly difficult, potentially unhealthy an even impossible for many to achieve. This is going to make more sense seeing how much the ideal standard keeps on changing; from the hourglass in the 1950s, the extremely thin frame in the 2000s, and the current hourglass, which is even harder to achieve, without extensive plastic surgery and gym membership! Therefore, anyone who holds a gram of common sense and who possesses minuscule respect for women, would agree that it is surely better that women are instead encouraged to love and embrace their bodies, regardless of their body type. Yet, as much as we all think that beauty standards are not only wrong, but harmful, we often fail to acknowledge the flaws of the body positivity movement, which is resultantly hindering its progress. 

What is Body Positivity? 

Body positivity relates to a movement which has encouraged people of all sizes to look at their body in a positive light, despite the way the media has influenced us into believing that a particular type of body is the ideal. It dates back as far as the 1960s, and “grew in tandem with women’s liberation and Black Civil Rights in the United States.” It focused on embracing larger women’s bodies, especially those belonging to women of colour. However, as this movement evolved, it has focused more on promoting bodies of all sizes, including skinny bodies, bodies that have cellulite and disabled bodies. Although, there has also been concern that it has become too focused on slim, white bodies, closer to the “ideal”, in recent years. 

Why we Need the Body Positivity Movement 

Before we debunk the body positivity movement, we do need to note why this is so important. Because while it certainly has flaws, it has been particularly important in helping people of different body types feel more comfortable within their bodies. For a start, it is often assumed that larger people are “lazy” because of their size, while discrimination against those people is rife. For example, it is true that a “fat” person would be less likely to be selected for a job compared to their thinner counterparts, even possessing the same skills and qualifications. Furthermore, it is very often the case that when people who may be overweight according to BMI go to the doctor, they are often only advised to lose weight, rather than have their condition investigated, which may not be at all related to their size. An example of this would be the experiences of positivity influencer and “Youtuber FatGirlFlow”, who while experiencing a history of eating disorders, was “continually” told by doctors to “lose weight.” Nonetheless the advice they were giving her was not only unhelpful, but was incredibly dangerous, as her strive to “be healthy, nearly killed her.” This shows that weight most certainly does not equate to health, however there still lies a significant prejudice that larger people are not only lazy, unmotivated etc, but are also “unhealthy”, when this is most certainly not always going to be the case. 

Where some think the Body Positivity Movement is going Wrong 

In recent years, influencers with smaller bodies have captured a substantial amount of the body positivity movement. For instance, while Gabi Gregg, known for the “fatkini” has around 876K Instagram followers, Daene Mercer, another body positivity influencer who has a very thin physique has 2.4 million followers. It is understandable as to why some may feel neglected by the turning that the movement has taken, seeing it ending up being about white women, with bodies close to the ideal, posting photos representing the difference between when they are sucking their stomachs in and when they are not. 

“But hang on a minute, it’s Unhealthy!” 

If anything, I hope the last paragraph has shown you that size does not always equate to health. Yet, it is also true that obesity can lead to a huge array of health complexities. This has led to some people to believe that fat shaming is acceptable including Maher, who contested that if people could be shamed out of smoking, then perhaps fat shaming “would make people rethink their lifestyle habits.” Nonetheless, while it is important to point out that obesity is an important health issue, it is unfair and incorrect to presume that someone has an unhealthy lifestyle just because of their size, just like it would be inaccurate to assume that one leads a healthy lifestyle just because they are slim. 

So, what Happens when the Fat Girl does become Skinny? 

“Let’s make something clear, having a goal for intentional fat loss is not body positive” 

Everyday Feminism 

How beautiful does this sound? All of us should love our bodies, and be perfectly happy in our bodies, regardless of what they look like. But there is a catch. Because what happens when someone like Adele chooses to lose weight? I do not know her exact intentions, but perhaps she did it for her health, because she wanted to feel more comfortable, or she was fed up with the amount of grief that the media gave her beforehand. Even though it was equally beautiful before. Plus, I will not even go into why the media would want to obsess over her body, considering the huge talent she possesses. In my view, it is most likely that her motives were a combination of all three. Therefore, if she was intending to lose fat, then she had to make these healthier choices so these two go hand in hand. Nonetheless, regardless of her intentions, with regards to the media it backfired, with some fans even commenting that they had felt “betrayed” because of her weight loss. Yet, regardless of what your body looks like, surely if she is happier now because of her hopefully healthier lifestyle choices, then we ought to be happy for her? And even if she chose to make this move to change her appearance, no one should ridicule her, considering the extensive pressure she was under. This way, while she may have “given in” to the pressures of beauty standards, considering the difficulty associated with not doing so in the position she is in, no one should shame her for making the decision to lose weight. 

Toxic Body Positivity 

One could choose to look at the body positivity movement, and then think brilliant! Regardless of what weight anyone is at, we ought to, or even need to love our bodies. But surely something must be wrong when people become upset when a public figure chooses to lose a substantial amount of weight? This is because while one can interpret the body positivity movement as a way for them to embrace their bodies regardless, if they are left being felt betrayed at another women’s weight loss, then perhaps it suggests that these people are not as happy within their own bodies as they may think. And while I believe a large motivator for many women losing weight, is unfortunately due to wanting to be viewed in a better light and to be nearer the ideal, another strong motivator is health. And if one knows that their lifestyle is not as healthy as the ideal, then it is likely that they are not going to be as happy with their bodies as otherwise. Therefore, perhaps if the body positivity movement did choose to take a stronger focus on health, overall, it would enable more to feel comfortable in their bodies, due to being encouraged to lead a healthier lifestyle, leading to a healthier body. Regardless of what the body looks like. 

Conclusion 

Coming from the point of view of a young, white women in an “average sized” body, which while not matching up to the ideal, is accepted and not discriminated against in society, one may wonder how I could be in the position to criticise the body positivity movement. However, I hope that some would agree that the body positivity movement should focus on encouraging people to show their bodies more love, rather than show that they love them. In practice, this would look like the movement encouraging people to make healthy choices that will benefit their bodies, rather than plainly stating that we should all love our bodies full stop. Moreover, to progress, the body positivity movement needs to become more inclusive, including more people of colour, different genders and still an expansive range of body shapes. Regardless of whether they are big or small. This said, while it is important for us to look after our bodies, the movement should also address the difficulties arising from living a healthy lifestyle, which is unsurprising considering the hectic, stressful, and expensive world that we are living in. Finally, I will add that regardless of how “healthy” anyone’s lifestyle is currently, and regardless of their appearance, they should not burden themselves with shame because of this, because being “healthy” is not as easy as many tend to make out. And, while one’s body is not as toned etc as what one may like it to be, the body positivity movement should still encourage them to dress as they like, and show off as much of their bodies as they choose, rather than covering it up in shame. 

Coming from the point of view of a young, white women in an “average sized” body, which while not matching up to the ideal, is accepted and not discriminated against in society, one may wonder how I could be in the position to criticise the body positivity movement. However, I hope that some would agree that the body positivity movement should focus on encouraging people to show their bodies more love, rather than show that they love them. In practice, this would look like the movement encouraging people to make healthy choices that will benefit their bodies, rather than plainly stating that we should all love our bodies full stop. Moreover, to progress, the body positivity movement needs to become more inclusive, including more people of colour, different genders and still an expansive range of body shapes. Regardless of whether they are big or small. This said, while it is important for us to look after our bodies, the movement should also address the difficulties arising from living a healthy lifestyle, which is unsurprising considering the hectic, stressful, and expensive world that we are living in. Finally, I will add that regardless of how “healthy” anyone’s lifestyle is currently, and regardless of their appearance, they should not burden themselves with shame because of this, because being “healthy” is not as easy as many tend to make out. And, while one’s body is not as toned etc as what one may like it to be, the body positivity movement should still encourage them to dress as they like, and show off as much of their bodies as they choose, rather than covering it up in shame. 

https://www.self.com/story/skinny-shaming-is-not-the-same-as-fat-phobia

HAS THE BODY POSITIVITY MOVEMENT FORGOTTEN ITS ROOTS?

Why Body Positivity Feels a Bridge Too Far

Why Body Positivity Feels a Bridge Too Far

https://scan.lancastersu.co.uk/2018/11/16/has-body-positivity-gone-too-far/ 

https://greatist.com/live/body-positivity-movement-too-far#11

Published by Personally_Political

Hello! This is a mainly a blog containing posts concerning social, political and economic issues, although the commentary is mainly based on opinion. My name is Victoria, and I am the creator and currently the only contributor to this blog, and I am 19 years old and studying PPE at Swansea. Also, I am currently looking for writers for here, content creators on Instagram and designers. However the role would be very flexible according to what you would like to do. Therefore, if you or anyone you know would be interested in getting involved, then please don't hesitate to contact me at vickyyrose.02@gmail.com

7 thoughts on “The Toxic Side to the Body Positivity Movement that no one wants to Discuss

  1. Body positivity ceases to truly be body positivity when it’s used as a reason not to accept changes in people’s bodies.

    WP currently has a bug where it will sometimes paste text twice instead of once, and it looks like it’s done that with your post.

    Like

  2. 💜 As an African (Racist I Know) The Plus Size is More Attractive 👌🏾 than The Spare Size; yet a Skinny Girl 👧 is as much of an Attractive Girl as The Fatty, Fatty, Fat, Fat Girl 👧 We Boys Don’t Make Much Sense…yet SHE!!! is Pregnant 👩 and Changes Size; 🙏 🎶 😳 🤔 and a Loyal Husband Sticks by HER!!!

    ..💛💚💙…

    Like

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