My two cents about Body Positivity

twocentsaboutbopy

For me the term “Body Positivity” has always been closely connected to the fat acceptance movement (if you want to read one thing about FA today, please read this). Lately it’s been used a lot in main stream media, there basically is no way around #BoPo, everybody is talking about in on Instagram, in woman magazines, in YouTube videos and so on – so why do I more and more feel excluded instead of happy about the wide spread of this term and movement?

Everybody has issues but not every body is oppressed

I mean I get it, everyone has body issues. It’s not just fat people, no matter what gender you identify with, how old you are or how much you fall in or out of the beauty norm, we all are brought up with a certain level of self hate for our bodies and our looks. But no matter how much you hate your body, or just a certain part of it, that does not in any way dismiss the fact that some bodies inhabit a lot more privilege than others. What brings us to a very sensitive point and question: Is body positivity for everyone? I would say yes, but…

Yes of course body positivity applies to everyone, yes every single person on this planet has the right to love their body, to feel good in their body, to think of them as attractive or beautiful, but some voices need to be heard a lot louder than others. A thin, white cis woman, who is generally looked at as beautiful, attractive, healthy and happy just because she is white and thin and maybe even athletic, can have just as many issues and negative thoughts about herself than everyone else, maybe even more, but that doesn’t make her the person who has to have the loudest voice in the movement. And unfortunately the people who are met with the least amount of discrimination and refusal from society are the ones who make quite a lot of money with #BoPo campaigns, videos, instagram accounts and so on.

Positivity vs. Positivity

Furthermore I think there is a wildly wrong understanding of the word positivity in body positivity. For many people it is read or understood as “I am doing things that have a positive effect on my body therefore I must be body positive”, which isn’t wrong but does not cover the original idea of body positivity. To me the core of body positivity is to stop negative thinking and judgmental thoughts about not only mine but everyone else’s body. To stop making assumptions about other people and their body, to stop making myself feel better or worse by trying to compare my body to other bodies. It is about a mind set and not about actions. Of course does a change of mind set in the end effect my actions, but narrowing the whole movement down to #treatyourself and how healthy you are and how all of this has a positive effect on your body is simply wrong and does not resonate with what body positivity should be about.

Of course I am not the first person to rant about this, and there was a post on Bustle that kind of triggered my thoughts. And this quote does kind of sum it up really well for me

“It comes down to this: While a practice might feel empowering to an individual (which is great), its origins and grander role in a culture might not be empowering at a core level (which is not so great).”

Yes things, actions, thoughts can have a great affect on your personal attitude towards your body, they can empower you, they can help you to feel better, more healthy, more balanced and generally more positive, but that doesn’t mean that they count as body positive in it’s original understanding deeply connected to the fat acceptance movement. To be honest, most uses of body positivity go against what fat acceptance stand for, as it quickly provokes that thought that a fat personal can’t be body positive because being fat is not looked at as healthy or positive.  If you want to read more about what others fat acceptance influencers have to say about this Bustle has another really good article for you.

 

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2 comments so far.

2 responses to “My two cents about Body Positivity”

  1. lisa says:

    I totally understand the idea of not wanting the whole body positivity movement to be boiled down to some white-medium-sized women in privileged country, because I just can’t stand the idea of selling “inclusive” ideas by using very “exclusive” standards (like hourglass figure, white skin, able bodies etc.) and I really support the idea of having the most variety in the people representing this movement because it should represent ALL the people. As a white cis woman with a medium sized body in a wealthy country I do see the problem with underrepresentation in media of those women – but I sometimes feel guilty when I speak about being “body positive” because I am not fat enough or not “different” enough and because I am priviledged on so many levels, But the movement actually helped me so, so much with my struggle with an eating disorder and self hatred. And I think everybody should thrive from that movement in the same way, everybody should feel included without feeling a hierarchy of any kind within that movement. I totally support the idea that fatshaming should be just as publicly discussed and condemned on the same level as racist abuse or shaming other sexualities etc. – but I believe that when we all stand together against it, there should be no hierarchy, no louder voices and we can fight those things if we stand in one row next to each other. I think all bodies are amazing and any kind of hostility against a human being should be condemned, but I think something like this movement should be equal to everybody. (again, I don’t mean strange advertisements that are trying to catch up on “plus size” trends by using the same rigid standards they are used to for a century now…)

    Oh. And the whole idea of “I am body positive because I drink green juice and it makes me glow” is bollocks. I “glow” when I drink green juices, but i will glow even more when you offer me a doughnut, sooo… drink your green juice if you want to, but don’t judge others when they rather stay in bed and eat a whole chocolate bar because why not.

    So… that was a long comment, but something that’s been on my mind quite a lot lately… 😉

    • I do think the same, about how the best outcome will be achieved by everyone pulling on the same string together, unfortuneltely (and you know that this wasn’t against ever white, medium sized, cis woman) when the people who suffer the most don’t get the attention or plattform they need, they fall out of the picture at some point.

      Genereally I wholeheartly belive that everyone your profit from body positivity, and that everyone can live body positive, but like you said, it’s a lot about everyone having eqal changes and being equally treated, and at the moment unfortunelty a lot of people aren’t equality treated by it, like when people say I can’t be body positive because I am fat and that means I must be unhealthy…

      And yep, that’s it, do what you want for yourself, but stop judging others for their choices and stop judging their bodies! 🙂

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