photos by: Daryna
I am going to stick my skinny spoon in this hot mess and tell y’all why ‘body positivity’ has failed. Oh yes, me, who has never been on a diet, or seen any need for it, I will take on this issue that doesn’t really have anything to do with me.
Why on Earth would I do that? Because I’ve been following the conversation around this issue for a long time, due to my high interest in human psychology and will to make every woman on this planet understand that they look BLOODY GOOD just as they are, and I feel there’s a point that many seem to have forgotten.
So, what is ‘body positivity’ and why ‘body positivity’ has failed? Let’s dive in!
What is ‘Body Positivity’?
The big phenomena throughout the 21st century has been developing and growing one’s self-confidence and self-awereness to battle some of the most destructive diseases of our time: mental illnesses and eating disorders. Body positivity is a sort of side branch of all of that.
Body positivity focuses on the fact that “all human beings should have a positive body image, while challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body.” – Wikipedia
Many tend to mix ‘body positivity’ with the fat acceptance movement, but body positivity differs from that by being an all-inclusive movement that applies to everyone: skinny, fat, different colour, transgender, disabled or judged unfairly for whatever reason for being in any way wonky (as we all are!)
How Is ‘Body Positivity’ Perceived?
To showcase why I think that body positivity has failed, I wanted to shed light on how many different ways there are to see the movement. So, I asked my fellow bloggers to provide answers to 2 simple questions:
1. What does body positivity mean to you?
2. How would you like to see ‘body positivity’ presented in public (media, social media, advertising, etc.)?
Here’s what my army of lovelies had to say on the subject:
1. To me, body positivity is loving your body completely, no matter what shape or size, you love your body and the body of those who could be entirely different to you in their body shape!
2. In public, I would like body positivity to be spoken about more, atm. I find body positivity is spoken about more from bigger girls rather than the “ideal” bodies that society wants. If those “ideal” bodies started praising those with different body shapes and speaking about it, I think it will whole-heartedly be a better topic over all.
1. To me body positivity is a tough one because I don’t think it’s as simple as just going “screw it, this is me”. At the moment I’m trying to improve my strength and fitness but that doesn’t mean I feel negatively about my body, but I am trying to change it. I think as long as you can see the positive in your body that’s what body positivity is, you focus on the good things even if you’re trying to change.
2. I’d love to see less pressure on people needing to be body positive now. People will always have hang ups and I think, while body positivity is a great thing, society putting too much pressure on people to be body positive could have the opposite effect. I think we just need to see more diversity everywhere from fashion campaigns to all marketing – that’s the beauty of social media, if you look for diversity it’s there!
1. Body positivity to me means loving and respecting yourself and your body regardless of its size or shape. You may want to lose weight, or tone your body, you may want it to be smaller and that’s all OK, but don’t hate your body in the process. Don’t put off your life based on what your body looks like i.e. “I will book the holiday to Spain when I loose weight“, or worst “I will not take my baby swimming, because I don’t like seeing myself in a swimming costume” 😭 Life is too short for this, lose weight if you want but love your body at every stage you are at, too many people put their life on hold thinking they can’t do X, Y, Z until they lose weight and this saddens me.
2. I would like to see diverse range of people on TV, advertising but also movie and theatre. I would like to see a movie with a fat girl in it without any referencing to her weight. When you see an overweight person in the movie it will always be in the context of them being loser, someone who can’t find love, someone who either eats obsessively or starves on diets only to fail and amuse the public. I would like to see movies where fat women are present and there isn’t any references to their bodies, because it doesn’t matter!
1. Body positivity is (meant to be) a positive movement that celebrates marginalized bodies – plus size bodies, disabled bodies, trans bodies, non-binary bodies. For me, body positivity is still about celebrating those bodies, as well as fighting to get them accepted as the “norm” in everyday society. It shouldn’t be radical for a fat person to wear a bikini, but it is. Body positivity is about making sure it’s part of everyday life, and not a big statement! For me, it’s definitely not about everyone feeling positive about their bodies – that’s body confidence! I don’t believe that body positivity, the movement, is for everyone.
2. I would like to see it being presented correctly and accurately. The movement was founded by fat black women and fat Jewish women, and it’s been white washed and co-opted by slim, able bodied people. The recent Simply Be campaign is a perfect example of that. When discussing body positivity, I would like it to be presented by people who are actually part of the movement – marginalized bodies!!!
1. For me body positivity is feeling good and loving your body no matter what you look like. It’s actually more than a movement. For me it’s about inclusion. I want everyone to feel good about themselves and live the life to the fullest no matter what they see in the mirror because what they see is just who they are meant to be, just perfect!
2. I literally want a spectre of all sizes, colours, heights and of course disability to be shown. I want a normal everyday woman to look at the ad for something she wants to buy and not having second thoughts about whether or not she should buy it based on a way a model looks. I want to see double chins, bellies sticking out, sausage fingers, bigger calves, bigger upper arms, scars, small boobs or no boobs so basically real everyday bodies to be represented. And I want that to be promoted as normal. As long as you feel good about the way you look, it is normal. And you are enough.
1. I think body positivity should be a phrase anyone can use. I see body confidence and body positivity as two different things. And I don’t think your size should define which phrase is acceptable to use. Especially when one phrase is defined as having a lesser and completely different meaning than the other. And no one knows the struggles another person has with their body. We live in a world where things have become much more accepting, which is brilliant! But to define how people should feel about their bodies, is wrong. And a huge step backwards.
2. I think body positivity should be actively spoken about in the media and social media. We should be doing all we can to lift others up and make them feel good about themselves. It’s so important! We don’t have control over the media, but we have greater control over social media. So let’s do our best to make it a positive and accepting safe place for as many people as possible.
Why ‘Body Positivity’ Has Failed?
As we can see, there are as many opinions as there are people. But the main message from everybody is that body positivity is about feeling good in your own skin.
But the whole point of the movement seems to have been forgotten in many places, and for some reason (basic human nature?) this has resulted in a lot of completely unnecessary bullying.
Perhaps due to the mix-up with the fat acceptance movement, I often see a lot of misplaced blaming and even insulting comments being thrown at people who open up about their body positivity issues. As an excuse for this I regularly see the phrase: “Most people talking about body positivity aren’t even fat!”
Yyyeah… so what? Maybe they’re not transgender either. Or disabled. If there are not that many morbidly fat (is that what you lookin’ for?) people posting photos on social media with #bodypositivity, it doesn’t mean that everyone else shouldn’t be posting their photos.
You can’t tell fat people to post more bikini photos if they don’t want to, just as you can’t go telling skinny people they can’t have body positivity issues to tackle with. It’s all up to those people themselves, not you. The only job you have, is to be supportive. Of everyone!
There’s an ultimate fact that applies to every single person’s life: NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO TELL YOU HOW TO FEEL ABOUT YOUR OWN BODY!
That decision rests with only one person on this planet and that is each and every single one of ourselves. No. Body. ELSE! Remember that, por favor. Especially those who see it as their place to go and advice other people on how they are or aren’t entitled to feel insecure about themselves.
My Message To Y’All
I’m skinny as fuk, and have had only minor self-confidence issues throughout my life. But don’t any of you dare come and tell me that I don’t have the right to have those days when I look into the mirror and feel revolted! Don’t you dare tell me how I’m supposed to feel or not feel about myself!
The main reason why I think ‘body positivity’ has failed is the amount of unnecessary judging it has created. The movement itself is nothing short of beautiful and necessary, but there are too many misconceptions about it. And when people think that their opinion is the only opinion, Houston, we have a fukin’ big problem.
Like in so many regards in life, also with body positivity we all need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves “Am I open-minded? Do I respect other people enough to allow them to celebrate their bodies the way they see fit?”
I always encourage discussion and debating because that’s how we learn new perspectives and (hopefully) question our own opinions and review whether there’s another way to see things. That doesn’t mean that we all need to agree in the end.
But the point where debating becomes bullying is when you completely ignore the person you’re debating with and get personal. If you can’t phrase your opinion in a respectful way, then do shut up for good. No matter how passionate you feel about an issue, the least you can do is be nice.
Due to all the bullying a lot of people don’t dare to come forward with their issues. They watch people being called out and ridiculed left, right and center, so why on Earth would they want to put themselves in that situation?? Of course they won’t.
So, as long as we’re unable to live and let live, body positivity has failed. None of us is above the next person, none of our opinions are above somebody else’s.
Now, let’s discuss! What do you think, am I completely off the track? Which one is it: body positivity has failed, or body positivity is winning? I’d love to hear all of your opinions (yes, ALL of them) on this!
But do check yourselves before you wreck yourselves, and make no mistake, I do not have patience with any sort of bullying, impolite bullshit, or needless judging. But if you’re good, then ready, set, GO ↓
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