We are all tired of hearing about Body Positivity. After all, who can be against something that is part of us like the body?
The fact is that the idea of Body Positivity is today embraced by many companies and by groups of people who think of solving their personal struggles on the body by putting their self-esteem first, but denying the basic pillars of the Body Positivity.
In fact, Body Positivity doesn’t simply mean feeling good or wanting to feel good in your physical form.
Although these are absolutely positive concepts, especially for anyone who has ever struggled with their self-esteem, Body Positivity starts from fat acceptance. Because the experiences of fat people have always differed from those of normal sized humans and therefore deserve their space for discussion.
What is not Body Positivity
But Body Positivity is a movement that also supports colored bodies, disabled bodies, trans bodies and the bodies of anyone who is oppressed because it doesn’t conform to the standards of being in this world. The goal is therefore to challenge not only the social messages that say that you have to be in a certain way to be considered, but those who believe that it’s not a personal ethics to decide how you are even if another person disagrees.
Obviously it’s not for me to say what Body Positivity really is. First of all because it’s not speaking in terms of “what is really and what is not” that we arrive at a concrete result. This doesn’t really help anyone, it doesn’t help to create relationships with others or food for thought. But what we can all do is learn to support the perspectives of people who seek well-being and balance in their individual lives and experiences, even if we do not agree on what this means for us.
The blame for hatred of fat people
For example, the logic that follows every fat person is diet or anything that helps to lose weight. People are always eager to say everything they are doing to avoid gaining weight. And although today information, facts and science show that these weight loss attempts can alter the functioning of the body and the metabolism by slowing it down even more, and leaving the person even fatter than before, it’s easy to come across those who still recommend to lose weight as a solution to all problems.
The most exasperating thing, however, is that anyone who speaks in this way feels excluded from any responsibility for how is treating a fat person. And it places the blame for hatred towards fat people on fat people themselves. Because in the end they are just saying you need to lose weight. That if you put a little willpower into it, you will succeed in the end. And so you no longer have to worry about how the world treats you.
It’s you who need to lose weight, not they who should treat people as human beings, equally worthy of respect. It’s not they who should not judge and who should not treat others with contempt. It’s you who must lose weight because, otherwise, you deserve all this a little too. So not only do they expect a fat person to take on the weight of the social stigma, but they must also internalize it and understand that it is a natural consequence of her body.
These people tend to downplay or reframe the experiences of fat people because the thought that they live such a different reality seems too alarming and therefore it becomes much easier to deny the harm, minimize it or justify it.
Conclusion: what to do
Instead of doing this, let us always ask ourselves if what we do or say can help or harm someone. Because we have our responsibility to others and changing these messages means changing minds not only individually, but just as a culture. And that’s probably the only thing I know for sure Body Positivity can do.