We are tired of hearing about Body Positivity. After all, who can be against something that is part of us such as body shape? The fact is that the idea of Body Positivity is now embraced by many companies and groups of thin, straight, cisgender, able and white people who think they are solving their personal struggles over the body by putting their self-esteem first, but who are denying the basic pillars of Body Positivity.
The message we (sometimes) forget about Body Positivity
In fact, Body Positivity doesn’t simply mean feeling good or wanting to feel good in your body shape. Although these are absolutely positive concepts, especially for anyone who ever struggled with their self-esteem, Body Positivity starts from the acceptance of being fat. Because the experiences of fat people have always differed from those of “normal” human beings and therefore deserve their space for discussion.
But Body Positivity is a movement that also supports POC 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 a certain way to be considered, but those who believe that it’s not a personal ethic to decide how a person is even if a white or thin or heterosexual or able person is not agree with that.
Obviously I can’t 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 can arrive at a concrete result. This doesn’t really help anyone, it doesn’t help to create relationships with others or thoughts. 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 don’t agree on what this means for us.
Why do society misread the body shape?
For example, the logic of a fat person is about 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 he is treating a fat person. And it puts 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 they expect that a fat person will receive the social stigma, but they also have to internalize it and understand that it is a natural consequence of their body.
These people tend to minimize 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 damage, minimize it or justify it. Instead of doing this, let’s 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.