The Body Positivity Movement aims to help people accept and celebrate their bodies regardless of shape, size, skin colour, ability, or gender. Its focus is on how one feels in their body.
Since body dissatisfaction is an acquired resentment rather than an inherent one, the goal of Body Positivity is to learn how to accept and appreciate the body we have.
Unfortunately, we live in An Obesogenic Environment …
We, modern humans, face a unique challenge; we’re bombarded by clever advertising pushing 24-hour food consumption while simultaneously being marketed with endless weight-loss techniques that promise we can measure up to the impossible standards of fitness models. It’s little wonder we’re caught in the quandary of resenting both food and our bodies … the very things that give us life.
Twenty-five years ago, today’s overweight adults were children being sold a diet of highly engineered foods that were deliberately stripped of protein, fibre, vitamins, and nutrients and replaced with fat, sugar, salt, and flavour enhancers, all in the name of low cost, high profit, and maximum consumption. And it worked! Obesity is a global phenomenon.
In 25 years, today’s children will have acquired adult lifestyle diseases (fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, sugar addictions).
Does Body Positivity Mean Loving Your Body Unconditionally?
It should, but the meaning of “love” has been misinterpreted somewhere along the way. We can stand in front of a mirror and shout incantations like, “I’m beautiful, and I love myself,” but deep down, we know it’s totally dishonest because claiming to love your body while treating it like crap is nothing other than whistling past the graveyard.
Ultimately genuine Body Positivity isn’t about celebrating one’s body (whatever that means); it’s about accepting, valuing, and appreciating the body we have. We were born with certain traits (eye colour, hair colour, body type, etc.) over which we have no control. Learning to accept that is foundational to enjoying life. If accepting and appreciating our bodies sounds challenging, what’s the alternative? Self-loathing? Hatred? Resentment?
Does the Body Positivity Movement Endorse Obesity?
Body Positivity is a good thing. How couldn’t it be? Its critics, however, suggest that the Movement is unwittingly endorsing a self-destructive lifestyle instead of promoting body positivity. Specifically, it’s accused of preaching “confidence” over “health,” suggesting that loving your body is all that matters while looking after it is optional.
Naturally, self-love is an admirable goal but let’s be clear; it’s hard to love your body and your life if you’re struggling with overweight, obesity, and chronic illness. Being unable to walk, run, or climb stairs is not quality of life. If health isn’t our priority, heart damage, clogged arteries, arthritis, and shortness of breath are inevitable if they haven’t already begun.
True self-love and body positivity are about nurturing your body, feeding it, exercising it, and ensuring health is a priority.
If Body Positivity and Fat Acceptance are in any way about showing other people that we ‘don’t care what they think about our roles and curves, that’s fine, our self-worth shouldn’t come from the opinions of others, but true bodily acceptance makes health priority number one (and you can be healthy despite having rolls and curves), because if it isn’t, then what are we advocating? What are we saying to ourselves and to the people in our life?
Weight Does Not Dictate Health or Beauty; However, being Unhealthy is NOT Beautiful
I’m all for public awareness and campaigning for equality of rights. Still, if we rely on public opinion to feel better about ourselves, we’re in for a lifetime of disappointment. Self-love, self-respect, and body positivity can only come from within.
Think of all the people you know, personally or otherwise. Do you rank the people you like, admire, and enjoy being with most by their physical attractiveness? Highly unlikely. The people you like best have character qualities; they’re fun, confident, caring, and inevitably they enjoy life. Those are the qualities of attraction. People who are “conventionally attractive” but who obsess over their looks are tiresome to be around.
As for Body Positivity, the theory’s great. We need to love the body we’re in, which means prioritizing health. Pretending to love yourself and your body while treating it like crap creates a cognitive dissonance that will only exacerbate our discontent.
Your health is your only tether to life on this planet, which makes it your most valuable possession. Living a “good” long life isn’t about staying alive as long as possible (there’s no glory in being the oldest person in a long-term care facility); it’s about enjoying a lifetime of health and vitality, and you can do that without achieving a model’s physique because the fact is, there’s no such thing as a healthy weight, there’s only a healthy person.
Thanks for reading, I appreciate you being here.