Unpopular Opinion: #BodyPositive is Not for Everyone
I’ll be honest and say that this post was not scheduled, and it was inspired by an unfortunate slew of tweets I read about the #bodypositive hashtag and overall movement that is taking off on Instagram. Clearly, I’m a major supporter of the movement, and my upcoming book will share my journey with how I learned to love my own body as well as teach others to love their own.
First, I want to say that the body positive movement is SO MUCH BIGGER THAN INSTAGRAM. Initially, this movement was created to support people with marginalized bodies such as fat, queer, trans, bodies of color, disabled bodies, and so on. The movement was started by and for those who don’t have the standard beauty ideals or body privilege. You can read more about breaking down this movement and how it originated in one of my previous posts found here.
My unpopular opinion is that this movement is NOT for everyone, but I do believe that anyone can support it and its very valuable message. This movement isn’t about having positive feelings towards your body, and it’s so much bigger than saying you love yourself. This movement isn’t for everyone, and it was created because society isn’t inclusive. It was created to include and celebrate the different bodies that are typically shamed.
Here’s My Beef
I was on Twitter, and I saw a big discussion that started with a fitness model. She was ranting that the body positive movement is for everyone, and the “fatties”-as she said, are just angry that people who are “in shape” are proud of their bodies. Then, she went on to say that it’s not fair that the plus-size population is allowed to be exclusive with this movement, because they feel that society’s standards are unfair. She ended her rant by saying everyone can be body positive and she will continue to use the hashtag on her gym selfies while she’s pursuing her goal weight.
The comments mostly agreed with her, and some even went as far as to say this movement body shames the standard and straight size people on Instagram. My face was so red from anger reading the hateful comments, and no, I will not screen shot anything or add my own comments. I want to share this post rather than stoop to their level where I will just be called names and most likely body shamed as well.
I have zero issues with people who want to support the body positive movement. Hell, half of what I do is about supporting marginalized bodies. I’ve even admitted in posts that I don’t always feel like I can even include myself, because I have an invisible disability. And while I am considered “mid-size” or “plus-size,” there is a spectrum of marginalized bodies, and I fall on the less criticized part of that. Honestly, the fact that bodies even have a spectrum or labels makes me nauseous, but that is society.
I do have an issue today. I hate having tough body image days, and searching the #bodypositive section of Instagram is starting to just show fitness coaches and Instagram models who are the ideal body types. It’s skewing the message of the original movement. I’m so genuinely happy that they love their bodies, but this movement isn’t about all bodies loving themselves. It is for the non-idealistic body types. It’s meant to celebrate the marginalized bodies, but with everyone trying to hop on board, those marginalized bodies are being shoved back down again.
I know many people want to show that you can love your body regardless of size, shape, color, or disability. I just wish that those who aren’t considered marginalized wouldn’t take over something that is meant celebrate those who are different. If your body is considered ideal, I’m not trying to say you don’t deserve to love it. You just already have everyone else’s approval, so please support the movement without finding a way to make it something that it’s not.
All bodies are beautiful, but society doesn’t treat all bodies the same. I have done some of the same partially nude poses as some very beautiful and thin models on Instagram. Guess who’s pictures get reported? Mine. The fat girl gets reported. The girl showing that she loves her cellulite and stretch marks gets reported. The people who are the foundation of the actual body positive movement get reported, and those ideal bodies do not. It sends the worst message, and I can’t stay quiet about it anymore.
I don’t care if “people don’t want to see that,” because that is the main argument that I hear in defense of these actions. You know who wants to see it? Every little girl who has questioned her worth, because society told her she had to fit into a pretty little, stupid box to be beautiful. This movement is to lift marginalized bodies up, not shove them down beneath the bodies that are already loved and accepted.
There Can be Both
Both marginalized and non-marginalized bodies can exist AND celebrate their bodies. I hate that society has created this divide and war against body types. I believe all body shaming is wrong, and I’ve talked about how there are shameful phrases towards thin as well as plus-size bodies in a previous post. I’ve honestly lived through both types of body shaming with my eating disorder past, and all shaming is harmful.
I think everyone deserves to have a positive attitude when it comes to their bodies, but I do not believe that the body positive movement is meant for everyone. Loving your body is wonderful, and I commend everyone who feels that way towards themselves. Yes, all sizes matter, but this movement isn’t about all sizes. It’s about celebrating those who aren’t normally celebrated, and the marginalized bodies deserve this movement.
There are a ton of other hashtags to show your proud of your body. There are so many other ways to show that you love yourself so please support the movement, but don’t take credit away from those who are trying to celebrate their differences.