First and most importantly, the body positivity movement refers to a lot of different subjects of acceptance (skin colour, weight, sexuality, gender, etc), but I'm only going to be talking about the movement referring to weight and health. And to be fair I'm not going to question that people should be accepted and RESPECTED because of difference of race, religion and/or anything mentioned above, because they should. Period. Also, the fact that I'm questioning part of the significance of the movement doesn't mean it is okay to shame people for their weight, no one is less of a person because of how their body is shaped.

 

It's been a while since I've been wanting to write about the body positivity movement and never got round to it. So, what is exactly this movement? And most importantly, is it really all that beneficial? 

"The Body Positive Movement is a feminist movement that encourages women and/or female identifying people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well being."

 

Okay, that seems pretty straightforward. We've been ruled by impossibly skinny models from the 90s up until the late 2000s, when a wider range of bodies started to make their way into the media. Now, as people we should feel good with ourselves and our bodies, have a good relationship with them, not punish and put them through agony trying to fit an airbrushed magazine page image.

However, what I keep running into, is people defending unbelievably unhealthy habits and passing them off as self love. Now, this may be just an individual point of view, but I would like to know how is it possible that behaviours so harmful to the human body, such as binge eating or a completely sedentary lifestyle, can be passed off as self-love when they border on self harm? I'm sorry, but somebody, and average person with an average height, lifestyle and overall health, who gulps down 3000 calories a day on a sugar and carb based diet does not love themselves, otherwise they wouldn't be abusing their bodies like that.

I'm not arguing in favour of super restrictive diets or anything, but having take-out food four times a week isn't healthy. Tastes good, sure, but every deep fried bahji from that amazing indian place which you order religiously every friday is a cholesterol-filled bomb going straight to your heart.

The media, or at least social media, is paving the way for a bigger variety of bodies; many bloggers, models, celebrities, etc, advocate for this, which is a healthy step for society and self-acceptance. It shouldn't be news to anyone that "fat" doesn't necessarily translate into "unhealthy", just as "skinny" doesn't always mean "fit and healthy". These terms are defined by everything encompassed in an individual's lifestyle. However, within this positive message, some people decide that their choice of having an entire bucket of KFC fried chicken plus two slices of cheesecake is healthy and good and everything is perfect. Well, it's not. One thing is to love your body and treat it with respect and another completely different thing is to do whatever you want, disregarding your own body's wellbeing and claiming that it's totally acceptable because #bodypositivity.

 

What I'm trying to say, is that the message of acceptance and love of one self is not a green card to stuff your mouth with all kinds of junk food, lie on the sofa all day, and then go on a rant of how every body is beautiful. This is not a push to start skipping meals, it's a suggestion to, I don't know, go for a run or a walk a couple times a week or instead of deep frying your food, find a better way to cook. And stop eating so many refined carbs and sugar and switch them to vegetables. You know, actually take care of your body with good food and exercise every once in a while, which, by the way, only by doing that there are so many things that improve with your body (reduced stress, blood flow, cholesterol levels, more vitamins doing a better job on whatever they're designed to do...).

 

Honestly, beauty should no longer be the final objective of life, especially for women, but not aiming for the societal idea of perfection is not an excuse to not take real good care of yourself.

Published by Carolina De Lara