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Body positivity does not ask for your opinion, or unsolicited advice. It doesn’t ask for you to decide if you think it’s something that is “good” or “bad”. It’s never asked you to change who you are, or what you do with your own body. It seems some people still haven’t got the memo, so I’m going to try to clear things up.
Body positivity is not about health, it’s about acknowledging that not all bodies are healthy and they are still worthy of respect. It’s about recognizing that health is subjective and not everyone’s looks the same. There is no “one size fits all” approach to taking care of your body, and there are many variables to consider when choosing what is most effective for maintaining that body. Body positivity is about placing less value, as a society, on the importance of an individual’s abilities, and celebrating what we learn from our differences. It’s about finding joy in the understanding and perspective that other’s may have because of those differences.
Body positivity encompasses the shared experiences of many people, including those who face oppressive beauty standards such as people of color, fat people, and people who are disabled. It is not a debate. It is a movement that seeks to counteract the oppression these people face (ie: work place discrimination, harassment, housing discrimination, etc) by making their voices heard and the issues they face recognized so that they can foster change. Body positivity is not about asking for a hand out (or up), it’s about asking people to set aside the values that have been placed on them by society about a person’s appearance, and asking that our worth be defined by who we are.
Body positivity is finding ways to communicate the vast human experiences that come with having a body. It’s about tearing down the walls that hold us all back from loving ourselves. It’s about examining the process in which we learned to speak unkindly to our bodies. It’s about progress, and creating an environment that empowers people to have bodily autonomy and the right to make their own choices. It’s about allowing individuals to analyze those choices in peace, without fear of judgement. It’s about changing our language so that we can be more inclusive and open to paths that are not our own.
You cannot deem body positivity “right” or “wrong”, because there is no room for it (haha, no not cause we’re all super fat!). It is utilized differently by each person. And that’s the point. It doesn’t ask for assimilation, it asks for inclusion. It’s not another diet fad that everyone can obsessively throw themselves into for a quick fix. It’s a lesson in getting to know your body, making peace with it, and following your journey wherever it may take you. So the next time you try to place judgement on whether or not you think this movement is “good” for people, please remember this:
Nobody asked you.
illustration by Rachel Cateyes