I was going to tweet about this, but realised it would be far too long to fit into even a series of tweets.
In a massive misrepresentation of what the body positive movement is about I got sent this tweet.
The discussion this was based off was about the use of before/after weight loss photos and promotion of diet culture.
A lot of us were arguing that it is harmful to treat weight loss as some ultimate goal that all women should aim for, or using fat bodies as negative motivation. Which it is.
It’s a major contributor to eating disorders, this constant elevation of a thin body over a fat body. People who do not conform to this idealised thin body are constantly taught that weight loss is integral to their enjoyment of life. In this post I explored the imagery of diet books, and what message they project.
So the initial part of the tweet utterly misrepresents the conversation, it wasn’t about “thin people being happy with their body”, it was about not using fat peoples bodies as a guide on what to avoid.
As to the second part, I think she’s misunderstood what body positivity is about.
Obviously the body positive movement is about people not being shamed for their body, it’s about how everyone should be able to love their body without constantly being told otherwise, it’s about acknowledging that someone’s worth is not in any way reliant on them fitting a narrow definition or beauty, it’s about saying that we all deserve to be treated as people in our own right without that treatment varying depending on our body type.
There is no rule that in order to be body positive you have to already love your body.
It is a journey, and no one is going to tell you it’s as simple as waking up, shrugging off societal expectations, erasing your internalised body negativity, and being all “Woohoo I love me as I am!!”
That’s be great, but it’s not the case.
The idea of body positivity is that we should love ourselves as we are. That we shouldn’t put off loving ourselves until we’ve reached an arbitrary number on a scale.
Some people are already there, though I imagine the vast majority of us are somewhere in the middle.
It’s not easy to ignore all the messages out there, and, as society hasn’t yet caught up to the idea of every body being worthy of love and respect, there are new messages being added daily.
Being unhappy with my body doesn’t invalidate my body positivity, if anything it reinforces it, I’m am learning to love it. It’s why I recognise how essential body positive messages are, because it impacts on my daily life. It’s why I recognise how harmful diet culture is, because it causes direct harm to me and my personal journey.
I’ve never made out I’m 100% happy with my body (for gods sake, I’m a spoonie, me and my body are constantly fighting), all I’ve ever said is that I deserve to be.
I deserve it.
Everyone deserves to be happy with their body.
And no one deserves to shamed for the body they are in.