Media has caught onto the body positive community, but the issue with that is what they are using the term as a synonym for self-love. They’re using the term body positive to describe how you should love yourself exactly as you are. And whilst I agree that everyone should love themselves exactly as they are (cause damn, you’re the only one of you on this planet and that is pretty bloody fantastic), this is not what the body positivity movement is.
I am a thin, white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, able-bodied, middle-class woman, and I am privileged. That’s not to say that I haven’t got my own problems, and it doesn’t discredit the pain and struggles I have had and still have. It doesn’t make my problems any less valid, but I am privileged. Why? Because I am not a minority; I am not a marginalised body.
I can walk into a shop and easily find clothes that fit my body; I can walk down the street at night and not be seen as a threat because of my skin colour; I can sit on a bus without having a disability questioned; I can talk about my gender without it being ridiculed; I can have a relationship without it being mocked and scrutinised.
Because of this privilege, I am not the voice of body positivity – I am an advocate of it, and I stand with those for whom the movement is for.
Body positivity is a political movement made by and for marginalised voices – fat people, people of colour, disabled folk, trans individuals, non-binary peeps, people from the LGBTQIA+ community. These are people whose voices are muted, opinions are shut down, and they are marginalised like no other. This political movement is to give these people a voice; to put the spotlight on them; to normalise that community; to make them equal.
Many people get really offended when marginalised people call out individuals for using the body positive community for their own gain – usually, a thin white woman preaching about self-love and body love, whilst using the hashtag. They get offended because they see only their own struggles, rather than seeing that the community isn’t trying to diminish these struggles, but just bringing to their attention that their size/colour/ability, etc is not one of them. Marginalised folk have the added struggle of having to defend who they are in this world, on top of their own issues.
There’s this misconception that some individuals in the body positive community, mainly fat folk, is that they’re promoting unhealthy eating and obesity. But the movement has never been about health; it’s never been about promoting a certain body type or shape. The movement is simply about giving a voice to these marginalised bodies; about normalising all bodies; about tearing down diet culture and showing that beauty is not a body type. Someone may not be healthy, both physically and/or mentally, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that they deserve respect, are worthy of happiness and are entitled to living in this world without your judgement. Their health is none of your concern. Let people exist in the world unapologetically without having to justify their existence – it’s hard enough living in this world without having to defend you simply taking up space (PSA: you can take up as much space as you need to).
Let’s not even start on these online trolls that seem to think they can determine someone’s health based on a bloody photo and refuse to even contemplate reading up on Health At Every Size. *breatheeeee Zoe*
So I’m not at the forefront of this political movement, but I stand with these marginalised voices. I am an advocate for the BoPo community and I support the work they do. I want to use my platform to share their message because from a position of privilege, I am able to share their message without being quietened straight away.
Some of the photos I’ve posted in this article are of some incredible individuals – check them out on Instagram, give them a follow and diversify your feed, goodness knows we all need that.
Take care ladybugs x