Issues with the way that body positivity has been handled in our country has been a weight on my mind for many years. While both men and women experience the burden of accepting the body given to us, the conversation has mostly been geared around women. In the new year I am personally working on becoming more body positive and bettering myself. Therefore, my next few posts will be a survey of inconsistencies that I see in our society in regards to different body types, as well as what body positivity is to me.
Body positivity has been a hot topic for a few years now. To lay the ground work, I wanted to establish the main problem that I see with the body positivity movement.
Body positivity is not an excuse for unhealthy behavior.
Now, many people will assume that I am only referencing people who are overweight. Wrong. I am talking about everyone, including myself. There are a few different situations in which by promoting body positivity we could be promoting unhealthy life choices.
- Someone who has an eating disorder and is underweight
- Someone who struggles with self-control and past trauma who is therefore overweight
- Someone who only feels worthy when they are extremely physically fit and are therefore married to the gym
- Men who loathe their own body and go to extreme measures to uphold a “masculine” look because of societal pressure
- Women who claim to only desire cosmetic surgery for their own reasons when in fact there are deep set insecurities.
All of these situations can be present behind the people we are claiming should be body positive.
Should They Be Body Positive?
Here is my issue with body positivity. I believe that it can be a beautiful thing. I have friends who have a body that is not “desirable” because of medication that they need to take in order to save their lives. Mother’s have a little bit more cushion on their edges because they have brought children into the world. Men feel the strain of working a job and taking care of children and can lose some of their muscle mass. People have a myriad of health issues that can change their body in drastic ways. But, the difference is this: some people cannot help the state of their body- others can.
Picking on myself as an example: I am underweight because of my anxiety. That is my fault. It is hard and unhealthy for my body. It would be a disservice to me if all I ever heard from family and friends was that I was beautiful and that my body was perfect the way it is. It isn’t. That is not cruel, it’s just the truth.
People get so butt-hurt about other’s making comments about their health and the state of their body. Why? Because they know they have an issue, and they don’t want to face it or they are ashamed of it. However, hiding under a bush and never letting your loved ones push you to improve your physical and mental health is not helpful to anyone. It is anything but positive.
What Should Body Positivity Be?
This is what I think body positivity is all about:
You Should Feel Worthy and Beautiful No Matter Where You Are- But Never Settle For Unhealthiness
To love other people, and to love yourself, we need to stop promoting that all bodies are perfect and saying “never change!”. Sometimes we need change. We need growth.
Everyone deserves to feel worthy, because the worth of a person is not what they look like, it is honestly just the fact that they are a person. All people are worthy. All people are beautiful in their own way. Not all people are healthy. Someone who has cancer is beautiful. They are worth love and respect, but they are far from healthy. Why is that something that we can accept and something that can be celebrated, but it is a crime to say that a person who struggles with an eating disorder is unhealthy, yet worthy?
To my family and friends- thank you for always making sure I understood I was worthy and beautiful. Thank you also for never letting me settle for being unhealthy.
Love is saying things that are hard if it means that the person you love will improve and grow. That is being positive about every body. That is hope that we can accept and respect each other, and celebrate where we are in our lives because it is absolutely beautiful, while still always growing and improving to feel our best and live an amazing, healthy life.