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The Problem with Ozempic for the Body Positive Community

As the body positive movement gains traction, so does the popularity of Ozempic, the diabetes drug that has been referred to as the weight loss miracle drug. We see celebrities rapidly losing weight and simply promoting their exercise routines when there may be an underlying factor.

Is Ozempic truly a miracle weight loss? I’m not a drug expert, but based on my cursory research no. It has negative side effects (like all drugs can) and I worry about the long-term effects. However, I am not here to judge anyone for taking or not taking a drug. Instead, I am here to explore the concept of what a miracle weight loss drug (whether Ozempic or a future drug) means for the body positive community at large.

Ultimately, the problem with Ozempic for the body positivity community is that society's celebration of the drug advocates for the elimination of fat people, perpetuates magical thinking around weight loss, and puts a misplaced focus on weight as a determinant of health.

hugging people representing body acceptance

Advocating for Body Acceptance, Not Elimination

What is so exciting about a “miracle weight loss drug” anyway? We know that BMI is not an accurate determinant of health and I haven’t heard anything about how Ozempic prevents cancer or reduces risk of heart attacks. Even if the drug did magically turn people into the perfect image of health, the celebration of this drug is around the potential for the elimination of fat people and that is deeply problematic. The problem with Ozempic for the body positive community is that the celebration of weight loss as an achievement implies that fat bodies are inherently undesirable, contributing to anti-fat bias and discrimination. 

As people advocate for this weight loss drug I encourage them to think about what statement they are making to fat people everywhere. Telling someone to go one Ozempic to lose weight is telling them that you’d value them more or appreciate them more if they were smaller. It’s perpetuating the false belief that thin bodies are the only acceptable bodies.

There are many reasons why someone may want to go on Ozempic. People in thin bodies are objectively treated better than people in fat bodies. However, those choices should not take away from the fight against anti-fat bias as this is a fight for the justice of all people regardless of their size.

Magical Thinking Surrounding Weight Loss

The problem with Ozempic for the body positivity community is that society's obsession with it capitalizes on the pervasive belief that thinness equates to success and happiness. The marketing of weight loss medications often perpetuates "magical thinking," promising that as soon as they’ll lose weight they’ll feel more confident, get that promotion they’ve always wanted, have the confidence to wear a bikini, or finally go on that vacation they’ve always wanted to go on. However, this perpetuates the belief that weight loss is the answer to everything when in reality it is not. The problem with Ozempic is that the obsession with this drug is focusing on this false belief that weight loss promises a better life. Weight loss will not promise you a promotion or even body confidence. Your relationship with your body can be healed even if you never lose a pound. While I will acknowledge the hardship and discrimination that fat people face, the solution is not to eliminate fat people. The solution is to work toward a world where all people are respected and treated fairly.

Misplaced Focus on Weight

In the discourse surrounding health and wellness, weight has become the focal point, overshadowing other crucial indicators of well-being. The conflation of weight with health ignores the complexity of human bodies and perpetuates harmful stereotypes. Research has shown that individuals can be healthy at any size, and health outcomes are influenced by various factors beyond weight alone, including access to healthcare, socioeconomic status, and environmental factors. While many people point to fat people as people unhealthy, we cannot confuse correlation with causation. The weight stigma that fat people face (especially from doctors) and the extreme diets many are put on are large factors in the negative health outcomes fat people face.

Fighting for Body Justice

To counteract the harmful effects of weight-centric ideologies and pharmaceutical interventions like Ozempic, the body positive community must continue to advocate for inclusivity, acceptance, and social justice. This entails challenging societal norms and advocating for policies that prioritize equitable access to healthcare and resources for individuals of all body sizes. Furthermore, promoting a holistic approach to health that prioritizes physical, mental, and emotional well-being over arbitrary standards of beauty is essential. By challenging the status quo and advocating for acceptance, inclusivity, and social justice, we can work towards creating a more equitable and supportive society for individuals of all body types.


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