- Sarah Kimball
What is Body Positivity?
What is body positivity? Body positivity refers to the idea that all people have the right to view their bodies in a positive way. The body positive movement fights for all bodies to be accepted regardless of their size, shape, color, gender, ability, or identity.
The body positive movement is so important because advertisements, models, social media, and the world wrongly tell us that some bodies (read: thin bodies) should be valued more than other bodies (read: fat bodies).
The body positivity movement is very focused on fat liberation because fatphobia is still seen as an acceptable form of discrimination. Despite the fact that being stigmatized for your weight is more harmful to your health than anything you could ever eat, fatphobia in society is rampant and it is widely believed that fat people are simply unhealthy and should lose weight. Individuals will fat shame under the guise of "health," claiming that their rude comments are simply their way of caring about someone else’s wellbeing. Meanwhile, no one deserves to be shamed for their body. Even if health could be determined by merely looking at someone (it can’t), health is highly individual, private and should never be used as a scapegoat for treating someone with disdain.
While fat acceptance is typically at the center of the body positive movement, body positivity also aims to empower other marginalized groups such as black bodies, queer bodies, and disabled bodies.
What is body positivity if it does not stand for all people? It is not body positivity at all. Body positivity cannot stop at a certain size, shape, or color. Some brands like to think they are body positive when they are allowing diverse bodies only to a certain extent. They will stop when bodies are "too" fat, "too" dark or "too" old. When brands continue to exclude certain groups of people, it is clear that discrimination is still at the core of their messaging.
The body positivity movement stands for the acceptance of ALL types of bodies and ALL types of people. There is absolutely zero tolerance for racism, sexism, fatphobia, homophobia, agism, ableism, and any other form of discrimination within the movement. It is truly a movement for all people, and it is especially aimed at lifting up people in marginalized bodies who are wrongly told that they should feel guilt and shame for their appearance.
Advertisements, models, and social media send the message that beauty is thin, toned, white, able-bodied, young, and a million other things that are constantly changing and also impossible to attain. Most of the people on this planet don’t fit these overarching beauty standards, not to mention, the world would be a terribly boring place if everyone looked the same.
While body positivity is focused on the acceptance of all bodies, in some ways, it has nothing to do with our bodies at all. If we lived in a truly body positive world, our bodies would simply be seen as bodies; not one better than another, but simply our homes in which we live and the vessels in which we achieve our dreams.
To hear more from empowered women about how they are achieving their dreams and living their best lives, listen to the Ignited by Inner Beauty Podcast.