BODY POSITIVITY IS NOT A WAITING ROOM THAT’LL KEEP YOU COMFORTABLE UNTIL YOU GET THIN.
CW: An important conversation about unintentional fatphobia and body shaming.
I have curated my newsfeed to be full of awesome, positive content – easily done once you start clearing out the trash. Which is why it is pissing me off to see my beautiful body positive posts slowly but perceptibly replaced by body shamers… But the worst thing is that they don’t even know they’re doing it.
Do you? I dare you to read on and find out…
YOU ARE BODY SHAMING WHEN YOU:
- Criticise your body when comparing it to another, or when you wish for someone else’s body. Remember, your body is perfect.
- Comment (positively or negatively) on someone’s weight loss or weight gain. Their body is none of your business.
- Think someone’s body shape reflects anything other than a beautiful demonstration of the diversity of humans. If you don’t understand this, please read “The Body is Not an Apology” immediately.
- Assume someone’s body tells you about its owner’s health, even if it’s your body. It doesn’t. If this is unclear read “Health at Every Size” right now. I meant it… I can wait.
- Focus on appearance whilst ignoring abilities. Instead, try paying attention to what your body does for you.
- Assume that your life will become better once you change your body size. It won’t. You’ll have the same problems. Are you guilty of putting off living “until you lose the weight”?
- View thinness as an indicator of success, happiness or self-restraint.
- Make assumptions about another’s character, morality, or lifestyle because of their weight.
EVERYTHING SOCIETY HAS TAUGHT YOU ABOUT BODY FAT HAS BEEN A LIE. If you could understand that being smaller DOES NOT make you healthier, DOES NOT make you hotter, and DOES NOT make you more worthy, then would you change the way you talk about your own body?
Body positivity is not a waiting room to keep you comfortable ‘until you get thin’. Body positivity is not to keep you feeling safe, it’s to challenge you to take the steps to improve your life, and it’s not for everyone. This shit is hard. But so is staying on the perpetual weight loss cycle.
But you have a choice… You can absolutely wait until the receptionist calls you out of the waiting room for your next appointment with the weight loss industry – but we know how that ends. Or you can say “screw that” and leave the room altogether and join us in our body positive one (we even recommend graffitiing or burning the health and beauty mags on your way out!)
I get this won’t happen overnight. You may still have a toe in that waiting room for years. It’s a process. What I do ask, though, is that during that process you try not to use any of the inadvertent body shaming behaviours I highlighted above. When you do so you are not only saying I HATE MYSELF, but you are also saying AND THIS MEANS I HATE ANYONE WHO LOOKS LIKE ME. You may mess up every now and again but be willing to learn and move forward.
And I don’t mean grit your teeth through a fake smile… life isn’t always puppies and flowers. Just be aware of others when you talk. If you need to bring some negative feelings to the table, I’m here for that, just as long as it’s done reflectively and with a genuine desire to change… “I hate myself” or “it’ll be OK when I…” is not helpful to anyone, least of all yourself.