Image Source: LA Weekly
The plus size movement is everywhere these days. Every time you go on the World Wide Web, you see some proponent of the fat acceptance or body positivity movement waving itself right in your face. Social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are filled to the brim with the hashtags #bodypositivity, #effyourbeautystandards, or #plussize. Countless content-based websites have been publishing articles in support of the plus size movement. Sometimes, you see it in the form of a video, a picture on Instagram or a meme. The movement is famous for sending across one message to everyone — love your body.
I understand the rationale behind this movement. After decades of magazines and media promoting perfectly toned bodies with flawless skin and jawlines, it’s good to see other body types being represented in media. It’s a refreshing change to see realistic representations of women.
The movement has encouraged many women to push back against media’s representation and slowly, we’re starting to see them oblige and shed light on the many different body types and not just one. Women no longer feel the pressure to look like air-brushed and perfectly tanned Victoria’s Secret models. Women have become more accepting of their bodies instead of fat-shaming themselves every time they walk past a mirror or try on lingerie.
However, the plus size or fat acceptance movement is also setting new standards for women across the world. While we have become more accepting of sizes larger than 8, we’ve become dismissive of sizes lesser than 2. What used to be fat shaming has now turned into skinny shaming. Social media websites have turned into shaming grounds for fit or skinny women, women who aren’t fat or thick. Skinny or fit women are accused of being too thin and promoting unachievable body standards. These women are shamed by trolls sitting behind their computers for being healthy.
Which leads to the problem caused by the plus size movement. The body positivity or fat acceptance movement is not helping women’s self-esteem, but it’s also encouraging obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle.
As motivating as it is, the fat acceptance movement is promoting people who are hundreds of pounds overweight. The movement started on the right note, but somewhere along the road, it lost its way. Now you see women who are clearly obese promoting the movement with the hashtag #bodypositive. How can you expect someone to be positive and accepting of their bodies when it’s actively damaging their health and well-being? The movement is no longer positive; it’s negative because it’s inspiring women to treat their bodies with disregard.
The body positivity movement is no longer a platform for women to feel good about themselves; it’s a platform for women to stay fat and unhealthy and expect people to turn a blind eye to this growing issue. As crude as it sounds, it’s the harsh truth we need to accept.
The plus size movement should be more than just encouraging women to be accepting of their bodies because this still leads to comparison. We will always be exposed to rock-hard abs on a size-zero model or the sensual curves on a plus-size model. It’s not easy shutting out media and the expectations they have from women. But the key is helping women across the world, thin or fat, to start loving themselves first instead of their bodies. Once you start loving yourself, you see things with a different perspective.
It’s not about hating your body or loving your body. It’s about accepting it and then taking care of it. Body positivity is more than just ‘effing your beauty standards’. It’s a journey that starts from the inside, which slowly reflects on the outside.