An integral part of learning to love & accept myself involves exposing myself to positive media featuring diverse body types and sizes every day. We are exposed to hundreds of messages every day about what our bodies are supposed to look like. Combating this by seeking out media that portrays my body type (and many others) in a positive light has been absolutely vital for shifting my perceptions and thought patterns. Unfortunately, with every Body Positive post that features anyone who is above “average size” (a term used with serious reservations) comes the concern trolls bewailing the “promotion of unhealthy lifestyles”.
Example: “Why would you tell people it’s ok to be fat?? Aren’t you worried about their health? Being unhealthy will never be beautiful!”
Now, let me be clear, again, if you haven’t gotten it yet: you cannot determine the state of someone’s health from a picture. In fact, making an assumption about health/habits/intentions/experiences/diet from a picture is pretty much the definition of prejudice. You are not a good citizen who is just looking out for the interests of fatties the world round. You are a bigot hiding behind the societal equation of health with morality.
Just for fun, though, let’s ignore the above ignorance and take a closer look at the idea of body positivity/size diversity promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. WARNING: INCOMING SARCASTIC RAGE!
People seem to be operating under the ridiculous notion that as long as they hate fat people hard enough we will finally “get it”. All we really need is to see one more headless fatty and we will finally all become thin or at least disappear from their royal sight. It’s their JOB to shame us because if we aren’t constantly receiving messages about how worthless we are we might start thinking it’s ok to be unhealthy! After all, health is the measure of righteousness over and above all else! A person’s health is how you know their worth! If you are thin (and therefore automatically a beacon of health and wellness) you are completely justified in donning your for members only “Super Health Seeking X-Ray Glasses” (trademark pending?) that allows you to actually see the level of a person’s health without any tests or medical training and then ostracize them when they do not meet your incredibly uninformed and bigoted standards. What if a poor impressionable mind sees a fat person being successful/happy/complete and starts shoving lard down their throat so they can be fat too!? OH WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!
As a society, we really need to stop and think about the big picture impact this attitude has. Not only are people attempting to justify their prejudice under the holy banner of health, people are justifying some incredibly stupid and unhealthy shit in their quest to be thin (and therefore automatically healthy, DUH!). Never mind that it has been scientifically proven that we can reap the benefits of healthful habits independent of weight loss! Never mind that there is absolutely no research showing that sustained weight loss over the long term is possible! Never mind that eating disorders are on the rise in ever younger populations! Never mind that the high levels of constant stress from shaming and stigma as well as constant weight cycling are correlated with the same ‘diseases of affluence’ that obesity is correlated with (could they be related??)! It seems to me that if you’re really just a good citizen that is concerned for my health and not ‘prejudice in any way’ you might need to take a look in the mirror.
Do you really think that you are encouraging us take care of our bodies by hating them? Do you really think that nobody has ever told us about diet and exercise before? What do you think would happen if people started loving their body’s just as they are? Our bodies are miracles! They are beautiful and capable and their worth cannot be diminished by your ‘good will’.