The body positivity movement started off as accepting each other and most importantly, ourselves, fighting all forms of body shaming and aiming for inclusivity. It was much needed and to this day it has a very important role.
In time however, it was used for the wrong agenda. In the name of body positivity I see something else entirely. Dragging other people to make us feel better about ourselves. This is what the not so positive body positivity movement looks like from the skinny girl’s perspective.
And before you stop reading and think “oh yeah she just needs something to moan about” I want to point out that I know that body shaming in any shape or form isn’t acceptable. And although I’m writing from my own perspective, I am totally against fat shaming.
I know that for a very long time anyone who wasn’t skinny was excluded from the fashion world, there was no proper and realistic representation for all body types. There was a time when the fashion industry got it horribly wrong and truth to be told things are still very far from perfect. It set unrealistic expectations and promoted unhealthily and unrealistically thin models.
But in the last few years the fashion world and the overall view on body types and sizes changed drastically. And it changed mostly for the better. Things started to shift in the right direction. Models are no longer anorexic. They publicly promote healthy lifestyles. They share their workout regime as well as diets, and by diets I mean what they eat, and not that they starve themselves.
With this came something else and it became more and more common: skinny shaming and reacting to facts and evidence in an emotional way, totally ignoring what the original message was.
I see this every single day. The double standards and the ignorance where all this comes from.
There are health issues on both sides. Being underweight is not healthier than being obese, it can actually be a lot more dangerous in some cases. Also some really serious mental health issues can be behind someone being underweight and dangerously skinny. Yet I see the term ‘anorexic’ being used in a derogatory way almost daily. I see women putting other women down, saying real women have curves or only dogs play with bones. Whenever there is an actress or a model who is skinny there always are comments saying she is anorexic, must be ill or she looks skeletal. No. There are people out there who are skinny but also healthy.
If anything is said about obesity there is a massive backlash. Even when it comes to facts, science and medical research.
There was public outrage when Cancer Research UK tried to draw attention to the health issues and risks obesity can cause. People, public figures, cried fat shaming. And then the very old argument, saying that just because someone is skinny it doesn’t mean they are healthy too, was brought into the discussion. Of course being obese alone might not cause cancer. My point here is that Cancer Research UK shared a fact, based on research. Yet the actual message was ignored and there was an emotional response, rather than a rational one.
The other issue I can’t get my head around is people telling me I’m tiny. Yes. I have been my entire life. I don’t mind my closest friends telling me I’m skinny. Some people even noticed and mentioned it, in a caring way, when I lost a ton of weight due to an illness. That is different. But someone who knows nothing about me telling me “I’m skin and bones” is the same thing as me walking up to someone telling them they need to hit the gym.
I decided to write this post when I saw a Lululemon advert. I wear Lululemon a lot. Their clothes are comfy for yoga, running and long haul flights. I also happen to have a thigh gap. And I’m not anorexic or bulimic. I also don’t starve myself or follow any magic diets to stay skinny. And although you can find me in the gym on a regular basis, I don’t live there. And then I read the comments: only bored housewives wear Lululemon; everyone should boycott them because they are not inclusive as they don’t have bigger sized clothes; showing thin models is fat shaming also the models in their adverts are anorexic; real women don’t have thigh gaps; their ads promote unrealistic body images….and it goes on. And I couldn’t help myself but think: if this is the so hyped body positivity movement, it’s not just that I’m not included because I’m skinny, but I also don’t even want to be part of it. Because for me body positivity is taking care of my body. Making sure I’m healthy and fit. So why do we need to be negative in order to be positive about ourselves?…