Posted in Femininity

Body Positivity Encourages Obesity

Let’s play a game of truth or dare. I dare you to name another plus size actor, singer, model, or rapper besides Lizzo in 5 seconds. You need more time? Okay I’ll give you 5 more seconds. Still having difficulty finding an answer right? And that’s because there’s RARELY any plus size individuals in the spotlight. Ironically for plus size people, stages aren’t being built big enough for us to stand on.

I’m a fat girl. I’m pretty sure growing up a lot of fat girls like me have been told that if we wanted a boyfriend we’d have to lose weight, yes our clothes may look nice on us but for them to look NICER we should lose weight, that we should eat less and smaller proportions yet, no adult would implement healthier lifestyle choices, and that we could go for months without food and we’d still be alive. And I’m certain most of us were told all of these things before the age of 10. 

The word “fat” has such a negative connotation, being fat is associated with having low self-esteem, poor body image, and unhealthy eating habits; our families already want us to hate ourselves and clothing brands are shunning us out by only using models that don’t have the bodies we have. As big as we are, we should stand out, we’re literally the “elephant in the room”, yet we go unnoticed by the world. Our character shouldn’t be defined by the size of our body, yet it is. And this is where the body positivity movement comes in: a social movement that believes all humans should have a positive view of their body. The body positivity movement has become wildly mainstream these last few years, however it seems as if the movement has drifted away from its core meaning and has generated a more grotesque image: which is encouraging obesity.

Change In Meaning:

The definition of body positivity is vastly different from the image generated. Obese people are now the face of the body positivity movement. If I asked someone that didn’t know the true meaning of the body positivity movement, what they thought the movement was they’d most likely tell me: “it’s a movement for fat people to feel comfortable in their skin and love their body”. And that wouldn’t be a completely wrong answer, but it isn’t exactly right. 

Not too long ago the body positivity movement took a new height: it went mainstream. It wasn’t hard to notice by the hashtags people put in their Instagram captions. It also took on a new meaning, a brand new definition, which was caused by the bodies representing it. Fat people are RARELY seen in a positive light. Thanks to the body positivity movement the spotlight is now on us, ironically our pictures are now in the first row on Instagram’s explore page. We are center stage yet were standing under a negative spotlight. 

The Role Clothing Brands Play:

As the body positivity movement gained popularity, plus size clothing became more fashionable, and well known name brand stores began carrying extended sizes. Clothing brands are businesses, of course they would love to capitalize off of a widespread social movement. Companies and “straight sized” (S,M,L,XL) clothing brands gained interest in fat people whenever they wanted to promote “inclusiveness” or “inclusive sizes”. They want us to model in a bikini, with our huge stomachs falling to our knees, our arms resembling turkey legs, and the flabs on our backs looking like a pair of wings- and we’re ready to take off any day now. 

Companies/ businesses turn a blind eye to this obese human being representing their brand it’s seen as empowering & body positivity, to the model and to fat girls like myself it’s seen as a pivotal moment- one that took so long to happen. Clothing brands want to promote inclusive sizing, so they can be seen in a positive light and then pass it off as body positivity. Fat people, plus size people, overweight people, obese people weren’t the audience they fixated on catering to, while they sketched designs for clothes and copied creations from fashion designers to produce fast fashion. 

Companies are not doing the world a favor by using obese models and providing inclusive sizes, what they’re doing in actuality is encouraging obesity and exploiting fat people for financial gain. Fat people are being used like props to make a fashion statement. Body positivity allows fat people like me to develop the misconception that it’s acceptable to continue gaining unhealthy amounts of weight. And social media along with the modeling world, will be appreciative of that and give us opportunities just because we love our body in its current and unhealthy form.

Fair’s Fair Or Is It?

The word Anorexia is a noun and so is the word Obesity, both terms are classified as medical conditions, both conditions portray an unhealthy image of the human body; yet they mean two completely different things. Anorexia is described as “an emotional eating disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight”, Obesity is described as “the condition of being grossly fat or overweight”; a person who has “a BMI of 30 and higher is considered obese…”. 

Anorexia is a very common medical condition as well as Obesity, however stories of anorexic individuals are rarely broadcasted in the media. In contrast to fat & obese people we have tv shows & movies that always depict us having an unhealthy relationship with food, we’re mostly casted to play popular stereotypes of fat people: can’t run fast, has asthma, constantly wheezing & out of breathe etc.

Our bodies are used to boost ratings & showcase to the world our vulnerabilities & insecurities. Tv shows & movies continue to reinforce the idea that the only important thing everyone should know about fat people, is that we’re fat & struggle with our weight. They venture out to erase the fact that we’re actually human beings & we are more than our weight. The size of our bodies have always been the butt of the joke. And I can’t help but wonder if clothing brands that hire plus size models to promote inclusive sizing- consider us to be a joke too?

In the modeling industry, the majority of models are skinny and it’s always been that way & it will never change. Over the last few years, the modeling industry has changed drastically, it seems as if they’re leaving the door wide open for anyone to waltz on in. It’s 2019, and so far, we’ve never seen an anorexic model, however companies are using obese models to represent & promote their brand.

Anorexic individuals are most likely not hired to be models because their bodies depict an unhealthy image of the human body, yet companies will hire obese models to represent their brand, while their bodies ALSO depict an unhealthy image of the human body, slap a label on & call it “body positivity”. If companies aren’t willing to hire models that are Anorexic because they’re unhealthy, they shouldn’t employ overweight models either. I constantly ask myself: “what are they trying to achieve?”, “why the sudden obsession with fat people lately?” And I think I have a clue!

Companies are simply contributing to the mockery of fat people & capitalizing off of the body positivity movement in order to generate profits. Insecurity sells, companies make profits off of people’s insecurities: by creating weight loss pills, veneers that give off the illusion of having perfect teeth, hair growth products for people that suffer from baldness etc.

My True Feelings:

I’m no longer a supporter of the body positivity movement because of the delusions it has created for me personally, and also the misconceptions it encourages fat people like me to develop. The body positivity movement has morphed into celebrating obesity, it flings the door open for fat people to gain copious amounts of weight, ignore their health & push it to the side. Social media turns the most basic things fat people do into such a celebratory moment. Most natural things that human beings do, is seen as an accomplishment for fat people. It’s visibly obvious the world views us as sub human beings, it’s almost as if we’re supernatural. They’re aware that we exist, yet they refuse to physically see & acknowledge us as actual human beings.

Why are we receiving gold medals just for being comfortable in our own skin? Aren’t we entitled to have feelings & emotions? Why do we have to work our way up a ladder in order to be considered human? It’s become strikingly obvious that fat people need to stick together & quit feeding into the body positivity nonsense. We’re giving those who fat shame us exactly what they want, allowing them to cloud our judgement, make a mockery out of us, and disrespect us even more than they previously had before. 

The body positivity movement caused fat people to emerge out of the darkness we were in, yet it came at a negative cost. If the body positivity movement didn’t exist, would we remain hidden forever?

Author:

Hello my name is Maigelle (May-Jell) I'm a native New Yorker and Brooklynite. Creative writing/ literary realism is my love.

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