A Fat Chick's Take on Body Positivity
Thursday, June 08, 2017
Just a warning: if you're a very sensitive type of person, you will probably want to skip reading this post.
Believe it or not, the word fat doesn't embarrass me, not like it used to, anyway. I can appreciate the body positivity movement's idea that people should love themselves, no matter what their size. I also like that they promote the mentality that big doesn't necessarily equal ugly. As someone that learned all about the shortcomings of her appearance from first her father and then her ex-husband, that means a lot. (Though seriously, what woman needs any help at all zeroing in on all of her "flaws" with anal-retentive thoroughness? We've been trained that way for ages.)
I will, however, share a couple of words that do embarrass me. Cowardly and lazy. I got to be my size for a reason. Afraid to face the real crap in my life, I buried my feelings in food. Once I got bigger, the last thing I wanted to do was get up off of the couch and do something about it. Doing something constructive about my problem would not only mean I'd have to exert myself, it would also mean that my protective layer of emotional insulation would be stripped away. I know this sounds familiar for a lot of people. After all, this is hardly a unique story. But my point is that bad things, bad habits, and bad decisions are what led me to gain the excess weight in the first place. Pardon me for being blunt, but I don't think things like that should be celebrated.
You see, for all of my appreciation of the body positivity movement's message of self-acceptance, I feel that too often their perspective is somewhat skewed. I'm not saying that I think they're way off, but that they've definitely missed the bullseye. Keep in mind that I know that I'm speaking in generalizations. I know that not everyone who promotes body positivity is like this. But by saying that 'big is beautiful' without any qualifying remarks, I think women are being encouraged to exchange one unhealthy mindset for another.
Personally, I think it would be much better to tell people that being big doesn't disqualify you from being beautiful. We should be telling them that if we show our love for other people by looking after them with diligence and care, why not our own bodies, too? Rather than saying that big is beautiful period, I believe that the message we should be spreading is that healthy is beautiful. I believe that rather than saying "no matter what you do to yourself, you're gorgeous," we should be telling each other that "You are worth any amount of effort." Understand that loving ourselves means taking care of ourselves.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is that while I think that we should embrace the body positivity movement's message of self-acceptance, we need to remember to love ourselves by being our best selves. That doesn't mean that we won't stumble from time to time, and that's okay. But part of loving someone is always wanting what's best for them, so we shouldn't passively resign ourselves to less than our best efforts even on our own behalf just because we ache to feel beautiful. We may not always achieve the results that we desire for our bodies, but if we can confidently know that we are giving it our all, then that kind of determination, dedication, and courage is *really* beautiful.
I'm not saying this to hurt anyone's feelings. I love you all and want the best for each of you, and I'm happy to say that I finally feel the same way about myself. I hope that you love yourselves, too. I know it isn't the easiest mindset to learn.