How Far Does Body Positivity Go?

Ok. I’m going to start with an anecdote of what happened yesterday. So, today I am sat up with my feet up after walking all day in the most uncomfortable boots ever and giving myself a number of blisters. Silly me. While I was in town with my friend I went into The Works, the discount book shop, which just so happens to be one of my favourite shops in town. I walked past a woman that was so heavy that she could not walk and had to use crutches. I could hear her struggling to breathe from the other side of the store. I felt so sorry for how she had let her body go like that. Suddenly, I started to realise where the ‘fat shamers’ were coming from. I understood their argument. I don’t agree with how they come across, but I did understand, perhaps, a need for it. I watched a very good video the other day from a YouTuber that I’m not particularly a big fan of. I’ll leave the link to it below so that you can watch it.

My stomach, at the most unflattering angle possible, on a day when I felt hideous.
My stomach, at the most unflattering angle possible, on a day when I felt hideous.

‘Fat Shaming’ has become this big thing that has risen along side the body positive and plus size appreciation revolution. This has been seen as a form of cyber bullying and many YouTubers, including the infamous ‘Nicole Arbour’ has made videos trying to make bigger men and women to feel bad. There have also been a lot of videos made to shame the ‘Fat Shamers’. This is where I find OnisonSpeaks, the YouTuber I aforementioned earlier on to hit the nail on the head. There is nothing wrong with being body positive. I am a body positive advocate and I try very hard not to offend any body shape or size, because I would not like anyone to slag off my body shape of size. It’s as simple as that. Nobody is perfect and if you’re going to make fun of a certain group of people then you’d have to expect it back. I’m still waiting on a video parodying and insulting Nicole Arbour, because, let’s face it, she does deserve it. On the other hand, who would want to sink to her level? I wouldn’t. After watching a lovely Loey Lane video called ‘Fat People Can’t Be Body Positive’ that commented on the infamous video, She refused to name the perpetrator and asked her subscribers not to even give her the time of day and I found this to be very wise advice. I did watch her video, but through another YouTuber reviewing it, because Loey was right. She really doesn’t deserve the ‘fame’.

My friend on a day when she, herself, felt most horrible about herself.
My friend on a day when she felt most horrible about her body.

The issue is that beauty is subjective. People that say one body type is more beautiful over the other is just stating their opinion. Lots of people will say things like ‘all bodies are beautiful’. Yes, all bodies are beautiful in their own way because they hold life. They hold consciousness. That is something to be respected. However, everyone will have their preferences in the physical attributes of their partner, and sometimes, even just friends. This is where ideas of natural selection and sexual selection take place. Every species on this planet has their own idea of what is attractive and what is not. People, as a species, has a very large pool to choose from. Some people for more comfortable looking as bigger people, others feel more comfortable looking at smaller people. Some hate both and prefer to be on their own. Some like everyone and don’t have one particular preference. None of these are bad. We are individuals. We have preferences. We have opinions. Is it ok to be shallow? No, but are people going to be? Yes, because for some reason, that’s how the world works right now.

Going back to my original anecdote though raises the question, is there a point at which body positivity becomes dangerous? Is there a point where it actually becomes body negative? I think that it has to start with feeling good about yourself. Nothing good comes from bad thoughts. What I see a lot from the comments over YouTube at body positive figures is that they don’t exercise or they eat too much and that, due to their size and shape, they are promoting an unhealthy lifestyle purely based on how they look. I think that’s just silly. You can’t assume you know how someone lives based on their size and shape. My sister is half my size and just last weekend she ate three takeaways. Lillian Bustle did a Tedx Talk called ‘Stripping Away Negative Body Image’ and talked about how women, particularly plus size women should get into Burlesque dancing. Lots of people commented about how she, as a bigger woman, was promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. Yet her whole video was about encouraging women to embrace this exercise and gain confidence. I thought it was great and a great place to start getting bigger women into exercise and a healthy routine, yet there were people calling her lazy and, in my eyes, just trolling her. I thought it was ridiculous. If a big, influential woman started promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, encouraging people to eat junk food all the time and do no exercise; there would be outrage, and no one would follow that person. That’s not being body positive. That’s ruining yourself. However, if a small, influential woman did the same, I don’t think it would be such a big thing and I think it would actually become fashionable. Of course, you’d always get the crazy people that will make comments online, often about how converting to veganism will save their life. The thing is though, that’s not what’s happening. These women are trying to live a healthy a lifestyle as they can. They are aware of the health implications of obesity. I have a lot of respect for the work these women do.

Something I saw on Tumblr the other day said that ‘can we stop making obesity a thing, it’s not real’ or something to that effect. Unfortunately, it is real. It’s not something that can be ignored. I heard it’s heavy breathing yesterday in my favourite book store. Health is a thing. No, we don’t have a right to insult someone or put across a lousy opinion that will hurt another’s feelings. I would never have gone up to that woman and insulted her the way someone people insult big women on the internet. It’s heinous. People are aware of their own circumstances. Of course though, I was worried about her health, because the woman did look like she was ready to collapse and I really hope that she’s able to turn things around for herself. Was I going to tell her any of that though? Of course not. You keep you opinions to yourself because they aren’t necessary. If people acted online the way they would in real life, maybe the internet would be a nicer place.

I hope that this article gets read. You don’t need to be obsessing over your health, but you can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist either. Neither is healthy and neither is going to make you feel better inside. Big or small, fat or skinny, curvy or straight, you will be attractive to someone. Ignore the haters and just concentrate on your happiness and your health will follow. Stay safe guys, see you soon x

All videos can be found in the ‘LoveYourFigure’ playlist on YouTube. Links are:

  • OnisonSpeaks, ‘Is fat Shaming Bad + Which Women Are Fat?’
  • Loey Lane ‘Fat People Can’t Be Positive’
  • Lillian Bustle ‘Stripping Away Negative Body Image’
  • Ozzy Man Reviews ‘Ozzy Man Reviews: Dear Fat People’ (For anyone that didn’t see THAT video)

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