Body Positivity is a hot topic on social media at the moment but what actually is it?!

Google “body positivity” and this is the first result that comes up:

“Body positivity is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, while challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body. The movement advocates the acceptance of all bodies regardless of physical ability, size, gender, race, or appearance.”

Notice how the quote mentions “all human beings”... that’s the key part right there.

With regards to the history of the Body Positivity movement, it was started in the 1960’s for the most marginalised bodies in society.

We’re talking people who are:

  • Fat

  • Trans

  • Queer

  • Disabled

  • Chronically ill

  • People of colour

  • … and everybody in between!

So, with the above in mind, when you see content that uses the hashtag “body positivity” are these the people you’re seeing?

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t.

I was seeing white women in socially acceptable bodies that were showcasing their rolls in hunched over positions.

Whilst the content can be really empowering - I, for one, have found this really helpful in accepting myself - this is not Body Positivity.

These women do not fall into the category of the most marginalised bodies in society and I would more so categorise this as “body neutrality” or “body acceptance" which is also a necessary movement.

But, tbh, my tipping point was when I was sent a TikTok video of a male Personal Trainer spouting “how to calculate how many calories you need to lose fat” whilst using the hashtag Body Positivity…

I’m sorry, what!?

Does that sound like it supports people in the most marginalized bodies of society!?

That’s a hard no.

The point?

As soon as a movement gains traction it becomes mainstream - which is not necessarily a bad thing - but it can then become co-opted (aka used in a different way from what was initially intended) by people and/or by large corporations. Movements tend to become co-opted because everyone wants to jump on the band-wagon and grab a piece of the popular pie. (Even if they don’t know what they’re doing **eye roll**.)

In terms of me and my content, I do not have the authority to use the term “Body Positivity” in any of my content because I benefit from thin privilege and do not live in a marginalized body.

In terms of how we consume Body Positivity, check who you’re following. Do you follow people who fall into the categories of the most marginalised bodies in society?

If you don’t, I suggest you do because they are producing truly awesome work and are the real reason we are able to see Diet Culture for what it truly is.

L x