Have you ever seen a fat girl on the internet post a picture of herself in all her glory and then feel compelled to go out and gorge on dozens of donuts? Yeah, me either. Yet somehow I hear time and time again that the body positive movement is promoting obesity. Say what?
It’s so interesting to me that a larger bodied woman who chooses to live her life and maybe (gasp!) wear a bikini at the beach, post a picture of herself on Instagram, or talk about self love is somehow promoting obesity. Oh, I didn’t realize that fat people were supposed to hide in their rooms in shame and self hatred and that only thin and average sized bodies are allowed to be seen in public or on social media. My bad!
The reason the body positive movement exists is because people in larger bodies have been bullied, ridiculed, and abused for so long. Fat people are less likely to get jobs than their thinner counterparts and receive inferior medical care, all because they have a larger body. They are literally dying and no, not from their “fatness” but because their doctors often ignore their very real symptoms and blame it on their weight. As a result of being treated so poorly by the medical profession, many fat people start avoiding the doctor altogether.
The body positive movement is a reminder that we all deserve to exist and be at peace with ourselves regardless of the number on the scale.
However, every time I see a fat woman share a photo of herself, it comes along with the most abusive comments I’ve ever seen. From “do us a favor and commit suicide” to “you are disgusting and need to stop eating.” And those are the tame comments! Fat people as much as anyone else have the right to live their lives, in public or private, in a bikini or a shapeless sack, eating fries or salad. Their body, their call. They do not need to hide because others have a personal issue with fat people.
But let’s not forget about the “concerned” comments. “I’m worried she’ll die of a heart attack” or “but she’s so unhealthy!” It’s apparently more socially acceptable to put down someone’s body when you can pretend it’s coming from a place of concern. However, if you’re really that concerned for a random person’s health, then please have concern about the impact of weight discrimination. Because we live in a society that hates fat people and dealing with those levels of stress will absolutely contribute to declining health.
So no, a fat person daring to literally just exist in the world like anyone else is not promoting any sort of “epidemic.” No one is looking at a photo of a fat person and thinking, “Damn, I really want to gain xx pounds now.” If you find a fat body so offensive, I’d ask you to look inwards and examine your own fatphobic issues.
Read more about what happens to your body when you diet here and why dieting doesn’t work here. And a blog post I wrote about dieting being problematic here.