Is The Body Positivity Social Movement Toxic?


Joseph Meyer

17 October 2021 0 comments

Growing up I was often the overweight kid as I think back over my life, taking a looking into my history and the photo album. Pictures of my youth as a young boy who had a normal weight, thin and healthy but as I got older my weight ballooned as I looked no longer healthy. Some who may look that those photos may say to themselves well you’re a growing boy.

I get we are all different with all different genetics, some who grow up mimicking their parents in many ways. My family whom I love has always been on the heavier side from both my mother and fathers’ side so naturally one can understand that could it runs in my DNA.

Being Bullied on the account of being me

I was bullied at school for much of my childhood called all too often “Fat Boy” , “Fatty” ,”Pig” and you can only imagine what else I was called. I was often put down by a verbally abusive grandfather on a daily basis. One could imagine my self esteem suffered and I my weight went up as I turned to food for comfort. My mother who I loved did her best but struggled herself with her weight and had so from her own childhood.

I often think where the positive body movement was back then, would it have made a difference or today is this a toxic ideology. I course have no problem with loving yourself because we are all different, and many times growing up many of us are told to love ourselves, accept ourselves for who we are inside and out, but I ask this is helpful.

Diets, Fasting and Starvation

Over the course of my adult life I have dieted, fasted, and even went so far to try to starve myself to meet the image of society wants to see. I see we live in a world where It has gotten dangerous that many accept obesity and being overweight as normal and to just accept it.

For this year I have dedicated myself to getting healthy, losing weight, getting myself to a point of looking, feeling and be healthier. Some may argue that having a normal weight does not guarantee healthiness and have ready that even someone who is obese or majorly overweight can be healthy which goes against all logic to be healthy, because how does one’s heart remain healthy by carrying more weight than naturally a person should.

Family history dictates what I know to be true

My mother whom I love passed in 2015 struggled with her weight for most of her weight, also having my aunt who suffered dying young in her forties on the account of Obesity and other health issues, a cause I think about every day.

Today it appears we live in a body positive movement where influencers and even the media make it acceptable to be overweight, obese and just to have self-acceptance. I guess my question is why should we accept ourselves like that?

Why can’t we look ourselves in the mirror and want better for ourselves. I have been told that those who struggle with their weight can not always help their weight due to thyroid problems or other health issues that causes a person the inability to lose weight which I can understand but what I can not understand is how we are telling future men and women generations that its ok to live this way.

This may come across as judgmental and why can’t people just live their lives they choose fit, thin, fat, obese, overweight, small, big you name it we all have a right to live as we see fit and you would be right, but again I pose the question shouldn’t we all choose to live better, healthier lives that will give us all the best chances to live longer lives.

The Dangers of the body positivity movement

Some of you may say well you’re missing the point of the body positivity movement, we are supposed to love ourselves and accept ourselves as is, skinny, overweight, obese since we are all different, why should one size of person rule. I can certainty understand that argument, but frankly I think promoting unhealthy lifestyles and acceptability in being obese is wrong because of what this teaches future generations.

I have seen time and time again influencers who promote overeating, social media and even the media that says its ok to live unhealthy. I guess one can say to each their own, it’s their life let them be, why do I care so much, and the question is I care because I have a young daughter who is growing up in this world and will be affected by those choices she makes and frankly I wish not for our family to repeat our history. Would I see love my daughter of course, but do I wish to see her have a shorter life to the amount of strain it can have on her life and health, no I do not wish to see that.

Here are five reasons what body positivity has done and not in a good way:

  • People who are heavier-set refuse to accept the detrimental reality. 
  • It’s taking a toll on people’s physical health. 
  • Social media makes the situation worse, especially for young women. 
  • It takes a toll on one’s mental health, and not always in the best way. 
  • The health of our younger generations is at stake, and we need to step up. 

My opinion is my own, many will not agree

Many of you may not agree with my opinion, deep down I can be honest and say I hate the fact that I was the overweight fat kid in school and how horribly I was treated. Struggling each day with seeing the ugliness of my body, the fat rolls and for a young boy and man the man boobs. I have struggled, fought to be at a healthy weight and feel finally I am although I feel my weight loss journey is not done yet.

Looking back at my own family whom I love, only wish for them to be healthier giving them a longer life expectancy. There are even those in movies and television who were simply taken too soon as I often reflect on those like actor John Candy and James Gandolfini in addition to others who died from heart disease on the account of their weight.

What is the point?

Each of us has the choice on how to live our lives whether to consciously think about our health, our weight and the food we eat. Many choose not to think about it filling our bodies with junk, but I can’t fully blame ourselves as we live in a world of convenience of fast food disguised as quick and healthy, but its anything but as the healthy meal is made at home with fruits, veggies, meats and grains, one could call it clean eating. I admit for many its not possible to cook at home every day and fast food is quick, cheap and easy so why not.

Let’s really begin to think about what we eat and no there is nothing wrong with your favorite fast food once and while, the point is not to deny but to make better choices, giving us a healthier chance to live longer for ourselves and our loved ones. Ultimately if you love your pudgy, overweight and or obese self well good for you, because you should love yourself, but love yourself enough to see you can be a better, healthier you.

The question I give all of you is the body positity movement helpful to society and to yourself? and if not what are you going to do about it.

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