One of the first negative comments I’ve received after posting a full-body picture online was that I was “promoting obesity.” I laughed so hard but also felt extremely confused. I looked over at my #OOTD pictures and looked for the subliminal message I was writing on them that supposedly encouraged people to be fat. I later realized that it was my body and my boldness. How dare a fat girl who doesn’t have a classic hourglass shape look so happy showing off her body? Why isn’t she hiding her body?
It didn’t matter if I posted a full body picture where I was wearing a two-piece bikini or simply a selfie that showed my round cheeks and double chin, I was a fat girl who didn’t hide so I was promoting obesity. The idea of a fat girl appreciating her body goes against so many forced beauty norms we have all accepted for years to be the right ones.
A study published by research journal Obesity, claims that the “normalization of obesity” is causing the “underassessment of overweight and obesity status in England.” The “study” starts by blaming the plus-size fashion options fat women like me have for making us unaware of our size and aiding obesity. “Seeing the huge potential of the fuller‐sized fashion market, plus‐size retailers may have indeed contributed to the normalization of the stigma associated with overweight and obesity,” wrote Raya Muttarak. The experiment was based on measuring the subjects body mass and asking them a few questions.
This scientific experiment sounded like a poll taken on our Instagram stories. Jessica Alleva Ph.D. shares my opinion. “This is a prime example of sloppy science, sloppy peer review, and sloppy journalism,” wrote Jessica Alleva Ph.D. She continues by explaining how flawed the study is:
“Muttarak’s research merely looked at the associations between people’s BMI, their self-perception of their body weight, and whether they reported that they were trying to lose weight. The research did not – in any way – investigate or even assess whether the body-positive movement has had any impact on people’s BMI, their perception of their body weight, or their attempts to lose weight. To draw such conclusions, experimental or longitudinal research would be necessary, for example, wherein people’s exposure to body-positive media imagery is measured across time, along with their body weight and other outcomes,” wrote Dr. Alleva.
The diet industry has always prayed on the insecurities of women and their bodies. It has never cared to teach women how to find healthier long-term options but temporary aids that would keep them coming back. The body positive movement reminds women that they don’t have to hate their bodies or stop from living happy lives, whether they want to lose or gain weight. The body positive movement for me is about learning to accept your body and appreciate it.
Before I found body positivity I knew nothing about healthier eating habits and saw exercise as a punishment because of my “bad” diet choices. I hated my body so I never took care of it. As I learned to appreciate my body I learned to treat it better. That meant being active for pleasure and discovering other food options that didn’t hurt my body. How do you take pride in a body that you hate? When you learn to love your body you take better care of it. Yet, I still strongly believe that women owe society nothing, not even health. It is extremely ignorant to not take into consideration financial status, pre-existing conditions and many other factors that force obese people to place their dietary options at the end of their needs.
If anything the body positive movement is helping take down the biggest industry causing and aiding body issues, the diet industry. “Weight Watchers, Medifast, and Jenny Craig have also seen revenues wither over the past few years. Sales of diet pills have dropped 20 percent in the last year, according to the Mintel report,” NPR reported.
To blame a group of men and women that are proud of their bodies to an epidemic that is currently affecting the world seems like an easy way out. Why aren’t we questioning our government and (FSIS) Food Safety and Inspection Service? Why aren’t we serving healthier food options for our kids in school? Why are we taught to have negative feelings towards food? Why do areas where POC’s live find it cheaper to buy processed foods and junk food? Why do POC have a harder time buying fresh fruits, meats, fish, poultry and veggies? Why do people with lower incomes having a hard time providing their families with better diet options? It is no surprise POC’s and people with lower incomes are found to be much more obese and have poor diets. Let’s find the answer and solutions to those problems before we blame it on fat girls online wearing crop tops.
If by teaching women to appreciate and be kinder their bodies whether it be by encouraging wearing something they have been so afraid to wear or informing them on the importance of making healthier mental and physical decisions, then yes I do promote obesity.