There are a lot of conflicting messages being sent these days regarding women’s bodies. The body positivity movement is alive and well, making strides like we’ve never seen before. On the other hand, the fitness movement has been going strong for decades now. Lots of people have access to various kinds of workout classes, fitness centers, and restaurants with healthy organic food options. It’s great. But there still seem to be quite a few folks out who see the movements as opposed to each other and truly believe that body positivity and acceptance promotes obesity. Here is what I have to say to them:
Dear person who believes the plus-size movement promotes obesity,
Let me begin by explaining that not all plus-size models are obese or unhealthy. I repeat not all plus-size models are obese or unhealthy. In fact plus-size model Ashley Graham lives a super healthy lifestyle. She works out regularly at a hardcore gym called The DogPound in NYC, with her trainer and the gym’s co-founder, Dawin Pena.
She also maintains a healthy diet that consists of green smoothies and juices, quinoa and brown rice veggie bowls, baked salmon, and salads. Did I mention she’s also not obese? Graham ranges between a size 14 and 16. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to simply be larger just from genetics. I have friends who are a lot curvier and larger than me, who actually eat way less than I do. Just saying.
In fact, plenty of plus-size and curvy women take part in exercise.Plus-size model Denise Bidot, is another woman who lives a very healthy lifestyle despite the misconceptions people seem to have about her body and her health. She workouts out regularly and eats well. Lauretta Johnnie, is a size 22 personal trainer in London who runs a fitness company specifically for plus-size people called Full Figured Fitness, because you know fuller figured folks do actually work out too.
Heads up: You can’t read someone’s health based on their size! Studies have shown that you can be fat, fit, or thin and unhealthy. A 2012 study in the European Heart Journal found that some overweight and obese people were found to be at no greater risk of developing or dying from heart disease or cancer, compared with normal weight people just as long as they were metabolically fit despite any excess weight they might have had. Research has proven that weight and size is often not a reliable barometer for health. You can be larger and metabolically healthy and skinner and not.
In other words a skinny person who might be perceived as fit and healthy, could actually be less healthy than someone who’s larger than them and that’s just #facts.
When you see plus-size models in fashion campaigns, it’s not telling young girls to stay home and eat cheeseburgers, it’s telling them that they are beautiful too. That’s what people don’t seem to get about the body positivity movement.
We live in a society where we only see one version of what’s considered beautiful and that’s almost always a very skinny white woman. When women and young girls don’t see bodies like their own portrayed as beautiful, it affects the way they view themselves. Seeing women of all sizes being portrayed as beautiful sends the message that beauty is not subjected to just one size because the reality is – it isn’t.
Self-acceptance isn’t easy. It takes time and it takes practice. But boy, does it help when you’re able to see images of other women who look just like you portrayed on the cover of magazines and in gorgeous ads. That’s what the body positive movement is about. It’s not about glorifying obesity. It’s about recognizing that you are beautiful and enough, regardless of your size. You deserve to feel beautiful and comfortable in your size and in your skin, no matter what your body looks like and no one has the right to tell you otherwise. The end.