Why Body Positivity Doesn’t Actually Promote Obesity

About 91% of American women are dissatisfied with the shape of their bodies, and only 5% actually have the so-called perfect body promoted by the media. Meanwhile, body positivity, a movement that aims to promote a positive body image, is often severely criticized for promoting health problems such as obesity.

We want to explain to our readers what body positivity really is, why it is not about stimulating health problems, and why it is essential for all of us.

Body Positivity, By Definition, Is About Acceptance

Why Body Positivity Doesn’t Actually Promote Obesity
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Before we jump right into the discussion, let’s first take a look at the definitions.

The term body positivity itself is defined as “the idea that people should feel happy and proud of their body, whatever its shape or size.”

The movement in its current state was formed in the early 2010s. It was a response to beauty standards that have been shaped by society throughout history and implemented in people, specifically women.

Misunderstandings Occur Because Of The Misinterpretation

Why Body Positivity Doesn’t Actually Promote Obesity
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The reasonable question is: if body positivity refers only to self-acceptance, why then do many people think it promotes obesity? Well, there is a reason.

Body positivity, like movement, is pretty new. Therefore, there is no single, well-established interpretation of its meaning. Different people can interpret it differently.

Body positivity can include meanings like “valuing your body despite its flaws,” “feeling confident about your body,” and “accepting your body shape and size.” And although these definitions all have similar roots, there is still room for misinterpretation.

Body Positivity Does Not Promote Obesity, But A Negative Body Image Does

Why Body Positivity Doesn’t Actually Promote Obesity
© tessholliday / Instagram

Stacy Berman, Ph.D. in Natural Medicine, suggests that if we do not value the different body shapes, we will create a movement opposite to body positivity – “body negativity”, that is, we will establish and promote a negative body image.

Negative body image “is related to various physical and mental problems of women, girls and adolescents, including obesity, anorexia, bulimia, depression, increased stress, heart problems and anxiety,” says Berman.

Knowing that about 91% of American women are dissatisfied with their bodies, the consequences of “body negativity” seem highly undesirable, to say the least.

Body Positivity Is Not Just About Weight

Why Body Positivity Doesn’t Actually Promote Obesity
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Body positivity does not promote obesity because, along with weight positivity, it normalizes many other characteristics of the body. The movement seeks to destigmatize various bodily characteristics that society perceives as unfavorable, although, in reality, they are normal.

For example, the positivity of the scar, either a cesarean scar or a postoperative scar. And in recent years, acne positivity is becoming increasingly popular.

Did you think that body positivity was promoting obesity? Have you changed your mind? Let us know in the comment section below.

Preview photo credit winnieharlow / Instagramtessholliday / Instagram


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