The body positive movement has the view that "every body is beautiful" and has been championed acceptance and inclusion for years. Despite this, critics are quick to point out not enough has been done to include all people or that it indulges unhealthy behaviors. What has this movement actually accomplished?
Yes, the body positivity movement has had positive impact in the world
The body positive movement has sparked a radical shift away from eras where people's clothes and dietary habits were forced to change with the latest fashion. As the movement gains traction, more people accept who they are and can live their lives free of physical insecurity.
Body positivity has allowed people to feel comfortable in their own bodies
Through an intentional movement of inclusion for bodies of color, disabled bodies, and bodies of all sizes, people of marginalized identities can feel loved, accepted, and confident as themselves.
Body positivity disincentivizes dangerous eating disorders and weight-loss initiatives
When society upholds dangerous standards of body types, people of all genders feel pressured to conform to them - even to the extent that they will develop an eating disorder or take dangerous weight-loss medications.
No, the body positive movement has not achieved what it set out to
Whilst admirable in its aims, the body positivity movement has not achieved what it set out to. Body shaming persists and people are still defined by their appearance. The movement has also been commercialised and sanitised, meaning it is not as inclusive as it was initially.
Body positivity has been commercialised and sanitised and is less inclusive as a result
As the body positivity movement grew in popularity and gained media attention, it has been co-opted for profit, diluting the message. Body positive visibility today does not reflect society, with some groups excluded or neglected.
Body positivity has only marginally expanded the range of which bodies are celebrated
The body positivity movement has slightly widened the range of bodies that are celebrated to include ‘curvy’ bodies, but other features are not celebrated and shaming still exists. A new ideal has emerged which is different but just as harmful as the old one.
Body positivity does not address the root causes of insecurity about our bodies
Body positivity does not challenge the importance placed on appearance as a signifier of a person’s value. Whilst inclusivity is important, we should try to move beyond defining people by their appearance.
People who misunderstand the body positivity movement undermine their goals
The goals of the body positivity movement center around promoting acceptance of people's differences. Despite this, some people take these views to extremes, using them to validate unhealthy behavior or promote their own agenda. These people undermine the progress the movement has made and serve as fuel for its critics.
Body positivity normalises obesity
Acceptance of different body shapes and sizes should not come with a trade off to health. The normalization of "plus size" is dangerous to the health of many and should not be celebrated.