Body positivity is for every BODY and this new exclusion shenanigan has gone too far. There, I said it.
I first joined the eating disorder community several years ago with the username “Workdatash”. (it’s now private and I rarely use it). I created it after I was weight restored, but I was definitely still not in the right mindset of recovery. I wanted to finally kick all of my ED habits and work my way into the fitness world. Thus, I created the account. I wanted to find a sense of support and community of like minded people who had been through similar things and were encouraging. Plus it helped that many threw positivity around like confetti while also being real.
When I first joined I followed accounts that…you know, I can’t even describe them. They were all around amazing. I could always count on them to be uplifting and encouraging and they were always so real. I kept seeing thin and thick women posting their rolls and telling everyone that it was normal and to love yourself no matter what. Eventually, after seeing women all of shapes and sizes love their bodies and support others and myself, I began to love myself too. I even started posting my “tummy rolls” photos and sharing them with the world. It was an uplifting adventure and I’m so thankful for all of the people I got the chance to meet and impact while on that account.
However, I wish I still felt that way about all of the body positivity community.
If you know my story, I was an obese child. I was told to lose weight or that I would die slowly, in so many words. I was tormented for my weight even though bingeing was the only way for me to feel happy. Bullying lead to more eating and the cycle just continued.
I eventually decided that I would actively lose some weight and get healthy. I did, don’t get me wrong. I lost about 20 pounds and everyone noticed and commended me for a job well done. I really only cut out soda, started walking and slowly running, and chose healthier food.
That diet I started with the intention of getting healthy, ended up almost taking my life. I had family circumstances arise that were far from ideal, I still hated myself, and I loved the comments from people. I developed Anorexia and lived off of 400 calories for quite some time. I thought being obese was bad enough, but this was far worse. I literally wanted to die during this stage of my life. But I didn’t and I’m here to today to write this.
The body positive community was amazing a few years ago, but now it’s more of an exclusion thing.
Some of the big “supposedly” body positive advocates have been not so body positive lately. I figure it will be an easier read if I list them and then discuss them.
Transformation Photos won’t kill you. Your ED will.
A lot of the community got behind the “Boycott the Before” photos. I understand the point that some people were trying to make with the “trend”, but I saw it doing more harm than good.
I saw girls in the midst of their EDs that saw the boycott the before and negative talk towards transformation photos, feel bad about themselves. Why? Because they had shared their transformation photos during their ED and then felt bad for “triggering everyone else” and having to “validate themselves” and some even deleted their photos. Bashing transformation photos seemed to have a more negative impact than I would have liked for there to have been.
These big BoPo people were saying that transformation photos were harmful to those recovering from eating disorders and thus we should not post them because it’s like trying to validate ourselves and the fact that we had EDs and made EDs all about weight. *Insert my face palm here*
I love these photos…with a fiery passion. I LOVE transformation photos actually. They helped me so much in my recovery. Now, I know everyone’s recovery is different, but after talking to people still suffering from eating disorders they too have said they are encouraged by these photos.
I love seeing others celebrate things they are proud of or are honest and talk about how they may have taken a step backwards. This goes for ED and weight loss transformations, I might add. Like, I am cheering for you and giving you encouragement when you need it.
They said that it makes “EDs all about weight.” Well, if you’re trying to educate people on EDs, you should have already mentioned that it is hardly about weight for many and usually more about control, stressers, and internal conflicts. ED transformation photos are my favorite though because I can see the smile on their face and see that it is actually genuine again. I can see that they’re full of life and they are healthy again. It makes my heart so happy. Every time I see someone post these, there are usually long captions detailing their journeys and if people can’t take time to read them, that’s on them. But I’m going to celebrate their happiness with them either way.
These photos will not cause you to die from an eating disorder or even necessarily make it worse. However, your eating disorder will, if you let it. Transformation photos have been around for quite a while, but people are just now starting to not like them because they were not “deathly thin” or had weight change. THAT’S NOT WHAT EATING DISORDERS ARE ALL ABOUT. They are MENTAL illnesses. Everyone can post a transformation photo about their ED and STILL make an impact whether there was weight change or body differences. The point is to post about them and bring awareness to eating disorders aka the mental illness with the highest mortality rate. I’ve posted my far share of comparison photos where outsiders couldn’t tell the weight difference at all, but I knew that one was healthy and one was not and I let them know that. Many were shocked honestly and it was eye opening to them.
Being into fitness doesn’t mean you don’t need BoPo
I’ve also had to endure seeing some of the BoPo community talk down about those that are into fitness and use the #BodyPositive and #EDWarrior hashtags. Why? Because it’s “triggering to everyone who sees it while scrolling through hashtags” if they have an eating disorder. Their argument was to just stop using the hashtags together while also using fitness hashtags.
Give me a second here because I just can’t…..
It’s like saying “Oh you went into fitness? You’re now no longer able to show body positivity nor let people know you conquered an ED through hashtags.”
Everyone needs body positivity. It doesn’t matter if it’s coming from someone with an ED, someone who’s obese, someone into fitness, someone that fits societal standards….it does not matter. We ALL NEED IT.
I’m into fitness, improving myself, and seeing how much I can do with my body. That doesn’t, for ONE second, mean I hate it just because I want to make gains. That doesn’t even make sense to me. I can want to grow my booty and make gains while still loving the body I have, especially after anorexia.
The entire argument they presented towards hashtag usage was uncalled for. Yet again, it was helping with exclusion because why would a fit person/person into fitness really need body positivity when bigger girls need it more..
IT. DOES. NOT. MATTER. WHAT. YOU. ARE. INTO. OR. WHO. YOU. ARE. IT’S. FOR. EVERYONE.
Body Positivity does NOT need exclusions
Recently I’ve noticed aforementioned “BOPO advocates” pretty much skinny shaming and saying that skinny is a privilege and big girls need the body positive movement.
Hold up. Reverse. What? Excuse me?
Body postivity is for ALL BODY TYPES OF ALL SHAPES, SIZES, AND COLORS.
I’ve really seen a negativity from the larger women of the community and it is geared towards thinner women. I’ve seen one account (which I will not name) say that thinner women who bend over and show their rolls are not really as body positive.
Yet again. Excuse me?
Their reasoning behind this was because larger women lived with rolls 24/7 while thinner women did not and they had the privilege of not having that issue. (Note: I’m still trying to wrap my head around how showing rolls at any weight is not really body positive).
I do get what they’re trying to do, I understand. Larger women actually make less money compared to their thinner counterparts based upon research. Larger people, especially women, are also seen as lazier, unhealthy, and less intelligent when compared with thinner women (according to research). It sucks. I know. I was obese. I dealt with bullying from children and adults, and I have family ridiculed because they are larger women. It really F*cking blows. But trying to uplift one while bringing down another is not how you fix that and it goes against what BoPo is.
I’m not naive. I have skinny privilege. I range usually between a 4-6, but in reality between a 0-10 because sizes are stupid. However, I have rolls. I have loose skin. I have stretch marks. Saying body positivity is more for those that are larger is an insult. I HAVE been the larger one and I’ve been the smaller one and I’ve been the anorexic one and I’ve been the healthier one. Just because I’m thin now, does not mean that I don’t need body positivity.
Body positivity is for EVERY SINGLE BODY. It’s not just for if you’re thick or thin, purple or green, happy or sad, fits societal standards or not. It’s about coming together to uplift every single body type and shape no matter what you may look like. Saying one needs it more than the other is not body positive and I will not stand for it. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum and not once was I less deserving of being body positive or having those support me in loving my body.
Girls, WE. ARE. FABULOUS.