How Body Positivity Movement Has Turned Toxic

photo of people s legs

When I started this blog, I did not want to touch this subject because I know how it is affecting people. I know how people can get very defensive when this subject is brought up, and I don’t want to reopen the wound, or make it worse… but I think something needs to be said.

It started when I was watching one of Dr. Mike’s video. Yes, Dr. Mike — the legitimate doctor who did study medical, and shared his professional knowledge and opinions, and somehow became a popular youtuber. That Dr. Mike — who also happened to be smoking hot. (Sorry, Dr. Mike, someone needs to say it).

He was accused of fatphobia on reddit. And the reason for the accusation was… he said something along the line of ‘some people needs to lose weight to get healthier’. Which is not surprising for me that a doctor is promoting a healthy weight and lifestyle.

But accusing a doctor for being a fat-phobic because of that? Even further, this accusation spread to the medical professionals as being fat-phobic as well. Why? Because some of these people were told by their GPs to lose weight every time they go to see their GP. Well… they’re obviously not healthy because they have to keep seeing their GP, and their GP thinks that their obesity might be the cause of it… right?

No. Apparently they wanted the whole check up first before the GP can even suggest them to lose weight. And, suggesting that obesity might be the cause of their illness without even checking is their definition of fat shaming.

How did we come to this point?

I know… I know how bad people has been treated in the past because of their body. In classical literature, for example, Victor Hugo’s Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame where people with disability being treated like a monster and a pariah. People who don’t fit the society beauty standard has also been treated the same. I know… I know the importance of this Body Positivity movement.

photo of people s legs
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

We should be moving towards the acceptance, that we have different body shapes. We have different skin complexions. We have different hair colour and textures. I thought for so long… that Body positivity means that we are celebrating this…

And not using the movement to attack and shame other people who don’t fit the movement’s standard.

As I observed, I realised that mainly there are 2 ways that Body Positivity movement has become toxic.

Health Facts Denial

You keep telling yourself that you can be fat and fit at the same time. Sure. NHS has published the result of some research that shows that not all obese people are metabolically unhealthy. Means that even though they’re obese they’re not necessarily at risk of cardiovascular disease.

30% of the participants who are obese (using the waistline as the standard), and 44% of the participants who are BMI obese are not at risk of cardiovascular disease.

But NHS also stated that this information is not accurate, because as the observation period is between 1973-2003, it hasn’t been followed up whether these same people developed any heart problems later in life. The report also only recorded the fatalities, but not the non-fatal health diseases are not accurately reported (65% response rate). This study also only covered white middle aged men, so if you are a woman, or if you are not white… this is definitely says nothing about you.

photo of person measuring woman s waist
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

BUT… This fact has been heavily cherry picked to support the idea that you can be obese and healthy by both Body Positivity and Fat Acceptance movement. This is the ‘scientific study’ these people will always present to you when you give them multiple scientific researches, which has been tested over and over, with waaay more accuracy, and more likely to be more representative of general population, that obesity increased the risk of cardiovascular diseases

One study… That’s enough.

When the UK government launched the obesity plan to fight COVID, as study has shown that obese people are more vulnerable to COVID, you thought people would be taking this opportunity to get themselves healthy, right? Instead some Body Positivity activists using this very positive and very responsible government scheme as a way to fight back by saying something along the line: “I felt I was being blamed because the way I am… And if I caught COVID, it’s my fault because I am fat“.

What kind of twisted toxic logic is that? No one’s blaming her, to start with, in fact the government is offering help, so she won’t get COVID. And this is not an isolated incident. Many times, just like what happened to Dr. Mike, any help or suggestion that their weight might lead to illness will then meet with hostility, or victim narrative.

Hostility Towards Others Who Wants To Be Different

When Adele lost weight, many of her fans just somehow got personally attacked. They identified themselves with Adele, and was not ready when Adele decided to make a better life option for herself and for her child. In fact The Independent went even further by published this.

Celebrating Adele weight loss is fat phobia? I mean… WHAT?!

And such anger headline like “F**k Off Skinny Adele..”?

All of these for the fact that she is now healthier, and happier? And I don’t know… three stones lighter too?

So much for positivity.

Attacks to people who are skinny, and even on a healthy weight are not rare. Some celebrities are openly making fun of people who are skinny with their music, or their statements like Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass, for example.

Or this!

Really?

Now the bullied becomes the bully, eh? Calling other girls as ‘bones’ just because they are different shapes from you? I thought Body Positivity is celebrating all shapes and sizes? But not skinny, now I should I assume?

Where We Are Now

How such a wonderful, and inclusive movement like Body Positivity has turned ugly like this is beyond me. It is a shame because it was really for a good cause — getting people kinder to others, self love, self care… and stuff like that.

And now if you want to fight the toxicity, you will be accused of trying to such a lovely movement. You’ll be accused for anti progression. And ultimately, of course you will be accused of fat phobia. While this has nothing to do with fat at all.

So yeah…

I expected some angry messages, probably some accusations too… but of course, after what I just said it is predicted. But I am glad that I have it out of my system.

I’ll see you again soon, hopefully with something less… ranty, and more informative.

Have a great day guys..

xx

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3 Replies to “How Body Positivity Movement Has Turned Toxic”

  1. I totally agree with you about the extreme and toxic turn the body positive movement has taken! Iā€™m in the research stages of a paper Iā€™m writing about this topic for one of my school assignments, so finding your blog posts on the topic was perfect timing! Well done.
    Did you see the news headlines where Jillian Michaels was wrongfully accused of fat shaming Lizzo? As you said, the bullied have become the bullies. What a shame…

    1. Oh wow… I am glad this blog can contribute a bit to your school assignment. Please let me know how the assignment goes, because I would like to know about your researches and findings šŸ™‚

      Oh yes… I like Jillian Michaels, because she always talked sense, and I agree that people took what she said way out of context and accused her like that. xx

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