Body positivity once began as a powerful antidote against the media’s obsession with impossible beauty ideals. Since then the movement has drifted away from once embracing the skin that you’re in to now glorifying and normalizing an unhealthy lifestyle.
In the United States, we have an obesity epidemic. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and, in many cases, it’s preventable. Heart disease-related deaths will continue to grow each year if we continue to push this idea that obesity is another standard of “beauty” when it’s not.
Earlier this week, singer songwriter Melissa Viviane Jefferson, best known as Lizzo, received a barrage of criticism from her fan base for documenting a 10-day smoothie cleanse on her social media posts. Lizzo further added in a follow up post that she was “proud of her results,” and that the smoothie cleanse itself improved her sleeping and overall her mental health. Of course, this did not sit well with majority of her fan base. Lizzo’s “fans” lashed out against the singer via social media to express their frustration and disappointment in her.
How does telling those who are heavily overweight that they’re “perfect the way they are,” contribute to their “self-worth?” What am I missing here? Truth of the matter is that an unhealthy body is not “beautiful,” it’s irresponsible.
Have you heard of the term “fatphobia?” Yes, it’s a real term. Fatphobia is the fear and/or hatred of fat bodies. In today’s “progressive” society, if you make a negative remark about someone who’s dangerously overweight you will be labeled “fatphobic.”
Look, I have tremendous empathy for anyone who is overweight. I personally know first-hand what it’s like. Being overweight is physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. I have struggled with being overweight and have been harshly ridiculed for it. I have since changed my bad eating habits, lost weight, and have learned to truly love myself by taking better care of myself.
Last year, Tess Holliday appeared in the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. The headline read: A Supermodel Roars: Tess Holliday wants the haters to kiss her ass. Holliday is dangerously overweight, weighting over 300lbs. I was shocked at the level of admiration that was being thrown her way. What message does this send to young girls? Just like we don’t glorify anorexic models, we shouldn’t be glorifying obese models.
Actively endangering your life by living an unhealthy lifestyle isn’t “self-love.” Acknowledging that obesity leads to other health issues isn’t “hateful.” People who are often overweight or obese suffer from a number of underlying health issues such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and much more.
Being overweight is not healthy and it shouldn’t be glorified period. Just like we don’t glorify alcoholism or drug addiction we shouldn’t be glorifying obesity. Glorifying obesity is not a step forward for “body positivity.”