Body-positivity. This phrase has become a hot topic over the past few years, and unfortunately, like most topics today, has become politicized. It seems that most leftists claim to be “body-positive,” while conservatives either don’t address the subject or denounce the movement. Many conservatives who denounce the body-positivity movement claim they do so out of concern for the health of the general public. Some conservatives say that showcasing plus-sized models on magazine covers and in advertisements promotes obesity and leads to people living unhealthy lifestyles. While this is a genuine concern for some, other prominent conservatives move into a mean-spirited and mocking approach to discussing people’s bodies, particularly women’s bodies. Furthermore, it would seem there has been little to no outrage, from conservatives, about the use of anorexic or bulimic models on magazine covers and in the fashion world. Also, there is almost no outrage from conservatives about fashion magazines promoting dangerous behaviors. Many of these ads show people smoking, drinking to the point of excess, or even committing acts of violence. If the main concern is the physical health of Americans, why are many—on both sides of the body-positivity issue—silent as to the horrible lifestyle choices promoted in many magazines today?

As mentioned previously, some conservatives mock over-weight individuals, and some have even claimed this helps people lose weight. Shaming a person, calling someone rude names, or treating someone differently because of the number on the scale is not going to help a person get healthy. Doing these things will do more harm to a person’s mental and emotional health, possibly leading to eating disorders—this approach often leaves a person with psychological wounds that last for years. It does not help them become a healthier person physically or mentally. Many people treat over-weight or obese individuals as if they are lazy couch potatoes who sit around and eat all day. This is not the case for some over-weight or obese individuals, who have underlying medical, psychological, or even genetic reasons for why they are over-weight/obese. Physical health is important, but true physical health will not come at the expense of mental health.

I am not against encouraging a healthy lifestyle. I am for healthy lifestyles. In fact, many plus-sized people are active, eat healthily, and practice self-care. Furthermore, no one, regardless of body size, can live a healthy lifestyle by forsaking their mental health. We do not show love, kindness, compassion, or empathy when we make unnecessary comments about a person’s physical appearance. We damage people when we make rude comments about how they look, and then claim we are doing so out of “concern for their health.” This is condescending and disgusting behavior. As a Christian, I cannot condone such behavior. As an American, I should not support treating fellow Americans as less than because of their physical appearance. We should encourage people to love their bodies without being narcissistic, and to be healthy for their body’s sake; not to please another human being, fit into a societal mold, or to gain acceptance from others.

I think ultimately, we are all missing the point. Almost all of the magazines or even ads for cosmetics, perfumes, and clothing brands that are out there objectify women, and have an inordinate obsession with the sex lives of women. If we complain about anything in or on magazines, I think it should be the sexist and degrading way many magazines talk about women’s sex lives.

I do not consider myself to be part of the body-positivity movement. This movement has, as I mentioned in my introduction, become politicized. This should never have happened. The body-positivity movement has become an us-versus-them movement and an oddly hypocritical one. The body-positivity movement has become part of the Democratic party’s intersectional agenda. Many people who are part of the body-positivity movement view conservatives in a negative light, simply for being on the other side of the aisle. Many plus-sized members of the movement treat thinner people’s body-image struggles as unimportant or as feigned issues. Some of the voices of the movement also claim to be strong, independent women and yet they seek validation from other people. Still, members of the party that claims to be body-positive, the Democratic party, talk rudely about female conservatives’ bodies. However, this does not mean we shouldn’t be “body-positive” per se. We should love, take care of, and appreciate our bodies in a healthy mindset, not worshipping our bodies, but simply appreciating them for the unique masterpieces they are. Some of these masterpieces are small, some are large, some are tall, some short, and some are somewhere in between but all are of equal worth and value.

As a Christian, I know that every human being is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), all people are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14 ), and that God judges us by the content of our hearts, not by our outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). A lot of the body shaming that goes on in our world today would stop if we went back to the biblical principle of treating others the way we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31). Whether you are a Christian or not, I believe you can agree with the above statement. Body-positivity should not be political, it should be individual.

Abbie is a Christian, Conservative, coffee lover, and book nerd who loves America. She has three dogs, and loves British TV shows.

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