Body positivity or body toxicity?


Body positivity today refers to the definition that everyone in society deserves to have a positive body image, regardless of pop culture’s views on the ideal shapes, size and appearance. 


At a first glance, body positivity looks like the perfect solution to body judgements influenced by social media today. However, when digging deeper into the topic, we quickly realise that this positivity can steer into the wrong direction.


Self improvement vs self acceptance dilemma

As long as you’re healthy, what you look like doesn’t matter. But can you be healthy at any size?


In my opinion, weight is not a holistic indicator of your health. However, weight and size are nevertheless what our society uses to estimate our cardiovascular health, strength, and the risk of diseases.


Body positivity started to minimize the hate towards people’s bodies, especially now that social media can be so influential, what we see through the screen hugely impacts beliefs and views. So far, so good.


The problem begins when influential people decide to transform their body. No matter what the reason is, they receive a lot of backlashes for not being ‘body positive’. A prime example of this is Adele, someone I’m sure most of you, through the screen, has heard of in some way or another. In 2021 Adele received a lot of shade on the internet just because she wasn’t a part of the ‘plus size society’ anymore. To this, Adele responded, “I was body positive then and now.” 


So then, what is body positivity, really? The world seems to be spiraling around the fact that self improvement and self acceptance are mutually exclusive and cannot occur simultaneously. If you become leaner, you are no longer positive about your body because … why would you change your body if you already accept it? The theory sounds reasonable but is completely flawed. Regardless of our actions or inactions, our body is constantly changing. 


Say your doctor recommends you to start working out more to improve your mental wellbeing and you end up dropping a few pounds. Suddenly, that means you’re not body positive since you’re changing the way it looks.


For anyone who is in the plus size society who are trying to workout for the mental or physical benefits that come with are automatically assorted into the pile of ‘fatphobic’ people. When body positivity, something that is supposed to support people of all sizes, becomes even more toxic than it already is, threatening people to stay their size to prove they are indeed loving their body, is a whirlpool our society has fallen into. Body positivity is no longer for the benefit of our health, but for labels.


Are ‘skinny’ people allowed to be body positive?

Some of us are thinking, well duh… why not? Well, my friend, the answer is … no. At least, apparently not online. Despite the body positivity movement trying to embrace all body types, where toned people can feel good about their body and post photos online, the returning comments can be very dark. Not only are these posts of them loving their body, the action is categorised as them ‘showing off’, as well as body shaming… promoting body dysmorphia etc. In reality they’re just feeling good about themselves which is a part of being body positive… right?


Body shaming not only occurs for the plus size society, but also for the people considered ‘skinny’. Are they eating? Chances of anorexia? 


How inclusive is the body positivity movement really?