Yesterday as I was searching the body positive tag on Tumblr, I witnessed an incident that made me rethink the body positive movement.
If you saunter into this tag, you'll find many plus size women flaunting their curves, showing off their pride in their bodies.
They may include a short story about how their confidence used to be dismal, but now they have learned to accept their bodies, flaws and all.
Of course, they receive praise in the form of likes and reblogs, an Internet standing ovation, if you will.
And of course I am 284949% in favour of this demonstration of self-love.
But yesterday I saw a girl, an approximate size 4, who posted pictures of herself with a very similar story to her plus size counterparts. She had lost her confidence as a teenager, but gained it back as she grew into herself.
I expected roars of applause.
After all, I'd seen this type of post before, and the kind of response it usually sparked.
Yet there was no love, no praise.
Instead there was a lot of hate.
"You're just fishing for compliments"
"What do you know about being shamed for your body?"
"Go back to your thinspo blogs"
Is body positivity restricted to those who fit a certain body criteria?
Doesn't that go against the basic pillars of body positivity and self-acceptance?
Indeed, I do not know if this was an isolated incident, or an example of continuous thin shaming, but here's something I know for sure:
Body positivity excludes no one.
If it does, it is no longer body positive. It becomes the media.
The definition of body positivity is a celebration of all body types.
Yes, certain body types, such as curvier ones, are not as celebrated in the media, hence I understand why some might want to find their niche in an internet community.
But we must not forget that insecurities stem from our brains, not our bodies.
So you could have the body of a Victoria's Secret Angel, and still feel like a big old sack of nothing.
Here's why those insults are irrelevant, and harmful to the body positive community:
1. Fishing for compliments?
Perhaps, but if we scroll through Tumblr and see thousands of women being encouraged to show off their bodies, and being praised for their courage and grace, wouldn't we want to take part in that fun too? Self-love is essential, but getting some positive feedback is not a bad deal either.
2. You don't know "Body shame"?
I have to disagree. The number of thin girls I know who have been called out for looking "anorexia" or "like a twig" is simply astounding. Perhaps they haven't been misrepresented like plus size girls as have on TV, but it doesn't mean they haven't been misrepresented in the real word.
3. Go back to your thinspo blog?
The thinspo community is a dangerous one, and again, a mental rather than a physical threat, so asking someone to go back to their "thinspo" blogs is not only incorrect, but rather insulting. You are comparing someone to an eating disorder friendly black hole. Not cool, children.
I love the body positive community, don't get me wrong, it inspires many of my posts.
But we must include all bodies in this positivity, not just the ones we identify with.
If not, we lose the entire purpose of a positive, body friendly community.
Over and out
Over and out