Kristen Bryant-Bodies

Opinion: Body Positivity has Become a Bad Thing.



I am appalled by the fact that women are victimised by negative positivity that surrounds them every single day, and don’t even realise it.  Phrases like, “I’m not like other girls” and “I’m not like that girl in that magazine, because she’s fake and I'm not.” Phrases that demean another person to make yourself feel better. I am sick of seeing them in every aspect of my life. It is so ridiculous to me, because they cancel each other out!


In college I gained about 50 lbs and spent considerable less time taking care of my body. My family has a history of diabetes and heart disease, something that weight has a huge factor in. Throughout college I have heard two sides of the weight loss coin. From my parents, it’s “you need to lose weight and watch how much you eat.” However, from social media, magazines and even my friends I have received, “You are perfect the way you are, you’re not like those girls, you don’t need to be.” In some sick twist of events, both sides have valid points, but are also extremely poisonous to one's physical and mental health. 


I think that it is fantastic that we are trying to be more positive towards body image, as well as have endless opportunities for people to be more active with the goal of losing, or gaining weight. Society sells us a perfect body image, and the fact of the matter is, very few people are like that. And your favorite models? They’re sometimes too big too. I am not saying that you should not love your body, because you should, no matter how it looks. But I am saying that your physical image is not what matters. Body positivity has gone too far. We are telling people who have health problems because of their weight that it’s okay to be that way. We are making it harder for doctors to treat us, and we are making it look like models are fake posters from hell. We need to stop and think about what we are doing.


When I tell my friends that I need to lose weight, I get a response that sounds something like, “Oh but you're perfect the way you are.” Guess what princess? I’m not! I am at risk for diabetes and heart disease, my immune system is weaker than the average person, I have chronic joint pain, I can’t go up a single flight of stairs without getting out of breath, and despite walking two miles every day, I am still gaining weight. This means that I need to get my health, and weight back on track. This is a prime example of how we need to start being positive towards our health instead of how we look.


Yes, how we look is proven to be a vague reflection of our health. Oftentimes, things that society would have you believe are bad, are consequences of your health habits and how well you take care of yourself. However, just as often those same things are genetically passed to you. But that is what is so marvelous, we need to take more care in looking at the individual and determining whether you were born to be fat or skinny. To be blunt, naturally skinny people should not do things that make them fat and naturally fat people should not do things that make them skinny. People should be more comfortable in their natural shape and be looking at what's inside. Like really, look at BMI, blood pressure, hormone balance, cholesterol levels, anything that indicates your body's health. The problem really lies in our diets. If you take care of yourself (exercise daily, eat right for your type, practice positive mental thought processes, get necessary vitamins and supplements), then your body will reflect that in the way that it is meant to.


It is true that I am not like other girls, but it is also true that I am like other girls because we share a lot of the same passions. We need to stop putting each other down in order to make ourselves feel better, and we need to stop making people feel like it’s okay to be doing things to your body that could quite literally kill you, like gain vast amounts of weight, or lose the same amount. Next time you encounter someone who doesn’t fit the perfect model, maybe consider that they’re supposed to be that way. Remember that body positivity goes both ways. And it's better to be aware and positive about your health, than your image. So stop saying “I’m not like those girls because (insert negative reason)” say, “I'm like her because (insert positive reason).”


Negativity goes a long way, even if it is inserted with something positive.