Body positivity, according to Wikipedia is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image while challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body. The movement advocates the acceptance of all bodies no matter the form, size, or appearance.
The goal of the movement is to address unrealistic beauty standards and to build confidence in one’s self and others.
The movement started in 1996, but has gathered even more steam in recent times, mainly as a way to encourage women to accept their bodies, while improving health and well-being. It became a much talked about topic so as to discourage body shaming.
Body shaming, is humiliating or mocking someone because of their body shape or size.
As body positivity got more popular, the movement changed to one that fought for attractiveness and social acceptance, especially of the plus sizes and not health.
Tessa Holiday, the world’s first size 22 model, even said, “If you want someone to preach health over self-love, I’m not your girl.”
Messages like this drown out the need for people to be health conscious and take care of themselves.
The promotion of body positivity above health has led to complacency, in the sense that some people who are overweight and/or Obese ‘hide’ behind the body positivity, without thinking of the health implications of their sizes.
Where will the line be drawn between obesity and self love which is the message of body positivity, because that line needs to be drawn. What message would arouse the consciousness of people that health, above all else, is what matters?
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Mrs. Kanu Grace Chiemeka, a Registered Dietitian and a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said: “I don’t support body shaming. While promoting body positivity definitely helps improve mental health, it is also imperative to strike a balance between maintaining a healthy weight and accepting our physical looks. Chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancers, are the leading causes of preventable deaths in the 21st century and all are intricately linked to overweight and obesity.
“Also, female infertility due to hormonal imbalances, is one major health issue that could result from being overweight or obese. Hence, the importance of placing a premium on maintaining a healthy body weight. Compromising your health for body positivity is not an option.”
She, however, added that, even if one’s weight was in the healthy range, it would not be a guarantee that the person won’t be affected by these disease conditions if they have an unhealthy eating habit.
Body Positivity is a good thing, but people should be careful not to love themselves to death.
It is important to make healthier food options and stay active. According to popular plus size model and Body activist Ashley Graham, you can maintain your curves while staying active and healthy. So, go ahead and be positive about your body regardless of size, but be sure to keep it healthy too.