I’m quickly realizing that I’m not THAT woke. I’m not woke enough to defend grown ass women showing up to their child’s school in bonnets, not woke enough to touch a lawnmower, not woke enough to not laugh at a grown ass man with a yorkie and not woke enough to act like there aren’t health issues associated with being overweight.
I’ve had this blog written for awhile but I knew it’d be controversial and I always lose ‘friends’ when I talk about this topic. My opinions the body positive movement, gender reveals and child support really set people off and to keep it 100, I enjoy getting a reaction out of people. But I’m gonna say this now, I’m not going back and forth
with you niggas after I write this as I am too busy living my best life.
Here’s the picture I saw that made me decide to finally post this:
I chose to leave out the @ of the person who posted this because after looking at the rest of their timeline and the thousands of responses under the tweet, I’m not going to add anymore wood to that fire. I quickly realized that this post was a simple projection of their own unhappiness and insecurity and I know how stressful it can be to have your notifications blowing up with people telling you why you’re wrong.
There’s a LOT to unpack here and I feel it necessary to get some precursors outta the way. First of all, the Body Positive Movement centers whiteness. I’d be remiss to not say that out loud. My friend Hess Love wrote a very insightful article addressing White Supremacy, Fatphobia and Colonialism.
Second of all, Fat-Shaming is very real and only one thing on a list of challenges people of a certain size face. Fat-shaming is defined as criticizing people to make them feel ashamed enough to lose weight. It does not work. It actually has quite the opposite affect. Many times critics are people who have never had to struggle with weight
and who won’t say anything to their 350 pound momma. If you are not a healthcare professional, you have nWo business addressing someone else’s health. Weight is no measure of character and is no excuse to mistreat someone. It’s none of your business and if you’re doing it to a stranger behind a screen, you’re only doing it to make yourself feel better. Stop offering your unsolicited opinions, especially on people’s bodies. Nobody asked you.
But that’s not why I’m here.
I’m here about the section of the Body Positive Movement that shames people for losing weight.
The Body Positive Movement promotes being happy with your body at any size. From my view, it is largely just a marketing campaign. These days, more women are a size 12+ so (depending where you are and what you’re selling) it isn’t as profitable to JUST make clothing sizes 0-10 anymore. Clothing companies dgaf about you or your health. They only care about your money. If the people with money are a size 22, they’ll make size 22 available so they can get that coin.
I have a T-Shirt company (shameless plug!). When I started out I bought S, M, L, & XL shirts. Since many of my customers are grown ass Black women, I wasn’t moving those Smalls and Mediums at all. XXL and XXXL make up a good number of shirts I sell so those are what I buy first. Capitalism drives all things in this section of the world. The Body Positive Movement wasn’t made for body positivity for real.
As a Black woman that’s size is well into the double digits, I can appreciate the body positive movement. It DOES make me feel good and included to scroll through IG and see more girls that wear my size promoting clothes that will actually fit my body. I know exactly how bad it feels to not be able to find your size in a store. I still rarely go into the fitting room or even shop for clothes. One of my favorite stores, Old Navy just recently started going past size 12 in pants and offering XXL and XXXL shirts. I remember a time when stores like Lane Bryant were the only place I was going to find a pair of pants that fit. (It’s still one of the only places I’m gonna find a bra, pray for me.) Again, this movement in large part was created just to sell clothes
and I’m buying them.
While I do believe there are many well-intentioned people behind the movement for Body Positivity and that we should love ourselves regardless of our physical state, I think the movement has the potential to be dangerous and I’ve experienced this potential first hand.
A couple of years ago, I was invited to a community group for fat people by a classmate of mine. I guess I thought eating healthier and physical activity would be involved and when I asked, the response was hostile to say the least. Frankly, it was a group for fat people to meet up… and eat. I always want to support anyone attempting to do something positive but I couldn’t reconcile being part of community of people hostile to weight loss when weight loss was one of my accomplishments and goals. I felt so guilty and shallow.
I ended up in a long unproductive Facebook debate. My fear was that the health implications behind being overweight were being denied and ignored. I talked about how much better I felt because of recent weight loss and
them bitches they down played my hard work. They were attempting to gas light me into thinking the improvement in my health had nothing to do with my weight loss.
I had followed a strict diet for a month, dropped 20 lbs and as a result normalized my blood pressure and reversed pre-diabetes. I was proud of myself and they brushed it off. I ended up telling them in so many words they were full of shit and of course, got blocked. That is one of the only times in my life I’ve ever felt bullied.
Now, lets talk about this picture. I looked up the website that created it, and here’s what they have to say about before/after pics. I don’t disagree with most of their views. But the context in which I saw this picture is problematic and becoming a trend so lets address that.
How is shaming people for making a choice about their body ‘Body Positive’? How (in response to abortion legislation) do you scream about a woman’s choice then a week later say ‘fuck her’ for losing weight? In my last blog, I said Pro-Life people weren’t REALLY pro-life, but I’m starting to realize pro-choice people aren’t REALLY Pro-Choice. Many so-called liberals, social justice warriors, and people who fancy themselves ‘conscious’ and ‘woke’ are really pro-you doing only what they agree with or pro-you doing what THEY want to do with THEIR body.
I see this parallel in how women who go on ‘slut-walks’ turn around and shame women who chose to wait until marriage, be stay at home moms or chose not to post their whole birth canal on the ‘gram. That’s why y’all love to hate Ayesha Curry. But that’s a different blog for a different day. The point I’m trying to make is, some pro-choicers are fulla shit too and that there is a Regina George in every group, even those fighting for equality.
Furthermore, if you were that secure and content in your body, seeing someone choosing to lose weight and celebrating it wouldn’t be such a trigger for you. We don’t see things as they are. We see thing as WE are. Nobody posting their fitness journey is thinking about you or trying to offend you. My grandaddy always reminded us “you just aren’t that important”. In many situations, the hostility you feel for others is really the hostility you feel for yourself and your choices. The big mental health challenge of social media is constantly seeing people’s highlight reels and feeling inadequate by comparison. That’s all being mad about somebody’s before/after is. You’re unhappy with your ‘before’, lying to yourself and that has nothing to do with the person on your screen and everything to do with you.
The community and encouragement I’ve received from posting about my weight loss has really benefited both my mental and physical health. I am encouraged and motivated by the fitness journeys I’ve seen and want to provide that same encouragement to someone else. I’m supposed to not post my journey to make YOU feel better? What about how I feel? This particular section of the movement is narcissistic, insecure, self-centered, projecting and needs to keep that toxic energy over there.
“Posting weight loss shows which bodies you value.”
It absolutely does. Mine is the body that I value, that’s why I’m making healthier choices for it. I am capable of choosing to lose weight and still valuing/fighting for a person who chooses not to.
I’m not qualified or willing to tell you why you should lose weight. That is none of my business. I can only speak for myself. 5’2″ carrying around 310 pounds was one of the most unhealthy points in my life. Granted, a large part of that was my mental health. Stress caused me to develop a very unhealthy relationship with food and I was trapped in a vicious cycle. 40-ish pounds later, my skin is clearer, my hair and nails are growing faster, my period is more bearable, my blood pressure is normal and I’m able to tackle life’s problems with more confidence; not because of my looks but because I set a goal and was able to accomplish it. I am proud and will be on the social medias celebrating and not apologizing.
Which brings me to my next point; your triggers are your responsibility. You have the freedom to choose what you will be exposed to. To protect your energy, you should be very intentional about what comes across your screen. For my sanity, I do not watch videos of cops harassing/killing Black and Brown people. I rarely read stories about children being abused. I took a 5 month break off of Facebook after Surviving R.Kelly. I have my own father blocked. I don’t have the right to tell people what they can and cannot post. I only have the right to refuse to be exposed to it and enthusiastically unfollow, block and delete.
In conclusion, if weight wasn’t a factor in health, we wouldn’t lose it when we started making healthier choices. Our bodies are made to carry a certain amount of weight, period. Our organs struggle to function when surrounded by too much weight. I am an activist passionate about the freedom of my people and that includes our physical health too. I’ve lost many family members to diabetes and heart disease. As long as I’m walking by caskets and visiting hospitals about problems that could be solved with lifestyle changes, I’m not going to be quiet about health to appease anyone. Any movement that makes anyone feel guilty for losing weight is not a movement at all, it’s a group of mean girls.
Fuck my weight loss pictures?