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“Sexuality is one of the ways that we become enlightened, actually, because it leads us to self-knowledge.” Alice Walker

Body acceptance not body positivity

So, by now you have all learned about body positivity. It’s a movement that has been put together by people trying to help everyone learn to love and accept their bodies. This sounds like a lovely idea. All of us working to be able to see ourselves with more kindness and compassion. Setting a goal for us all to be able to be patient with our bodies as they age and change throughout the lifespan.

Unfortunately, there is a problem with this movement. It has a dark side. When we focus only on changing ourselves and our own views of our bodies we can forget that the reason that we have such a hard time with our bodies is our culture. We get messages all of the time from the media, from schools and from our families about what a “good” or “healthy” body looks like. When our body doesn’t conform to this standard its not just our own internal world which is effected. When we don’t conform to cultural beauty standards we experience stigma. If we only change our own views we help ourselves but we don’t help to make the culture better or safer for people in marginalized bodies.

Fat people experience a wide variety of problems from employment discrimination, to cruel treatment in the grocery store and out in public to negative messages about ourselves from our parents. When we only seek to change our view of ourselves we don’t do the work we need to do to really get angry and fight back against our culture’s obsession with controlling people’s bodies. We need to change the world, not just ourselves. 

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