The body positive community is flourishing – anyone who’s anyone is hitching a ride to BoPo Town and unashamedly declaring their right to love themselves. Yesss! This is what we’ve been waiting for, right?
You see, when more and more people jump on the bandwagon the authenticity of said bandwagon can come into question. As a die-hard body positive advocate and activist, I try my damned hardest to be my most authentic and raw self – I want to share my experiences (good and bad), I want to acknowledge the wide range of bodies that exist in the world in their entirety, and I want to truly challenge society’s expectations of what beauty is. But deep down, I’m a little worried that this is getting lost amid two varying degrees of body image.
Firstly, slim, white, cis women are at the forefront of the body positive community – and whilst my girls are doing an ASTOUNDING job of representing and speaking out about the things that matter, their voices are still the voices that are being heard. They have become the spokespeople for: fat women, POC, the disabled, men, the LGBTQI community and so many more. Although it is wholly inspiring that our experiences are getting out there and are being heard in some way, they are still being filtered through the voice of thinness and whiteness.
Secondly, the fat positive subculture of body positivity, is overrun with fashion. Whilst I am ALLLL for my fellow fat babes showcasing their outfits and brazenly wearing whatever the fuck they want, we need to push for a visibility that extends further than our wardrobes. We are not our clothes and we need to acknowledge that body positivity is so much more than a fashion accessory.
As the body positive community is becoming so popular, it can be difficult to distinguish when someone is authentically body positive and when someone is ‘faking it’ for personal gain. Here are some things to look out for so that you can be sure the content you are interacting with is truly body positive…
Does the account promote brands under the guise of body positivity?
Does the account encourage you to buy items?
Do you ever get to see non-promotional posts from the account?
Do they interact with their audience on a personal level?
Do they seem to care about the message they are putting out there?
Does the account only post promotional material?
Does the account ask you to contribute financially?
The message at the core of body positivity is more than fashion, more than promotional material and it is more than thin, white women expressing the stories of others – it is a space available for all bodies to find solace and acceptance. As the popularity of this sacred space grows, we are in danger of losing grip on the sincere message that we are advocating for, and it is our responsibility to keep control of this space that we call our own.