Body positivity is, in my opinion, perceived in one of two ways; a positive movement involving confidence and acceptance of oneself, or a negative message that perpetuates the ideology that being overweight and unhealthy is okay and praised.
I was chatting with my sister about the two sides of the concept. My sister, who happens to be plus-sized by society’s superficial categorizations, explained to me that she, too, has noticed the tendency to pick a side when it comes to the idea of body positivity. She said that a lot of people associate body positivity with negativity because they are ignorant towards what the concept of body positivity truly is, which simply involves being confident and happy with ourselves.
So, why is it that so many of us are misinformed about body positivity and what it encapsulates? Perhaps this misperception stems from people who use body positivity as an excuse to engage in unhealthy eating habits and lifestyles, but a majority of people who practice body positivity do not take advantage of it and manipulate its true meaning in this manner. Being body positive means being happy and feeling confident about who we are as people – it is not intended to suggest that living unhealthily is okay and without consequences.
Socially, we tend to label overweight people as unhealthy. But this simply isn’t always true. My sister, for example, was in the best shape of her life a few summers back when she was regularly attending boot camp and workout classes. If my sister and I had done fitness testing together when she was exercising daily, you can bet that she would have kicked my ass, even though I weigh less than her.
We need to commit to altering misperceptions of body positivity, and further overweight people. Body positivity isn’t a bad thing, and overweight people are not always unhealthy. The only unhealthy things associated with both of these topics is ignorance and an unwillingness to be educated.
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