The “Body Positivity” Misconception

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the body positivity misconception body shaming

What’s wrong about “end body shaming”

I wanted to write this short post on the misunderstanding about body positivity and body shaming for a while now. My intention could not be farther from hurting anyone’s feelings. I hope I will succeed. The topic has potential to polarize and leaves room for misunderstanding.

Shaming vs Body Shaming

Let’s establish: Shaming people is not ok. It’s never ok. Shaming implies the intention to make someone feel bad about themselves vs constructive feedback.

Does it make sense to differentiate? Is it ok to shame someone for this but not for that?

I don’t think that makes sense at all.

You should not shame people. Period.

The body positivity misconception

Body positivity means that you accept and love yourself the way you are. And to accept others as well. It does not mean that we should celebrate an unhealthy lifestyle or glorify addiction.

Obesity is unhealthy. Overeating is more often an addiction than a bad habit someone can just drop overnight.

Read more about this: The Neuroscience of Weight-Loss (when the soul makes you fat)

We are not talking about a few pounds too much or too little (read why a few pounds too much might even be healthy: HERE)

Being massively overweight is not “beautiful” and the trend of trying to force people to say so is not beautiful either. It’s rather stupid.

I am a smoker. What would your reaction be if I demanded that you celebrate my lifestyle as “cool”? It’s a choice. It’s not a healthy choice. Making unhealthy choices is not cool.

A few facts about obesity

The food industry is much more powerful than the tobacco industry. Which is why food as deadly as cigarettes occupies large parts of the shelves in our food stores.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) does not list obesity as a cause of death. You find heart diseases on no 1 and cancer on no 2. Diabetes is high on the list. The next question would be: Does obesity lead to diabetes and heart disease?

People who are overweight or obese are far more likely than thinner people to have heart disease, cancer, diabetes and to have strokes or heart attacks. Usually, but not always, fatter people are less fit than thinner people, and exercise can clearly protect you from death and disease. (Source CDC)

A third of Americans are overweight and another 35 % obese.

According to Ryan Masters (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Columbia University), 15% of deaths of men and 20% of deaths among women are caused by obesity.

We found that obesity indeed has a quite significant effect on mortality levels in the United States and estimates are actually significantly larger than prevailing wisdom has suggested.
Source: Ryan Masters

The number will increase as the first generation of people who were obese from their childhood on grow old.

Let’s accept people the way they are – or chose to become – but let’s still see things the way they are and stick to facts.

Obesity is a dangerous disease. Sick people must not be shamed and disease must not be glorified. Someone with a disease can be beautiful – the disease itself is not.

Body positivity and self-love do not mean to harm yourself and then ask people to celebrate you for that. It’s bizarre marketing by the food industry that tries to emotionally blackmail us to feel as if we should.

If we all ate real food that is good for us, they could not sell their addictive and unhealthy food. If we all ate normal sized portions, where would be the fun in that? Their earnings and profit would take a serious hit. THAT I would celebrate.

Last thoughts

  • Body positivity means to accept yourself and others the way they are. With huge ears or small ears and so on
  • Body positivity does not mean to celebrate an unhealthy lifestyle or addiction
  • If you are looking to change your weight, I recommend THIS program