UNPOPULAR OPINION: Body Positivity Has Become an Excuse to Be Unhealthy

If you hide under the gauzy blanket of body positivity to conceal your laziness and passivity, I feel sorry for you.
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Publish date:
April 6, 2016
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unpopular opinion, body acceptance, body shaming, body positivity

I did the same thing when I was fourteen, fifteen and sixteen. Each year, I vowed to be so fantastically fit that it would set everyone's eyes on fire. I also procrastinated like crazy and, in the vicious circle of tomorrows, never got around to it.

When I was seventeen and in a new school — having a very tough time with people and lessons alike — I chose to exercise because that was something I had control over. I had no control over not understanding Kirchoff's Law and no control over having writer's block that made me second-guess everything I did. However, I did have control over my squats.

Along with all the nutrition and workouts and fitspiration that I consumed, I also discovered body positivity. Of course I'd vaguely known what body positivity was. But this was new and I fanatically read everything I could get my hands on. Even then, I knew something was off.

There were blog posts about learning to love your body, too many to count. Everyone was preaching about how to make peace with something you disliked. This would be an appropriate course of action if there was nothing you could do about your body and no way you could change it, but if there is one thing you have absolute control over, it is your body.

Love your body, they said. Love your shape. But what if I don't?

I didn't like my body at all and I wasn't accustomed to doing anything about it. I was okay sitting around on couches and hoping things would fall into my lap while I sat. But when I got off my butt and started working it, I realized that it was just that easy. And yet, the general female populace — most of the body positive posts I've seen are female-centric — was being subtly conditioned to believe that if you have rolls and love handles, learn to love them! Wear that pair of short shorts despite that cellulite!

I never did.

I have never worn any kind of shorts. I have decided to not wear a pair of "short shorts" until I have the legs of my dreams. And those legs are not going to open the zips of my current legs and walk out because of some wonderful miracle. I will have to chip away at all the things I don't like about my legs as they are currently. I will have to keep at it, slowly and steadily, until I am done carving the legs of my dreams. Only then will I wear a pair of short shorts. And that's that.

As with most things, there are two sides to the overwhelming support of body positivity. The first is a small, positive slice of feminism, which probably began as a way to empower women to break free from having to "look a certain way." Several bloggers and models branded as "plus-size" break all of those ridiculous rules of clothing for fat women. They wear horizontal-striped body-con dresses in bright white and look fantastic. All women should probably aspire to have that kind of poise, grace and confidence.

The other side is that body positivity has turned into an excuse for women to sit on their couches and be unfit under the guise of loving their body. Several of these women don't love their bodies. They simply dislike slim women's bodies and they make this dislike known to everyone around them.

We labour under the 'fix only what is broken' mentality. But better comes from good, not from bad. I was fat. I didn't like my body. When I began to work out and eat clean, the compliments began to roll in. I am still fat. I have rolls (albeit fewer) and stretch marks and cellulite, but now I love my body. I love it for how strong it has become and for all it does for me. I love it for how far I can push it, easily, effortlessly. No, I still don't like how my body looks. I won't, until I reach my goal body. And that's okay.

I can love my body and want to change it, to better it, at the same time. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

The compliments I've gotten since beginning my weight loss journey were not regarding my actual weight loss. Every single compliment I received acknowledged my perseverance and the fruitfulness of my efforts. That is so much more important than how drastically the landscape of my body has changed. If you go for a run five days a week for a month, there will eventually be results. If you work for something, there will definitely be results. That's just how it works (thankfully).

There is no excuse for snarking about another woman's body because you lack the discipline to change your own body to your satisfaction. If your only excuse is to hide under the gauzy blanket of body positivity in order to conceal your laziness and passivity, if saying "oh, I can have that body in two months" each time a sinfully hot woman walks past is your justification to yourself for your jiggly thighs, if you roll your eyes at your friend when she says she is proud of herself for sticking to her workout plan, I feel sorry for you.

Nobody who has something you want got it by fluke. They most likely worked very hard for it. If you want it bad enough, you probably should too.