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Ladies, Enough With the Self Loathing: Go Body Positive

Think of how many springs you spent trying to get the perfect bikini body for the summer, though you never felt good enough to wear your swimsuit on the beach.

Think of all those times someone told you you were too skinny and needed to eat a burger.

Think of all those times people assumed you were more promiscuous than your friends because of your curves.

You weren’t wrong. Your body wasn’t wrong. Society was.

It’s no secret that our culture is awash in images and slogans of body negativity: “Don’t eat that, you’ll get fat.” “Real women have curves.” “Don’t wear heels that make you taller than your date.”

On behalf of the fat, the thin, the tall, the short, the “average,” and all other varieties of human out there, I’d like to say that we’ve had enough. Enough of the body shaming, enough of the impossible standards, and enough of telling people that they aren’t enough. It is emotionally, financially, and societally costly to be poisoning the public with these ideas.

Unfortunately, it won’t end just because I say it should. As long as there’s money to be made on advertising, diet pills, padded bras, and everything else we do to “enhance” ourselves, we’ll constantly be inundated by these messages. What matters is how we receive them.

Body positivity happens on a societal level. We can seek out communities that accept our bodies as they are and recognize the beauty and worth of every size. The best way to start these communities is to find one within yourself—to find self-love.

There are plenty of books, YouTube videos, and blogs that explain how to find self-love. It’s a process, and it can take months or even years to achieve. Just think how long you’ve been subliminally (and overtly) taught not to love your body. Twenty, thirty, forty years? It’ll take time and healing to reverse all of that.

Remember that health does not always have a direct relationship to size. Sure, obesity can often cause health problems, but that doesn’t mean there is one type of healthy body. Being thin doesn’t make you in the clear from health problems either. Choosing an active lifestyle and eating nourishing foods are body positive; however, starving yourself or overtraining at the gym to burn off your muffin top is body negative. Which do you think will further you in your quest for self-love?

Look at yourself in the mirror. Admire yourself and appreciate yourself just because you deserve it. Do all of the things you never thought you were adequate enough to do. Surround yourself with people who see who you truly are and love you for that. Get rid of all the products you bought to make yourself more acceptable to others: the makeup, the padding, the clothes, the diet shakes, etc. If you choose to use these things, do it for yourself, not for other people. Our journey to self-love starts now.

Krislyn Placide is a student at Northwestern University and an intern with the Center for a New American Dream. 

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Comments

I am so tired of hearing about it’s our fault we are obese. What about Big Pharma whose medicines pile weight on people? What about the responsibility of our government for letting food companies put additives into our food like MSG which stimulates hunger? Where are the studies regarding obese people and effects of MSG on them. I would be willing to bet there is a correlation. Back when I was a child I can still remember when Lays Potato Chips came out with the commercial campaign “I bet you can’t eat just one”. What do you want to bet they had just introduced MSG into their product. Now before you think you can avoid it by not eating processed foods think again. It is being sprayed on fruits & vegetables. The question is why? Why would they do that? Well they know that stuff sprayed onto the fruits and veggies gets absorbed through the skins and therefore no matter how much you wash them the poison is already inside. Also don’t get complacent that it is only foods above ground. Keep in mind anything sprayed lands on the ground and when it rains it goes into the ground so your carrots, potatoes or anything underground will also absorb it. Yay for corporate greed that wants to keep us eating, keep us sick and to support the “weight loss” industry and yes it is a BIG industry.

Posted by Charlene L at July 25, 2012 at 9:41pm

We’re facing a health care epidemic as a result of obesity which is affecting both men and women and is going to bankrupt our medical system. It is estimated that obesity will cost our medical system a trillion dollars by 2030. I certainly don’t think that people should be compared to a particular body type as a standard of beauty, but I urge you to refocus. Think of the costs of obesity. Buses are being redesigned to accommodate the increasing number of overweight people; they will carry less people and will as a result make out transportation system less efficient. Look at hospital waiting rooms – chairs are all being redesigned to accommodate larger people and this is one more externality we pay in connection with the obesity epidemic.

This is a complicated subject, but something needs to be done. I had a male friend who ballooned to 450 pounds who just died at the age of 57. I don’t understand what happened to him, but I don’t think he understood that his weight was going to kill him. When I see young girls who weigh 350 pounds I cringe for their future and their children who may very well lose their mothers at a young age.

Posted by Len Conly at July 25, 2012 at 1:00pm

So well spoken. Your words need to be heard in the front of alll fashion magazines and as public service announcements and through more social media. Thank you for your good work.

Posted by Robin Parsons at July 24, 2012 at 6:50pm

Thanks for this post. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for over a decade and I’m only starting to realize how much time and energy I put into being something I’m not. I could’ve spent all of that doing things that would’ve actually made myself happy. No more! Well done, Krislyn.

Posted by joanna @ I won't be a hoarder too at July 24, 2012 at 4:05pm

Every single day, I feel awful about myself and the way I look. I am ashamed of my physical being. I know rationally that this is not right, but I cannot help feeling so insecure about my looks. I am constantly judging myself against all the ‘beautiful’ people I work with, am friends with and even see on the street…. It is such a struggle every day..

Posted by Julia at July 24, 2012 at 3:44pm

I really appreciate this blog post- I think it’s important to recognize that most of the messages about “health and diet” are really not about health- their about convincing people that they should conform to a certain body size. The Obesity Myth, a book by by Paul Campos say that the 50 billion a year weight loss industry provides most of the representatives to the scientific panels such as the NIH Obesity Task Force which consisted almost entirely of people running weight loss clinics (pg 44).

So thank you for writing this!

Posted by Dale S. Brown at July 24, 2012 at 10:12am

Nice post Krislyn. Keep ’em coming!

Posted by Marcia at July 23, 2012 at 7:52pm

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