Our mission: to love ourselves, every last inch! To support others, help build positive self esteem! This is The Body Peace Revolution!
This is a place of encouragement, a place to talk about body image, a place for feeling beautiful. No matter what you look like, what color, what gender, what size or however many "flaws", healthy, not healthy, working on it, we are all human, we all deserve to be happy, we all deserve to love ourselves. With this blog you will see all kinds of REAL bodies, REAL people, REAL stories.
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(nb: edited from previous version for clarity and reposting it in revised form.)
i’m sick and fucking tired of pretending that “loving your body” and rejecting fat-shaming on an individual level does anything to change issues relating to beauty and thin privilege, or that it has any effect on the institutions and structures that perpetuate them. it does nothing to change the fact that larger people or people viewed as less attractive are widely viewed as less intelligent, as incompetent, or as lazy. it doesn’t change the fact that larger people have worse health care outcomes or that they are less likely to be hired for jobs and, if they are hired, are often paid less than their thinner or more conventionally attractive colleagues. it does nothing to combat the pathologization of fatness. by itself, it doesn’t do anything to change the greater culture. i, along with many other people, attempt to reject that culture and participate in or create alternate possibilities, but it’s important to remember that these spaces aren’t accessible to everyone who could benefit from participation. it’s not enough.
here’s a corollary to that: while people who identify as women are inundated with messages that devalue female-coded bodies, sexualize them (in ways that are often deeply imbricated with the simultaneous racialization of such bodies), and present them as being in constant need of improvement, i wonder if the focus on body acceptance doesn’t end up being the same ideas, articulated differently. certainly, our bodies shape our lived realities, are inescapable, and must be taken into consideration in political or sociological or philosophical conversations. body acceptance may shift the ways in which these realities are enacted on some level, or at least the way realities are materialized. but, for many people, bodies can be hard to love, and i’m not sure how necessary it is that many of us “love” them in the ways that body-acceptance proponents believe we should. for my own part, my neuro-atypical, ethnically marked, formerly anorexic body is difficult to love. i generally accept my body, understand where it fits into my reality, reject family members’ offers of plastic surgery to “correct” it, live in it. it is, in some ways, a resistant body. ”loving” it is not necessarily part of that resistance, nor do i think it needs to be. a body is not an object that can be detached from a “mind,” an object that can be separately valued and loved. bodies should not be devalued, and should be free from exploitation, violence, and abuse, but it is not always necessary to love them simply because they are bodies. (though i would argue that the more culturally and socially devalued a given body is, the more important it is that it is cared for and valued.)
the fact that “love your body” rhetoric shifts the responsibility for body acceptance over to the individual, and away from communities, institutions, and power, is also problematic. individuals who do not love their bodies, who find their bodies difficult to love, are seen as being part of the problem. the underlying assumption is that if we all loved our bodies just as they are, our fat-shaming, beauty-policing culture would be different. if we don’t love our bodies, we are, in effect, perpetuating normative (read: impossible) beauty standards. if we don’t love our individual bodies, we are at fault for collectively continuing the oppressive and misogynistic culture. if you don’t love your body, you’re not trying hard enough to love it. in this framework, your body is still the paramount focus, and one way or another, you’re failing. it’s too close to the usual body-shaming, self-policing crap, albeit with a few quasi-feminist twists, for comfort.
tl;dr not all bodies are easy to love, or lovable. challenge normative beauty-standards and fat-shaming on collective and structural levels rather than believing that “loving your body” is enough to change shit. understand how your body materializes your lived reality and respect it, but don’t feel required to love it.