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Has Body Positivity gone to far?

In 2020, during an appearance on BuzzFeeds "AM to DM" Julian Micheals (Personal Fitness Trainer) was criticized for comments she made about singer/rapper Lizzo. "Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter?…’Cause it isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes". At the time many accused Micheals of fat shaming, but Micheals went onto explain in future interviews that it wasn’t about what people found attractive. That she had a concern for what we as a culture were valuing. She had an issue with us being okay with a health problem that could lead to further health issues like "diabetes". This does not appear to be an isolated incident either. As there have been calls for more diverse body types appearing in media (whether it is video-games, movies, comics, television or advertisement) to help spread body positivity. We have seen comics like "Daughter of Starfire", "The ‘New’ New Warriors", featuring large bodied superheroes. And more recently we have seen the premiere of "Lizzo’s ‘Big Grrrls’ " a show about big bodied women competing to be backup dancers for Lizzo. A counter argument that is often brought up is how media (television, comics, games, etc.) will often overly promote physically fit bodies and how many believe it can be just as damaging. The problem with this argument is that both the hyper acceptance of large bodies and the need to fit what society deems “healthy” is believed to lead to unhealthily results. Making this counter arguement a logical fallacy known as tu quque. In both situations the hyper marketing of a certain body type is believed to lead to negative results, so it doesn’t invalidate Julian Micheals criticism of Lizzo, and vice versa. This once again brings us to the question: are producers of visual media (video-games, comics, television, or advertisement) responsible for their viewers, mental health, self-worth, and body image? Should those who work in visual media try to promote a healthy body image? Are they responsible for what becomes a cultural trend? Or is it on the individual to manage their mental health, self-worth, and body image?

  • This is a great topic. However, I think you've accidentally made your whole argument in the topic instead of an article. Narrow it down a little--or broaden it so that the argument is not focused on two specific individuals. Then you can craft a piece that will reach a broader audience by covering more facets of the body-shaming conundrum. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
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  • I think that you could look at Michaels presumption that Lizzo was unhealthy and prone to diabetes because she is larger. Whereas smaller body types are mostly presumed healthy, though those with them can have eating disorders, take diet drugs, smoke etc. to stay thin. There is also the fact that a lot of doctors blame all symptoms a larger person complains of on being overweight and refuse to look further, as they too presume that fat=unhealthy – JDWatts 2 years ago
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  • I love what you pointed out. This is the similar issue we once saw in sports and in education. Inclusiveness and body positivity are meant to reduce discrimination. Rather, the way it was promoted eventually become sabotaging to existing, healthy standards. For example, promoting body positivity doesn't mean neglecting healthy eating and nutritional balance. Accepting your current body doesn't mean antagonizing a big girl wanting to be smaller when they realize their current body type isn't the best for their body. I wouldn't say it's going too far, but I definitely see our approach nowadays being problematic as many are supporting body positivity from a defensive, negative mindset that doesn't truly allow the concept to do what it's supposed to do: to encourage more self love and self care, which naturally include toning up your body to be "better," as much as the crowd would hate this word. And another under-discussed issue is forcing someone critical about their body and trying to make change to "feel enough" or to accept body positivity could easily turn into another form of bullying. – Xiao 1 year ago
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