Body Positivity and Poor Health: The Thin Line

The human being “comes” in all shapes and colors. The beauty of humanity is its diversity. That is why, more and more, there is a rejection of the imposition of standards and conventions that only represent a few. A recent example is the drop in audiences for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, one of the most anticipated fashion shows. It is believed that the fact was due to the rejection of his marketing director for showing diversity in the models.

And it is that for several years a movement in favor of the acceptance of diversity has been brewing. It is the so-called body positivity or “positive bodies”, which began in the United States and is now reaching Europe in full force.

Body positivity: the acceptance of the natural

This movement, which seeks acceptance of the natural condition of people, began in the United States in 1996. His proposal sought to make visible the reality of all human beings both in terms of sexual orientation and those considered “defects.”

Stretch marks, cellulite, acne, alopecia, scars, short stature, homosexuality, transsexuality, overweight, disabilities are realities of the human being that should not be hidden or stigmatized. In 2007, the launch of the Beauty XL Magazine also boosted the movement in the Hispanic world.

What is body positivity based on?

Body positivity is a critique of the world of fashion, entertainment, sports and even medical. In them, “perfection” in sizes, faces and bodies is unrealistically promoted.

A perfection based on prototypes that little represent the diversity of the human being. So, This movement is based on seeking the balance between our physical and emotional well-being, proposing the acceptance of our natural conditions. It is about accepting our body.

Body positivity vs. health: is there such a dichotomy?

Those who attack the movement argue that cannot be normalized obesity; They accuse them of doing «apology»Of obesity. Nothing is further from reality. Obesity is generally associated with large sizes, but the opposite is not the norm.

The human body must keep proportionality regardless of size, since the lack of proportionality also threatens health. And, as already mentioned, body positivity seeks a balance between physical and mental health.

There is no apology for obesity, but neither is it stigmatized to the point of creating trauma in the people who suffer it. It’s about naturally thin people not feeling embarrassed about not having a muscular or curvy body. At the same time, that people with large builds or who tend to be obese do not feel self-conscious about showing their body. And the same with accepting and showing other possible “defects.”

The fine line

It is worth clarifying that the movement for the acceptance of your body does not encourage neglect of your health. In addition, this perception reduces the sense of body positivity to the acceptance of wearing large sizes, when in reality it goes much further.

Perhaps this perception is due to the fact that wearing large sizes is associated with obesity, which generally causes health problems. Therefore, it is important to consider that fine line that separates acceptance from carelessness.

The problem arises when you go from one extreme to the other; when acceptance gives way to neglect of health, appearance and even respect for others. Perhaps the last two aspects can be considered more subjective, but the effect on health leaves tangible and objective evidence. Being overweight and obese can lead to the development of metabolic diseases, such as type II diabetes, or cardiovascular diseases.

Certainly, the line is very thin and fragile because it involves not only physical health, but also mental health. The acceptance of one’s own body, the handling of rejection, conventions, beauty prototypes, all threaten a person’s emotional balance. We reject obesity, but also extreme thinness. We reject “flaws.” We reject someone’s way of being if they deviate from “normal.” Therefore, we are in constant tension not to be rejected.

Business behind plus sizes?

While organizations like The Body Positive fight to remove the stigmas that differences create, industries like fashion also take advantage of this sentiment. A study published in the journal Obesity indicates that the market for fashion for plus sizes may have contributed to the normalization of obesity. The study, conducted at the University of East Anglia, points out that normalizing large sizes can lead to underestimation of overweight. Conclusion, warn that the misperception of weight in England may be due to the vision promulgated by the body positivity.

The stigmatization of overweight, the obesity and the large sizes cause serious havoc on the self esteem and in the emotional balance of people. However, normalizing these characteristics can cause serious health risks. The World Health Organization has already warned about the risks of obesity in the future, which will be one of the main diseases in both children and adults.

More than an exaltation of the supposed defects, and mainly obesity, acceptance must be sought. Reject imposed beauty standards, as there can be as many beauty ideals as there are people. Each human being is unique, with its peculiarities, and should not seek to resemble anyone else.

What you should be looking for is satisfaction with yourself. Is not easy. There are many years of imposing models of beauty and codes of conduct that are difficult to eradicate from the collective psyche. However, the importance of physical health as part of our integrity as a human being must also be emphasized.

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