So.. controversial title. But this is something I feel strongly about and I think a lot of people do as well, but they just don’t discuss it because it is a very touchy subject.
I want to preface with: I love people with confidence. Not arrogance, not narcissism, not faux confidence… genuine, unabashed confidence in who you are, internally AND externally. And if you’re not, being honest about the parts you aren’t happy with, or what you are trying to improve, at least with yourself. I am always critical of myself but I’m confident in who I am, the people I want to attract and be around, and I won’t compromise any of my fundamental values - whereas maybe when I was younger and more concerned with outside opinion and allowed that to build my opinion of myself, I’d be more susceptible to others criticisms.
The point of this is not to point fingers or cause any controversy. It’s an honest narrative discussing how I personally feel about the constant changing of societal norms and views on women’s beauty. Body posititivity is actually the origin of my Instagram growth after I had began seriously travel blogging - I had a post reposted on @getnakedaustralia and it was on the front page of the Daily Mail - that’s when everything properly kicked off. I put up the photo without thinking too much about it - I was (and am) a nudist and enjoy a nude hike, beach, etc. I love the feeling of freedom and I feel like everyone should be able to experience nature nude (I know it sounds silly but try it!! :) ). Anyway it went crazy after that, to my complete surprise, since I have always been really, REALLY self conscious about my spine, due to my severe scoliosis, but the response to my bold confidence was overwhelming. Photo below (taken with GoPro self timer).
It was by far the cheekiest thing I had ever posted (Mum unfollowed me) but I remember how I felt when I took it and the day and the sun on my skin. I felt amazing! And for someone consistently shrinking due to an intensely crooked spine - that was a relief, and a success, and sharing that photo to me, was sharing the feeling as well.
So that is a bit of background about the beginning of my experience promoting body positivity and the activities connected to it. Like I said, confidence in yourself, inwardly and outwardly is what I am aligned to - as long as this is healthy behaviour. Now, healthy behaviour very flexible, and obviously BMI is subjective to a point. However, what I have found in, probably the past year, is a glamorisation of people (women) who would be considered clinically obese, from an actual numerical, objective perspective.
I think that some companies think that by featuring a model, who could be the loveliest person in the world, that is obese (clinically), that they are promoting “body positivity”. And please feel free to discuss with me and tell me if you think I’m wrong but please read all of this and also know that I’m coming from an outside-the-norm place (growing up disabled, wearing a scoliosis brace from age 3 through 16, WITH an obese family member very close to me). I simply feel that the impact of glamorisation of obesity can and will have a negative effect on young girls and women. I’M NOT SAYING that if you’re obese you’re wrong, you’re bad, whatever. But you are UNHEALTHY, medically. The complications of obesity are endless - and half the time, it’s a mindset that is continuing do harm, and perpetuate the issue, and prevent progress to a healthy lifestyle. And if you are obese or overweight and you are working towards a goal, or struggling to work towards a goal, GO YOU! All of us feel the struggle (well, most of us). This is just about promotion of obese models may have an adverse effect and cause complacency.
Body positivity (to me) is promoting living your life by your own standards, your own rules, exerting YOUR confidence in YOU. It comes with age, experience, acceptance.. acceptance of yourself and your limits and your faults and celebrating what you do well. What I don’t want, and what I see occurring, is complacency. Obesity is a disease, and creating this culture of acceptance only perpetuates the issue. Glamourising a model who is obviously obese (beyond a reasonable measure of being overweight) is at risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, unnecessary strain on all of their organs. How long can that go on?
Seeing as how obesity is a growing issue in the developed worlds - should we be so accepting? Or should we offer a helping hand or lend an ear or anything else to make “healthy” more widespread? And what CAN we do, and how, because it’s a very sensitive subject to a lot of people and they can be in denial, which is a potential major roadblock to them reaching a state of healthiness. But have you ever met someone who used to be overweight and tells you of their journey, and has any regrets other than they wish they had gotten it together sooner? The amount of energy and confidence you gain with a healthy lifestyle is incredible. I know it’s unbelievably hard and may seem like it’s an unsurmountable task to lose weight and regain a healthy lifestyle - but it gets easier, and eventually, once it’s incorporated into your life, it’s like something has clicked into place.
I’m interested to see how others feel about this and if anyone else sees this trending in social media. As someone who struggles with weight, I can see both sides. I was extremely overweight and was told by my GP as a teenager that I needed to lose weight to be healthy, but wasn’t told how. Do you think that is a problem nowadays? Lack of knowledge and feeling hopeless but also at ease because of some places glamourising obesity? I FEEL the struggle - I’ve been there, and it took a long time to lose the weight, but the energy, the confidence, the feelings you regain once you have created a healthy lifestyle for yourself… just unbelievable, the difference! Feel free to email me your thoughts as this is just intended to provoke thought and create awareness.