Critical Exploration of Body Positivity Movement

Critical Exploration of Body Positivity Movement

Body Positivity Movement

The body positivity movement is a social movement that was started to promote the idea that everybody is beautiful no matter what their size, shape, or color is. The movement had its origin in Black, fat, and queer activism as they were underrepresented in society, social media, and other platforms that celebrated beauty. Body positivity was considered much more than just agreeing with your body, it was in opposition to patriarchy, capitalism, fatophobia, sexism, ableism, and racism. Body image is a collection of the feelings, beliefs, and thoughts that you have on your own body. Research has shown that a person with a strong body image will have better mental health than a person with a weak body image.

The three waves of body positivity movement

During the 1960s, the fat acceptance movement arose as part of the first wave of the Body positivity movement, fighting against unrealistic beauty standards, body shaming, dangerous diet cultures, etc. The second wave in the 1990s wanted to bring exercise inclusivity. The movement aimed to break the stigma around exercising for plus-size individuals, allowing anyone to exercise comfortably without shame. With the growing use of social media, there has been an increase in body image issues especially among the younger population. Today the body positivity movement is against those filtered and edited pictures that have, the power to make people think highly critically of themselves.

Also Read: Happiness Hues: Painting Your Life with Positivity

According to experts Body Positivity Movement has brought a lot of negative impacts on the minds of people:

1. Lack of health concerns

    Body positivity movement is about loving your appearance no matter your shape, size, or color. However, critics have raised the concern that body positivity is in some ways, promoting people to stop caring about their health. Body positivity is not about following an unhealthy lifestyle and justifying it as #Bodypositive. Being unhealthy is different from accepting your body type and skin tone. Being unhealthy can put you at risk. Don’t rationalize overeating and obesity; they can lead to physical issues like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, digestive problems, and more, ultimately impacting your mental health.

    2. Lack of diversity

      There has been constant criticism about body positivity promoting just fair, young, cisgender, and non-disabled people. Body positivity is a movement to promote intersectionality, and diversity, it’s for people who have not been able to put confidence in their appearance and if they are not getting representation then what’s the point? We do not find many older adults and LGBTQ+ under #BoPo in social media.

      3. You are not equal to your appearance

        Selena Gomez, an American singer, songwriter, and actress, said, “I realize everybody wants what they don’t have. But at the end of the day, what you have inside is much more beautiful than what’s on the outside. Beauty is not just about appearance, it is about who we are, our personality, thoughts, values, and beliefs. All humans are judgemental, and most of the time we judge people based on how they look from the outside. Body positivity focuses just on the body and leaves behind other important attributes.

        Also Read: The Honest Truth about Men’s Body Image Issues

        They ask you to be comfortable in how you appear and there you find the pressure to just think about the book’s outer cover rather than going for the beautiful content penned within. Social media has brought about disruption in the way we view our body and a study concluded that the widespread use of social media in teenagers and young adults has increased body dissatisfaction as well as their drive for thinness, therefore rendering them more vulnerable to eating disorders.

        4. Toxic Positivity

          This is an incorrect coping mechanism for dealing with pessimism. Sometimes people force you to stay positive no matter what the situation is. Life has its ups and downs so if you have the freedom to enjoy the best days you should equally face these tough times. The body positivity movement has been criticized for compelling people to be unrealistically positive. The reality is that nobody will be completely contented with their appearance and nobody is perfect.

          Bodybuilders are the people who work on their physiques to achieve the best appearance, but according to studies, they are also the people who fall prey to Muscle dysmorphia which is a pathological preoccupation with muscularity characterized by negative body image, compulsive behaviors, and obsessive thoughts. While flexing their body on the stage these people will be admired by the audience for how they look, but then the performer will be like “This is not enough”. People push you too much to accept your body and if you don’t achieve it then you call yourself a mistake.

          5. The need to be accepted

            “I definitely have body issues, but everybody does. When you come to the realization that everybody does that even the people I consider flawless, you can start to live with the way you are”, these words are by Taylor Swift a famous singer and Songwriter. Human beings are scientifically driven by the innate need for acceptance, which is crucial for growth and change. The entire society will never accept who you are and not even your thoughts because we are all unique and different from each other. Critics can also target body positivity to impose unnecessary pressure on individuals to gain acceptance in society.

            Also Read: Media Psychology: Influence of Media on Behavior and Perception


            The Body positivity movement faced criticism from many critics, but it also positively impacted many lives. It gave us the realization that beauty is a social construct, it developed the sense of self-love and self-acceptance among individuals. The fact is every coin has two sides and so does The body positivity movement. Your aim should be to be healthy and not to appear healthy in front of others. A person might appear fit, but will be suffering from a bunch of lifestyle diseases. Another person who might appear higher weight will be the healthiest person you will ever come to know. Follow a healthy lifestyle, enjoy every moment, and don’t fall for unrealistic beauty standards.

            • West, M. (2022, April 29). What to know about the body positivity movement.
            • Conversation, V. S. (2022, September 17). Why the body positivity movement risks turning toxic.
            • Pene, M. (2019, December 18). Is the body positivity social movement toxic? UT News.
              Bitesize, B. (2023, March 3). What is the history of body positivity? – BBC Bitesize. BBC Bitesize.
            • Sarahjankowski. (2024, February 25). 10 body positive quotes from Celebs – CHAARG. CHAARG.
            • Underwood M, Olivardia R. ‘The day you start lifting is the day you become forever small’: Bodybuilders explain muscle dysmorphia. Health (London). 2023 Nov;27(6):998-1018. doi: 10.1177/13634593221093494. Epub 2022 Apr 27. PMID: 35473410
            • Jiotsa B, Naccache B, Duval M, Rocher B, Grall-Bronnec M. Social Media Use and Body Image Disorders: Association between Frequency of Comparing One’s Own Physical Appearance to That of People Being Followed on Social Media and Body Dissatisfaction and Drive for Thinness. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 11;18(6):2880. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18062880. PMID: 33799804; PMCID: PMC8001450.

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