Why Our Current Political Issues Have Everything To Do With Body Positivity 

Image credit: The Militant Baker (via ClickHole)

Image credit: The Militant Baker (via ClickHole)

This article originally appeared on The Militant Baker and has been republished with permission. 

While sharing articles about post-election horrors over the last few weeks, I've received a lot of "Stop posting about politics and go back to body positivity" comments. With the mainstreaming of the "body positive movement" within the last few years, I understand that many may not realize that body positivity couldn't be more political and I'd like to break it down for those who might not see the connection.

First we need to recognize that the most popular form of "body positivity" on the internet today centers around cisgender, able bodied, white women.

Images of these bodies are what flood our feeds and what the media calls upon when they talk about challenging beauty standards. I am one of those women in your feed. I am one of those women covered by media platforms. I am successful in blogging because I was born into this exclusive group that has been sanctioned as "relevant" in the conversation. And though I'm often considered "too fat" to be taken seriously, my other physical privileges (none of which I've earned) make plenty of space for me at the discussion table. 

The reality is that our representation of bodies within this "body positive movement" still isn't representative at all. We seem to think that size (weight, shape and so on) is the only physical trait that garners social onslaughts and that this physical quality doesn't additionally affect other marginalized groups. This is a problem and we are seeing the consequences of this escalate with every single day that passes.

We need to take a long, hard look at what is happening around us and realize that it is all connected and directly tied to body discrimination.

Black, brown, Muslim, trans, queer, and disabled bodies are being mocked, disrobed, beaten, arrested and killed based on nothing other than the way they look. They face a world without resources, rights and legislation to protect them based on nothing other than their bodies and institutionalized racism/discrimination that claims these actions are warranted. Bold and italics? Totally necessary.

This was happening before November 8th and now, post-election, groups of citizens have become emboldened and these hate crimes are now being both enabled and encouraged. This is the opposite of body positivity. This is, in fact, Body Terrorism

We have to realize that indifference towards the safety and well-being of other bodies is antithetical to body positivity. I say this with both kindness and urgency.

All body issues (we're talkin': race, ability, gender, age etc etc etc) must be included in our body activism if we want to create change. All of them. Because, even if you are not invested in other people's safety in this world (I hope that changes for you, but even if it doesn't), all oppression is connected. And as long as one group is being harmed, none of us will ever see real safety in our future.

This is how intersectionality works.

We also need to recognize that body issues have global ramifications. 

Sonya Renee Taylor explains just this when talking about the TBINAA movement she started years ago:

The Body Is Not an Apology is an international movement committed to cultivating global Radical Self Love and Body Empowerment. We believe that discrimination, social inequality, and injustice are manifestations of our inability to make peace with the body, our own and others.  

Through information dissemination, personal and social transformation projects and community building, The Body is Not An Apology fosters global, radical, unapologetic self-love which translates to radical human love and action in service toward a more just, equitable and compassionate world.  

The root of many worldwide problems can be found within how we view and treat bodies. The solution comes when we learn how to treat all bodies with respect and compassion. It's that big. It's that important.

And we have the ability to work towards that solution, my friend. We do.

If we were to take a look at The Militant Baker Facebook and Google demographic numbers, the vast majority of you are US women who are both white and plus size. White, plus women in the US- we are similar in many ways, you and I. And I'm glad you're here because we have some work to do.

It's essential to recognize that as women, our bodies are systematically regulated, ridiculed, and assaulted. As fat women, we experience this on a whole other level (read this amazing article about supporting fat women in the time of Trump). This is real, horrifying and not to be dismissed or diminished. But in addition to taking care of ourselves and our safety, it's important that we act now to eradicate discrimination against all other bodies as well. You and me? It's likely that we live in similar bodies and lead similar lives... and we can do more. 

Now is not the time for silence. Now is not the time for lukewarm advocacy. Now is not the time for "Let's wait and see." Now is the time to act intentionally, fiercely and with commitment.

Marginalized folx have been saying this forever, but we weren't listening hard enough. I wasn't listening hard enough. None of us were listening to the extent that we needed to be.

And now? Well, we need to step up.

To read the four ways I am personally going to contribute and a list of other resources that can help you contribute, read "Four Ways I'm Standing Up for Justice".

If you are invested in body positivity, it's crucial that you invest in the safety of all bodies... even the ones that you may not inhabit. In our recent chats about this issue, Sonya put it more eloquently than I ever could:

While what we want is good moral people to be good and moral, I think it is important and can be even more pronounced that a world that hates black/brown/Muslim/disabled bodies will always hate fat women. The fight is not separate.

I just want to post that little blurb again: 

"While what we want is good moral people to be good and moral, I think it is important and can be even more pronounced that a world that hates black/brown/Muslim/disabled bodies will always hate fat women. The fight is not separate."

Please, please be "that fat girl"... this world needs you. And I'm with you all the way.


(Note: This is part one of an article written about body positivity, how to step up and why it's necessary. While they're easiest to read separately, both are important so check out the second part here!

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