Are you thinking, “Is body justice even a thing?” To which I say, “kinda.” Body justice is about reclamation to me, and I want to explore that.
Usually, we see these terms, and each offers great help to those of us with body image struggles:
- Body positivity: Feeling good about our bodies no matter what
- Body neutrality: Feeling neither good nor bad about our bodies
- Body acceptance: Understanding our bodies and letting them be what they are
- Body tolerance: Accepting that our bodies are what they are, and while we may not feel enthusiastic, we’ve at least made peace
The body positivity movement started with Black women, but it has become co-opted by White women, specifically, influencers who are often silent about racism or do not credit the origins of the movement. The body positive posts of Black and Brown women are often overrun with hateful comments. There’s also something infuriating about watching thin women arch their backs to look fat or posting photos of their rolls when they’re sitting and so on. It’s not that these women lack their own, legitimate body issues, and my goal is not to shame them. Instead, it’s to point out how the movement is used to ignore the Black women and fat women who started it. It’s more a condemnation of the way social media works, pits women against one another, and encourages those who meet a certain aesthetic to misappropriate others’ bodies. After all, I don’t have to arch my back to get a belly or bend over for rolls. But if I post those truths, I always run the risk of getting fatphobic hatred.
I don’t know how we got to the point where we have to reclaim body positivity, an effort designed to reclaim our bodies, but we’re now reclaiming the reclaimed in the name of body justice.
What are your thoughts on this?
I’ll be exploring more of what body justice means to me tomorrow, and I’ll look at the sociology behind it all.