A Letter to My “Body Positive” Community

Dear fellow weirdoes,

I get it. It’s really, really easy to criticize. Our culture makes it the norm. The fact that you do not is a beautiful thing. The respect that exists is pretty cool, too — the “no touching without permission” rule? I think everyone ought to adopt it, because as it stands right now, society says it’s “rude” not to accept a hug from someone, even if they have horrible hygiene and give you a phenomenal case of the heebie-jeebies. The way you stress bodily autonomy and personal space is something the rest of the continent should adopt. The way you accept everyone, regardless of their physical appearance and capabilities is absolutely commendable. No, really — I tip my fuckin’ hat to you on that one.

But being truly “body positive” is more than that.

Right now, I couldn’t, in good conscience, call what we’re doing “body positive”. If anything, we’re “body neutral”. We’re operating in a fucking vacuum — because while no one ever says anything negative about anyone else’s body, no one says anything good either. People’s physical bodies just aren’t talked about at all, unless we’re discussing accomodations for Person X’s bad knee at the next outing, or the fact that Person Y is going to need some help with what we’ve got planned this time.

To me, body positivity means celebrating what our bodies are capable of — but how can you celebrate in silence? How is silence encouraging to those who are shy or ashamed, those who have been mistreated for not fitting society’s mould?

And I get it. It’s so much easier to criticize than to be sincerely accepting and positive about other people’s bodies. But if we’re going to claim that we are, then we need to live up to that statement. It doesn’t have to be hard. A simple comment on how someone did something you found cool/ awesome/ scary/ challenging can make all the difference.

And we can make a difference. We can be different from the judgemental norm. We’ve already proven that.

We just can’t do it in silence.

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

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