Why We Should Be More Patient With People Who Aren’t Body Positive

body-positive

I consider myself to be pretty body positive. It’s not just that I love the idea of women loving their bodies no matter the shape, but I also envision a world where a woman’s body isn’t one of her most valuable asset.

I’ve written a lot about body positivity, not just about accepting women of diverse sizes, but also various shapes. I’ve criticized excessive use Photoshop and I’ve celebrated those who’ve tried to expand the definitions of beauty. But at the end of the day, every assertion I make that women should feel comfortable with themselves is rife with hypocrisy. Because really, I don’t feel comfortable in my own body.

I love to spew my opinion that society should be more accommodating to all women, an opinion that is genuine and true. But I want to say these things and believe these things from a place of superiority. I want to say that large women are just as good as Victoria Secret models, but I want to be the skinny girl that doesn’t judge fat people. I don’t actually want to partake in body diversity.

I’m ashamed of this opinion, but it’s hard to know about the preferential treatment thin women get without wanting it myself. Especially when I’ve been both overweight and extremely  thin at different times in my life—I’ve directly experienced discrimination and thin privilege. And frankly, it’s almost unbelievable how different the world treats you based on your size.

It’s an unfortunate reality. Knowing that even I, who intellectually know there’s something wrong with society’s view of women’s bodies, feel a nagging pressure and desire to be thin—it makes me understand why it’s such a hard world view to abolish. The way we’re raised, and the way we’re bombarded with media that sends us messages that being thin is better and will make you happier, it’s almost as ingrained in our brains as the religious views we were raised with.

That’s why I’ve started being a little more understanding to the people in my life who still hold those narrow-minded views. Instead of yelling at my guy friend who expresses disappointment that his blind date turned out to be “a fattie,” I ask why that’s a deal breaker. I try to talk about it. Just like I have to have an inner dialogue with myself every time I contemplate going on a juice cleanse, it’s important to discuss body positivity with people who it may not have even ever occurred to. It’s not really their fault that they have these prejudices, just as it’s not my fault I feel pressured to look a certain. It’s that we live in a world where these things are still socially acceptable.

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