Opinion: Body positivity is for fat people too

  • 08/02/2017

Should body positivity be embraced or is it contributing to New Zealand's obesity epidemic? Join the debate on Newshub's Facebook page. Here, plus size fashion blogger Meagan Kerr argues why body positivity is crucial for everyone.

OPINION: Body positivity is the radical notion that everybody - regardless of how old they are, their race, how much they weigh, their gender, body shape, health status or whether or not you find them attractive - deserves to be treated with respect. 

Yes, that includes fat people and people who have illnesses like diabetes. Body positivity doesn't promote the need to look a certain way, it's just saying that no matter what you look like now and in the future, your body deserves love and respect. 

I think that one of the most important things that body positivity promotes is empowerment. The empowerment to live your life now rather than putting things off until you reach a certain weight or your body looks a certain way.

You'd be surprised how many women I speak to who are too self-conscious to do something like put on a bathing suit and go swimming with their kids, because they are worried about someone seeing their jiggly thighs or less than flat stomach.

If you've never been in that position then it might be hard to understand why it can be intimidating - surely you just put your togs on and go?

It's not that simple - some of the comments I've seen on Newshub's Facebook posts about this topic; the comments people have made about Lady Gaga’s body during her recent performance at the Super Bowl; even the comments that are shouted at some of my blog readers when they’re out exercising indicate that these anxieties can often be justified.

It's not just fat people experiencing these issues, which I know some of you might be thinking - negative self-image affects women of all shapes and sizes (and men as well), whether it be to do with their weight, their body shape, their features, their abilities, their worth… you get the picture.

It's not always about being picked on for being fat or being skinny, or for having a gap in your teeth or hairy arms. Sometimes it's about internalised issues, and that can affect anyone regardless of age, race, or social status - even those people who you might look at and think that they have the perfect body, flawless makeup and not a hair out of place.

Body positivity is about acknowledging that your body - the body you have right now - is great. It's your body and that means you get to choose how you fuel it, how you care for it, and what you want it to look like.

Whether you want to lose weight or not, whether you've already lost weight and want to lose more, whether you've lost weight and gained it back (which is extremely common, by the way), whether you want to gain weight, whether your weight is the furthest thing from your mind and you couldn't care less, body positivity is for all bodies. 

Meagan Kerr is a style blogger who runs This Is Meagan Kerr.