It has become common to see pictures of people online weighing over two hundred pound with the caption “body acceptance” and “health at every size”. While the body positive movement is understandable, when it comes to those who are at a healthy weigh, yet wish to look like photoshopped models on magazine covers, it becomes questionable when people who can barely walk due to the excess of fat hanging onto their body use it as an excuse to remain in their dire state.
Plus size model, Tess Holliday, who weights 260 pounds at the height of 5’5, is the largest model in her division. She used newly gained recognition to start the “eff your beauty standards” campaign. A former plus size model stated that Holliday was “an important role model for so many woman” however; many affirm that she is promoting obesity.
We should note that Holliday’s weight places her at a BMI of 43.3, which is 13.3 points above obesity level. Health problems due to being overweight are no new discovery in the field of medicine; the risk of heart failure, strokes, type two diabetes, and many other diseases increases with one’s BMI.
At a BMI of 43.3, it isn’t about beauty anymore; your very life is at risk. It’s easy to brush it off by stating that medical experts have no idea what they are talking about and one can still be healthy will obese. It’s also easy to blame it on a medical condition, imbalanced hormones, or having different priorities. You can tell yourself that you don’t need abide by society’s beauty standards to be beautiful, and while it’s absolutely true, it doesn’t change the fact that the extra weight you are carrying around will cause your body damage in the long term.
The worst argument the fat acceptance movement has used so far is probably the following: “men prefer meat to bones”. This statement is, first of all, very ironic considering they are doing the same thing they preach against: discriminate. Somehow, they believe it’s perfectly all right to hate on none-obese people because “skinny privilege”. Secondly, why is “what man want” still considered an ideal to aspire to? Finally, being all bones is just as unhealthy as having five fat rolls on your stomach; none of the above should be promoted.
Of course, fat shaming is just as awful as pure denial. No one should be discriminated against simply because they are bigger in size. However, individuals need to realize that they aren’t the only ones being affected by their lifestyle; society is ultimately paying the price. The negative spillovers that come with higher health risks dig into taxpayers’ wallets as the rate of obesity consistently rises with the opening of new fast food chains across the globe.
To put it simply, there is nothing wrong with the whole “love your body message”; yet if you truly do, you might wish to take better care of it. Loving yourself does not mean refusing to change. You can still advocate for acceptance while striving to improve yourself. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
This article was written by Elaine Zheng, a writer for dusk magazine.