Body Image - Body Positivity - Inclusivity
From Enthusiasts Opinion

When Body Positivity Turns Negative

It’s somewhat baffling how easily body positivity equals negativity.

Scrolling through Twitter the other day which can be a bit rough at the best of times, I found that a certain comedian was trending. I use Twitter to see what ongoing conversations are happening and well it sometimes offers more than I’ve bargained. It seems that a new season of the popular TV show The Great British Bake Off, a competition show in which people bake until they are sent home or win, has kicked off. I’ll be honest, I have never really watched the show, but weirdly the main conversation about the new season was focused on one of the judges who is a well-known comedian here in England and who had lost a lot of weight.

A simple quick search around the web showed that Matt Lucas, the comedian and GBBO judge under scrutiny here, has actually talked about his weight loss journey, what he did to lose his weight, and why he did It. However, social media seemed to rear it’s not so glorious head with, among some nice comments, once again a lot of vitriol and negative remarks directed towards him. Instead of the show itself being discussed, the pointed conversation that took off was all directed at Lucas’s weight loss.

Dejectedly, in a world where many talk about body positivity and rightly so, a world where people are pushing others to accept all body types, I ask why this attention, kindness, inclusion, and promotion of self-love seems to be only directed to the acceptance of those who have more weight while to those who have chosen for whatever reason to lose weight are set to catch the indignation, vile, and malicious undertones of the righteous who minutes ago were preaching self-love and body positivity?

This isn’t the first time I have seen this seemingly awkward standard of double playing out in our ever growing honorable and righteous world. Similar conversations and comments were taking place and being directed at among others, Jonah Hill and Rebel Wilson when they lost weight. Some ridicule was aimed towards Hill to the note that he is only as good as his previous portrayal of on screen characters and based on his now slimmer look and weight, he won’t be able to gain notoriety on future characters. His weight loss had people questioning if he could be taken seriously as a serious actor.

While Wilson had similar questions directed at her and conversations surrounding her weight loss, an author went as far to write an article that her weight loss was bad for all women. Essentially, she was being blamed for setting back the inclusion of women and body positivity. Horrifying, I know. This is all because she, as did Jonah Hill, decided to work on herself, make changes, and chose to make healthier life choices.

I find it hard to believe that these people have decided to lose weight to make a public determination that overweight people shouldn’t be accepted. They simply chose to do what’s best for them in only a positive way and to the detriment of absolutely no one. In no way does this say that they are unaccepting or that they are telling others not to accept people who may be bigger or heavier than them. It is simply a personal journey that they have decided to embark on. A healthier journey, mind you.

Body positivity and inclusivity should work both ways, as far as I’m concerned. If we determine that one shouldn’t be shamed for their body that should apply to those who have slimmer bodies too. I don’t know, maybe I’ve got this all wring. Maybe this engagement is only for what pleases the crowd and generates popular influence from the righteous world of their online fellows around them. I mean this is what seems to be the broad attitude anyway.

The weird thing is I rarely pay much mind to the fitness journeys and transformations of actors and celebrities. They are constantly plastered on the pages of tabloids and magazines making headlines usually for a new movie role and then partnering it with some fitness routine or product marketed alongside it. I don’t put much bearing in them because they come as often as they go and usually are related to a new movie character portrayal. I don’t live the same way and my physique or the way I look has little to no bearing on my identity or my income. I can’t do it the same way they do it or for the same reasons they do it. I have no parallels to their transformations or journey, so they have little relevance to me.

However, when a world that is intended on a positive trajectory decides to turn its righteous maliciousness into bullying those who chose to do something different, my attention is peaked. In a world of inclusion, someone who chooses to lose weight should also be included in that kindness that we so convincingly discuss. I remember some of the comments I got after I had lost a lot of weight. At times being asked if I had maybe lost too much weight which I found surprising, as I had literally just made what was an extremely long journey with many healthy changes. There is a point where it may be too much weight loss, but I was really just trying to enjoy being healthier for a moment.

Thankfully, it had little effect on me, my life and my choices. But imagine the scale of this scrutiny being focused on these individuals in the public eye who simply chose to make what I would consider positive and healthy changes in their lives. It’s a bit much if you ask me.

All this makes me think that this trend for body positivity and inclusion, a real positive direction that the world has undertaken to make it a better place, still has a lot of introspection to do. Maybe it’s time to simply accept people as people however they may look. It’s one thing if there is genuine concern, but if it’s simply a virtuous gesture or in this case on the adverse, a reason to spew vitriolic comments, maybe we should consider leaving it out.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be celebrated, but it most certainly shouldn’t be ridiculed.

Founding partner at LIFE ON FITNESS. I'm a fitness enthusiast (not a fitness 'professional'). Being massively obese, I started my fitness journey at around the age of 14. It wasn't the cool thing to do yet, and didn't even know what my life was missing. It only got better as I researched, tried, studied, and tested evermore fitness elements and knowledge. I write my thoughts with the hopes of inspiring even one person to achieve their life goals as well as their fitness goals. But most importantly enjoy and get the best out of life.

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