When we talk about body positivity, we sometimes tend to think of a few things: parts of our bodies we feel confident about — which are usually small or toned — as well as appreciating what our body can do. We may tend to think of small, white, young, conventionally attractive women. We may tend to think of these images because this is what we're fed, whether that be in movies or on Instagram.
But body positivity is and always has been inherently body politics. It's intersectional feminism. It's including marginalized identities, fat people, conventionally unattractive people, men, people who are gender non-binary and more.
Body positivity and body politics also center around how we address our body. It can be found in fashion, in enjoyable workouts, in hiking trips, in singing, and in late-night ice cream runs. It's our self-talk and how safe we do or do not feel and how what we look like impacts our everyday lives and interactions with others of different identities. It's far from always looking safe and happy.
The fear of fatphobia and the tendency to leave it out of the body positive world is ableist. It's why doctors misdiagnose fat people all of the time, worsening their real medical issue. It ignores the fact that diabetes can be caused by genetics, poverty, and violence and that high blood pressure can come from the anxiety of fatphobia surrounding your body, not your body itself. It discriminates against people who aren't able-bodied.
Fatphobia is also sexist. It says that a person's worth — and especially that of a girl or woman — is found in her body — or more accurately, a lack of it. It's opening a woman's body up to scrutiny as property that can be owned and controlled. It decides what a woman "can" and "should" wear and how much weight she needs to lose and what she can eat without judgment. It discriminates against and limits women.
Fatphobia is also racist. With black women, being fat is correlated with the Enlightenment era belief that fatness was evidence of savagery and racial inferiority. Black women are not included in the idea of what body positivity looks like. Actress Rebel Wilson didn't see previous black actresses as being the real first plus-size women in romantic comedies because "blackness" is inaccurately and unfortunately equated with largeness and fear.
Fatphobia is an understandable feeling in today's diet culture-filled society, but it's something we must eradicate. We have to keep in mind what fatphobia really comes down to — all of the -isms — and use that to fight back, especially as it never leads to anything positive and can even lead to life-threatening eating disorders.