keep it real

With my topic of body positivity, I find a lot of the difficulty in having authentic conversations comes from a mixture of complexity and emotional burden. Most people understand body positivity to by a slogan synonymous to “love yourself.” However, many people do not know of the movements historically political origins and ties to anti-capitalism, critiques of medical institutions, and body politics. Rather than delving into the deep history of body positivity, which was created for unconventional, marginalized groups (like people of color, fat people, disabled people, and trans and queer people), it is often easier to take it for its surface level connotations. Since the movement is so intertwined with other social movements, as well as institutional reform, it can be overwhelming to understand it in its entirety. This level of complexity makes it easier to just accept a watered down version of the movement, often in the form of hashtags and posts from Instagram influencers. In addition to complexity, I think emotional burden accounts for a lot of the difficulty when it comes to real discussions about body positivity. With such a deeply personal topic that many people have ties to, many have latched onto the movement because of its empowering message. While this is truly amazing, it is necessary to take accountability and acknowledge our positions within the movement, focusing on intersectionality as a key component. People sometimes feel attacked when they have to acknowledge certain forms of privilege, so truly examining the movement of body positivity can often become a highly sensitive discussion. It raises certain uncomfortable questions of who the movement is for and how it has changed so much from its radical origins, which can be a vulnerable conversation to have when many people are benefiting and profiting off of the new direction of the movement. I think that once we learn about the complex history, in depth, we will be able to have more informed, personal discussions about our own ties to the movement, but it will take some collective work from everyone.

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