What happens when too much of body positivity gives birth to body-negativity? Body positivity is mostly associated with the movement of self-acceptance. So big a health concern has been reduced to so trivial and normal part of a body such as accepting stretch marks or freckles.
Model Ashlee Graham who became the face of body positivity says that women of all sizes are beautiful. The dangers to be seen with her statement is how a model who have worked with brands such as Levi’s and Calvin Klein is okaying the bigger health concern of the extremes. For a person with a perfectly BMI chart, body acceptance is easier said than done.
And with the issue of body positivity taking the world by storm, it is surprising that known faces such as Kelli Jean Drinkwater who even appeared on Talk shows such as TED have built a tapestry of amour from the malicious effects of obesity in the guise of body-acceptance. Are they that naïve not to know the effect of what being morbidly obese does to the body?
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Another model and body activist, Monica Riley who plans to become the largest woman in the world consumes over 10,000 calories a day in the hope of becoming too fat to move. Due to her excessive diet, which included ‘weight gain shakes’ that her boyfriend Sid fed to her through a funnel, she tipped the scales at a whopping 700lb. In a twist of events after finding out she is pregnant, Monica wants to dramatically overhaul her lifestyle in order to be a healthy mum. So, she has a change of mind to what healthy is?
It is indeed tragic that the individuals who were born and proven to inspire people on a healthy body chose to do just the exact opposite. The concern of body positivity with issues of obesity also weighs the same to that of anorexia. Although anorexia has been categorised as a mental health causing people to obsess about weight leading to a drastic weight loss even leading to death.
The fashion industry can be a harsh place, specially known infamously for promoting anorexia. French model who became the living model for anorexia, titled in a controversial ‘No Anorexia’ campaign showed Caro with vertebrae and facial bones showing under her skin in a picture by photographer Oliviero Toscani. Surprisingly, in an interview with CBS News, just before becoming a victim of anorexia, she told them that she was once suggested to lose weight despite her frail, skin-and-bones body.
The issue of body positivity touches both the issue of extremes, morbid obesity and anorexic. Eugenia Cooney a known Youtuber is also known for stirring controversy by promoting anorexia. With people who normalise all body concerns of health issue in the name of body-positivity, a very wrong message is being sent out, dismissing all the concerns of being healthy.
Dismissing the reverse claims of body-positivity, Dr Anupam Sibal, Senior Paediatric Gastroenterologist, says:
"Unless you have a medical condition such as thyroid; the only way you can become obese is through a sustained period of overeating. This is a fact. In my opinion, no one should glorify or celebrate obesity; at the same time obese people should not be bullied about it. However, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be criticised. I believe criticism is healthy and it will only push them to lose weight.
“Being big or large in body shape invites a lot of unspoken, unexpressed criticism. It is wrong. Such discrimination brings depression and affects the mental drive to lose weight in obese people. However, at the same time, you can’t ignore the facts. And the fact is that being obese is unhealthy. There are no two ways about it. Being overweight makes you susceptible to heart problems and diseases like diabetes etc”.
It is clear that normalising obesity gives birth to some of the major health issues such as heart problems, diabetes, immobility and chronic kidney disease among many others.