Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

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TopHatFox
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Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by TopHatFox »

Went to a body positivity talk today. The room was almost all women (probably because beauty expectations are predominantly placed on women in western culture; makes sense). Anyway, if any of ya'll aren't familiar with body positivity:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_Positive_Movement

Here's the deal though: there was A LOT of talk in the meeting about factors like weight, diet, and fitness being outside of our control because of influences such as family, friends, society, media, etc. While I agree that there are limitations to what's in our control, the Body Positivity Movement seems to make it OK to use an External Locus of Control rather than Internal. I think we all have more factors in our control than we think, especially diet and exercising (except for the few % with rare diseases obviously). There was further a sense of group-think at the talk where the 3 guys in the room, including me, of 50 women said nothing. I definitely did not feel comfortable voicing any counterpoints. This seems unproductive to a group focused on growth.

What are your thoughts? Is my argument just insensitive, is the Body Positivity Movement problematic, or what?

BRUTE
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by BRUTE »

seems Olaz noticed all the same things brute notices in these types of movements. it's essentially the same as "debt positivity" or whatever, an excuse to rationalize whatever.

for the record, brute isn't into shaming or being mean to fat humans. but resignation/acceptance isn't the same as positivity.

bryan
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by bryan »

Don't think I have many thoughts on the BPM. Probably would have never thought of attending such a thing.. how did you happen across it?

What I wouldn't mind happening (which I gather would be aligned with the BPM) is a sort of "honesty in print/digital media" campaign to reduce the amount of photoshopping (especially of human features) on display. Pretty crazy, I know. (what's next?)

Haven't thought of it that much, but it makes sense (maybe) that you might want society at large to have a more realistic image/concept of what a natural human looks like.. To not have libidos out of whack or set expectations so high. Would be interesting to have historical statistics on 1) the number of other humans you've seen in person and 2) the number of other humans you've only seen in print or on your screen.
Last edited by bryan on Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.

GandK
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by GandK »

We talked through some of this issue in this thread:

The ingenuity gap of the obesity epidemic

In a nutshell, I agree with your locus of control line of thinking. In most areas of our personal life, what other people are up to is a factor for us only to the degree that we are allowing it to be.

Dragline
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by Dragline »

Nah. Or "Fuggetaboutit" if you prefer.

While I certainly agree that its folly to think anyone can turn themselves into a supermodel or an Olympic athlete, or needs to be one -- and that's a good message -- after that, there is no "there" there and it just becomes, as you described, a rationalization session. I do appreciate that these physical ideals are more culturally directed at women. Unless they are extremely talented at sports or arts, men are largely conditioned to either get rich, or rather "appear wealthy", or at least get a lot of education and "appear credentialed".

It would be more productive if they defined a reasonably easily achievable set of health goals tied to longevity and lack of chronic disease and said "you know, this is good enough for most people" - the rest is just appearance oriented and is unnecessary and unhelpful. But if you are just saying or complaining about "this is what's wrong with society", it doesn't actually form the basis of an action plan. To just say "whatever the opposite of that is what we want" is not very well considered.

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C40
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by C40 »

Yeah, reading the Wiki, there could be some very good things about Body Positivity. I do believe if people took a different view about their health and weight:
1 -Less focused on guilt
2 - More focused on how their own simple decisions impact them - that more people would be fitter and healthier.

That said, much of what I've seen and heard of the body positivity movement has been bullshit: it's accomplishing #1, but as Olaz saw, doing the opposite of #2. It's placating overweight people by telling them that it's either ok that they are fat, or that it isn't their fault. I heard the tail-end of a radio segment about a study being done. The hypothesis is that maybe when a young person is fed too much sugar, their brain chemistry or DNA changes and now they have a physiological drive to eat too much sugar, or no longer have the capability to tell how much food is enough. At the end, the woman leading the study said that if they find data supporting her hypothesis, the will be very happy, and I couldn't help but wonder whether she's doing this to actually help people, or if maybe she's a bit too chunky herself and it's just related to that.

I do think that the shift I over the last 10 or so years in what is considered sexy or ideal for women is a good thing. I think there has been a shift from heroin-user thin to idealizing bodies that have more muscle and more fat - and are probably healthier from a body-fat perspective, and more functional from a strength perspective.

Scott 2
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by Scott 2 »

Over the long term, it is pretty rare someone make substantial changes to their body. I think the idea that who you are today and will be tomorrow, is worthy, is a good thing.

I do think it still encourages excessive identification with the physical body, which is transient, and is going to break down with time. Moving away from that perspective is a pretty big ask for the typical westerner though.

From what I've observed, most social movements are driven by women, and men trying to hook up with them. Maybe cynical, but the ratio doesn't surprise me.

The Old Man
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by The Old Man »

Does the Body Positivity Movement = the Fat Acceptance Movement?

Its a feel good movement so that people don't need to be responsible for their actions.

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C40
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by C40 »

General Snoopy: Yes.


And to add, I think that fat-shaming is, at least to a certain extent, a good thing. Feedback cycles are important. Just because some people's feelings are hurt by feedback cycles does not mean the feedback should be eliminated.

Imagine that over the next 5 years, a trend emerges of people slitting their wrists. So much so, that 50% of young people were slitting their wrists and that most of them would eventually die from this. Could you imagine a movement similar to "body positivity" happening, where society says "it's cool, they're ok, it's not wrong". (instead of societal pressure for them to stop doing it, to get mental-healthcare, etc.)
Last edited by C40 on Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ego
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by Ego »

Today 74% of American men and 60% of American women are either overweight or obese. According to this, the average woman wears a plus size 20.

Normal vs Average. It is no surprise that people who represent the majority of Americans would want to normalize their experience. This normalization is at least partially responsible for fact that obesity is contagious. We have now reached a critical mass in many social circles where non-overweight people are viewed with suspicion.

Choose your social circles carefully.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by ThisDinosaur »

I've never had a weight problem, so my opinion is dismissible. But I submit that overweight people don't need to be shamed in order to know they are overweight. They have eyes. They know where they stand. If you've never been overweight, your advice and criticism is not useful to someone who has. That's like taking advice about women from Clooney. The rules are different for him.

Did
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by Did »

I would prefer not to be shamed, thank you.

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C40
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by C40 »

ThisDinosaur wrote:I've never had a weight problem, so my opinion is dismissible. But I submit that overweight people don't need to be shamed in order to know they are overweight. They have eyes. They know where they stand. If you've never been overweight, your advice and criticism is not useful to someone who has. That's like taking advice about women from Clooney. The rules are different for him.

It's not about whether they are overweight or not. It's about what choices they are making and what it takes to make better choices. How is advice on making choices not useful just because it's coming from someone who is better at making those choices? I've never been that most people would call fat, but I have intentionally lost probably 200 lbs or so in many different 10-30lb phases over my life. Would I really have to be grossly fat once to give advice on how to lose fat?

Did
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by Did »

@c40 depends on context. I guess it's whether or not it's rude or appropriate. shaming someone, or suggesting they cut carbs, or wheat, or fat, or meat or that they should exercise more - especially in a shameful, public way, is just sticking the knife in. We all have problems but nobody likes to be shamed or embarrassed. A private, genuine conversation with someone who has asked for help or is interested in your views or crying because they thought eating more and moving less was the answer would be another situation altogether.

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C40
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by C40 »

agreed, and I'm not giving advice to random people. I've learn very well from having a job coaching/advising people (on different stuff) that the most important thing is a person's priorities. Advice is only useful when the advisee wants it or when they are actively trying to make changes. If the coachee/advisee doesn't currently see a need to change, the challenge is to first create a desire to change. Sometimes things in the category of fat shaming accomplish this. I'm talking more along the lines of improving general understanding -- helping people understand:
- How being overweight it is impacting their health, causing other sickness/diseases, and will probably kill them very early
- How what they are doing is causing it (Diet, exercise, stress, rest, etc.)
- How easy it can be to change it without making "sacrafices"
- There are cases where people do need up understanding how overweight they actually are
(And I don't mean someone telling them directly, I mean them understanding these concepts and then understanding the above for themselves)

Things like personal insults, reminding someone they are fat, etc. are not helpful and are the bad side of fat shaming. The problem with the body-positive movement is that, in addition to trying to remove the insult-type fat shaming, it's also about ignoring the three bullet points above.

Did
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by Did »

yeah im not for delusion. and if people want to be coached education for motivation sounds like a first step. thats not shaming as i see it. thats coaching.

Scott 2
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by Scott 2 »

There's a lot more to body positivity than weight. Most people have something about their physical self they have a problem with. Often these thoughts are based upon unrealistic media ideals, and lead to rituals as bizarre as applying bleach to a butthole. Highlighting this is a good idea, IMO.

I think most people have a pretty good idea of how physically fit they are, the likely health impact, and the generally accepted steps change it. No need to shame. It just makes people hate you, on top of potentially hurting them.

If the individual has not deemed it a priority, that is their choice. Kale smoothies and yoga till ninety might be their own personal idea of hell. Nothing wrong with that.

Observing how effective most diet and exercise programs are at making sustained changes in weight, over five plus years, I can certainly understand people opting out. If they're likely to die younger either way, much better to enjoy the time.

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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by jacob »

I'm practically my own negativity movement when it comes to any movement that includes the word "positivity", but it really depends ...

1) Some aspects of one's body are fixed (leg length, ear size, how wide the knees are, how tall one is, etc) and do not match the [likely photoshopped] beauty ideals.
2) Some aspects are mutable (muscle, fat, bone strength, cardio, ... ) and do not match the health ideals.

Being body positive in face of (1) is constructive because why stress about something that can't be changed. Being body positive in face of (2) is destructive. It seems that the movement tries to encompass both groups and thus conflate both issues. Much disagreement ensues.

My opinion on (2): http://forum.earlyretirementextreme.com ... 329#p99329

A curios factor here is that one's body is a highly visible demonstration of one's "shape" (eating, exercise, ...), especially when naked. It is therefore easy to judge and be judged. Conversely, it's not immediately visible just from looking at them that someone is abusing drugs, really bad at math, a jerk, ...

BRUTE
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by BRUTE »

C40 wrote:How is advice on making choices not useful just because it's coming from someone who is better at making those choices? I've never been that most people would call fat, but I have intentionally lost probably 200 lbs or so in many different 10-30lb phases over my life. Would I really have to be grossly fat once to give advice on how to lose fat?
the thing is that if C40 has never been grossly overweight, his techniques and ideas will most likely be completely useless to a human who is grossly overweight. it's really a difference in kind. to lose 10-30lbs, any little old technique, done for a few weeks, will give results. if a human is really fat, their metabolism is trashed and has been for likely decades. they will require completely different, and extremely drastic, techniques to see ANY results. at some point, it might just be too late.
Scott 2 wrote:I think most people have a pretty good idea of how physically fit they are, the likely health impact...
brute isn't so sure. humans evaluate themselves relative to what they know. if all their peers are unhealthy and fat, they'll think that's normal, and if they're normal, they're fine. since there is an obesity epidemic, normal is already dangerously overweight. thus humans in the west (especially US) tend to think they're "a bit chubby" or "a little overweight", when in fact, they're medically obese. this is further promoted by vanity sizing, driving everywhere so walking is unnecessary, air conditioning everything so the body won't sweat, and many other factors.

of course, if the single thin human in a room of fat humans tries shaming the majority, he's going to be perceived as the outlier and problem. still, brute thinks there's a mass delusion going on.
Scott 2 wrote:..and the generally accepted steps change it
not sure there are generally accepted steps. for every piece of advice regarding fat loss and health, there is an equal and opposite opinion that's also very strongly held. even in the realm of studies, there are studies that clearly contradict each other at least in the conclusions, because researchers themselves are extremely biased to begin with. and most studies can be interpreted/ignored based on point of view.

MZMpac
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Re: Thoughts on the Body Positivity Movement?

Post by MZMpac »

Body positivity usually ends up being a synonym for fat normalization. And it's totally driven by women. Which is fine, but let's not berate others who arent attracted to obesity and let's certainly not paint it as a different shade of healthy.

I think people pull the "beauty standards" card as a scapegoat for their lack of personal responsibility or dissatisfaction with their own appearance. Beauty standards exist in almost every culture and every time period. Same with provisional standards for men.

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