Public vs. private in the world of body positivity
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
It seems like a very easily understood concept—the idea that someone’s body, being their own personal property, is therefore private. Naturally, we assume that because something belongs to us, it is therefore a private space independent of public scrutiny, but as many people have come to realize, public scrutiny is not something so easily dismissed.
As an observer, I think that the dangerous territory people seem unaware that they’re entering is entirely reliant on how far into politically-correct culture they are. People who believe they are doing good by keeping things PC are actually some of the worst offenders in passing judgement.
A recent example of this is the situation with plus-size model Iskra Lawrence. Lawrence, who is a supporter of body positivity and one of the founders of Runway Riot—a website devoted to creating a community of fashion and make-up lovers of all sizes—has suffered a lot of criticism over her recent weight loss. Lawrence attributes the weight loss to changes in her fitness regime that were made for health reasons. Though the weight loss is not significant enough to remove her from the plus-size modelling category, many people see it as significant enough to question her previous stance on accepting yourself for who you are.
If that sounds ridiculous to you, it’s because it kind of is. Body positivity is not a movement based on the opinions of others. Its original intent is to inspire people to accept themselves, so proponents of that movement then turning around and criticizing someone on recent changes in their physique is entirely hypocritical. It’s the equivalent of saying “Be proud of who you are, but only if you’re the way I want you to be.”
Understandably, if you have idolized someone for their perceived acceptance of their unique body, only to see them then turn around and alter that body in a way that you see as an attempt to conform to more traditional beauty standards, you might feel betrayed. What you then need to question is the origin of your own acceptance. Have you actually accepted your body, or were there conditions to that acceptance? If there was, then the acceptance you felt before was actually an illusion—a moment in time that you were less self-conscious.
Being body positive is accepting your body as imperfect and unique no matter what state it is in. It is loving your body just as much in one size as you would if it was two sizes bigger or two sizes smaller, and it is a journey that is individual and private. So all those people who claim that Lawrence isn’t body positive because she lost a few pounds, and that she isn’t a good role model for the movement because she is no longer that larger size—well they’re kind of missing the whole point of it, aren’t they?