Lately, a lot of people are using the Internet to spread the messages of others who are making a difference. For example body positive activists. Someone who is a body positive activist believes in the premise that all bodies are good bodies. And that’s amazing because all body types are worth celebrating and body shame should be completely eradicated from the media.
Clare is a 25-year-old body-positive Instagrammer (follow her @becomingbodypositive) who often speaks her mind. She also posts a lot of pictures of herself on social media. The girl who has 34,000 Instagram followers posted this side-by-side photo showing her stomach at the gym, after a workout. In the caption, she explained that posting gym selfies can be problematic. And that’s because people document their gym routines on social media with workout selfies that can have a dark side. They often leave social media users feeling self-conscious. Clare admitted that looking back at her own workout photos, they show that she was also looking for validation.
The body activist is not ashamed to show off her stomach, and people are calling her brave for doing so. But she
argues that there is something problematic about sharing the photo in the first place.
“I think the conversation around ‘body positive exercise’ needs to evolve beyond just diverse displays of body confidence in the gym,” she wrote. “When I stop to think critically for a second about my own gym selfies — even the ones I’ve posted on here — I start to question the extent to which most of them are still stuck on ‘performing’ the act of ‘health and fitness,'” she wrote, adding that the act of “performing” on social media is a way of seeking approval from other people.
Clare was honest and candid when she said that what is shared on social media affects other people as well, and not just the person who shared it. She concluded that this is even true of photos that have allegedly good intentions.
Her point resonated with many of her followers, who expressed their support and approval.
“I think about this all the time. I’m so glad you put it into words,” one user said. And another wrote, “this is such an important discussion! Thank you for posting.” While others were amazed by Clare’s stance on the body-positive movement in general. “Profound,” one Instagrammer commented. Someone else said, “I always love your commentary on these posts. Incredibly intelligent and insightful. Keep on shining bright like you do.”
Here’s the full caption of Clare’s Instagram photo:
“I think the conversation around ‘body positive exercise’ needs to evolve beyond just diverse displays of body confidence in the gym. Don’t get me wrong, seeing women with bodies like mine — proud and sweaty and capable and strong — has been a profound (if not essential) component of my own journey through recovery and entry into a movement that centers the celebration of difference. But this act alone — no matter how radical or liberating it feels — does not complete the work of bankrupting the fund of ‘body currency’ that profits off the misery of those who fall outside the norm.
In fact, when I stop to think critically for a second about my own gym selfies — even the ones I’ve posted on here — I start to question the extent to which most of them are still stuck on ‘performing’ the act of ‘health and fitness’ — ie. putting my acts of physical activity on display as if I owe the world some sort of public record of my ‘commitment to movement’ in order to be considered valid. What this really is then is little more than an act of begging — begging for an addendum to the social contract that will give me a pass to exist and exercise my right to body autonomy.
So yes, while lifting up my shirt and showing the world that my ‘unconventional body’ can still be ‘active and healthy’ might help disrupt the stereotype that fat bodies are ‘lazy and undisciplined,’ in many ways this action still REINFORCES the normative expectation that fat bodies NEED TO CONSTANTLY BE PROVING WHY THE WORLD SHOULD ‘TOLERATE’ US.
Not to mention how sneakily ableism creeps in here — attaching value to bodies that ‘prioritize fitness’ and thereby excluding those with disabilities and health conditions (or even those who simply just don’t want to make exercise a primary project in their lives) from access to that same respect. Lots to think about here, but I do think it’s worth interrogating these types of actions with a little more of a critical eye — keeping in mind that what we want is not acceptance into a culture that enslaves us, but the total eradication of that culture, period.”
This post was found on This Is Insider.