The Truth About Body Positivity

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According to verywellmind.com “Body positivity refers to the assertion that all people deserve to have a positive body image, regardless of how society and popular culture view ideal shape, size, and appearance.” While this is all well and good… do you truly know who started the Body Positive movement? The Womxn and Femmes who deserve our utmost love and respect for their leadership?

Before White Women came in and made it about themselves (as we have a historical tendency to do), Black Womxn and Femmes have been celebrating their natural curves for centuries and thus creating the movement to stand up against a world telling them everything about themselves is wrong. They are too Black, they are too thicc, they are too loud, too aggressive, too everything popular culture refuses to show because it clashes with the thin able bodied white women you see all over your screens, billboards, and magazines. Black Womxn and Femmes created this movement to celebrate themselves and their bodies in a world telling them no.

Despite the fact that they created the body positive movement, the same media they use for their platforms often tells us Black Womxn and Femmes in fat bodies are “lazy” or “promoting obesity” (whatever the hell that means) whereas White Women get praised for “diversifying” our media. Think about how deeply ingrained it all is. Think about the last time you saw a Black Fat Body on a popular magazine cover? You’re probably thinking about a human like Queen Latifah who is lighter skinned. You’ve never seen an Amber Riley or Gabby Sidibe. The reason you have never seen darker skinned Black Womxn and Femmes like Amber or Gabby is because colorism is alive and well, promoted by White Feminism. We preach acceptance, but only to a certain extent, only to Black Womxn and Femmes who look only slightly different from us.

Ashleigh Shackelford (all around fucking badass, seriously, check them out), regularly discusses this issue and states the following in an article titled “The Body Positive Movement Still Looks Like White Feminism”:

“Fat women and femmes of color are ignored, while those who are lighter-skinned are hyper-humanized. This works in conjunction with fatphobia. Darker-skinned fat Black women and femmes are demonized and juxtaposed as the direct opposite of the beauty standards that promote white, thin, femme bodies as a universal goal. Gabourey Sidibe is a primary example of why body positivity and fat acceptance does not privilege women or femmes of color. If so, Gabby would have the platform that Melissa McCarthy or Rebel Wilson has. We never regard Gabby as a forerunner in the body positivity movement, although her representation and presence is imperative for everyone. Seeing a darker-skinned Black woman who is not shaped like an hourglass, who does not have small petite features and who is unapologetic is powerful and necessary.”

So why am I bringing this up? Because once again, the Womxn and Femmes who founded this movement are consistently left out of the conversation, shoved down, and told to be quiet. White Feminism took hold of Body Positivity, made it their own, silenced and forced Black Womxn and Femmes out of the mainstream conversation because White Women typically only like to see and hear from White Women.

In our studio, we claim to be Body Inclusive and here for all Womxn and Femmes, but we need to better about showing up for them, shining light on their wonders, celebrating their achievements and glory. We have stumbled, we can admit that, but we are getting back up and will continue the fight for the most forgotten about members of our society; Black Womxn and Femmes.

So without further ado, here some of the many many many Black Womxn and Femmes (bios included) that you need to be following for their take on what Body Positivity means to them. Please note: If these Black Womxn and Femmes have Venmo or Paypal listed in their account bios, you need to be using them! The links are not there for decoration. They deserve payment for the emotional labor they are extending into the world to be utilized by others. This is not up for debate.

  • Kellie Brown: Consultant 〰️ Creator, NEW Home decor brand, TikTok AndIGetDressed, YOUTUBE & IG+ @andigetdressed, #FatAtFashionWeek

  • Jessamyn Stanley: My Joy Is My Resistance. HBIC. Author. Podcast. Advocate.

  • Mama Cāx: Survivor🎗/ (Role) Model, Blogger/Advocate/ @glamourmag Women Of The Year All Year 2019

  • Gabrielle Gregg: OG Fat Girl, fashion, travel, design, mental health, lingerie collection at @playfulpromises , swim collection @swimsuitsforall

  • Olivia Campbell: London based➕Size Model and content creator • [She/Her]

  • Jaimmy Koroma: Body Positive Fitness, Loving my body throughout the journey Fitness + Lifestyle. Self-love. Self-care.

  • Pia Schiavo-Campo: Intersectional Empath | Social Justice | Body Liberation | Style Over Fashion

  • Sonya Renee Taylor: Author, poet, cute animal squealer unapologetically committed to radical self-love as a path to liberation. Hollar! sonyareneetaylor.com tbinaa.com

  • Alishia McCullough: Bio: Licensed Mental Health Therapist, Social Justice Warrior, Promoter of Fat Liberation & Racial Healing, Trauma Informed ED

  • Ericka Hart: Sex Educator, Racial/Social/Gender Justice Disruptor, Writer, Breast Cancer Survivor, Model,  podcast: Hoodrat to Headwrap

  • Gem Nwanne: “the revolution will be tiktok’d”

These are just a few that I (Katie) personally follow and highly recommend as a White woman. If we can’t look outside of ourselves, in every aspect including our feeds, we will never learn, we will never grow, and we will never truly be living up to our standards of Body Positivity, Inclusivity, and Diversity.

Let’s learn together and raise Black Womxn and Femmes up. We need to address our White Feminism in order to start dismantling it and I am grateful to start this process with you.

Sincerely,

A Privileged Woman Taking Steps to Educate Myself to Serve Black Womxn and Femmes with the Love and Respect They Deserve

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