#BodyPositivity – is there a ‘right’ way to do it?


WE ALL LOVE a good body positive post right? Women and men who have conquered their weight loss goals, women who accept that their bodies don’t need to be a size 0, cancer survivors who proudly show off their mastectomy scars, women who are embracing the changes their bodies have undergone through the stress of  carrying and giving birth to a child (read: a freaking tiny HUMAN being)  and then pushing it out of a small – very small, very,very small (okay, child birth scares me a lot!) – part of their body…

Yes, we love seeing people accept their bodies and flaws. So why is it that everyone is publicly shaming a young woman for exposing her ‘stomach rolls’ on social media?

Not sure, but it could just be because she is a ‘fitness guru’ (read: tiny, toned human being who inspires people with her tiny, toned body)…

Who happens to look like this.

Image from @annavictoria

The tagline for the story, posted by Mandatory, reads: “There’s nothing like a super tiny girl trying to convince others she’s just like you; super inspirational.”

I have to admit, when I first saw this article I was gearing up for a good laugh. I mean, it’s ridiculous right? Insulting to overweight people, yes? Delusional and most likely a publicity stunt, correct?

Possibly. But as I read the posts, I felt sorry for Anna Victoria.

Firstly, because as many women have discovered (including myself), there is no level of ‘skinny’ that can make you invincible to feelings of insecurity. There is every possibility that Anna Victoria is one of the thousands of women who struggle internally with her looks – even though, to the world, she looks like the ideal of perfection.

“Everyone deserves to love themselves, however I know that’s easier said than done. What’s amazing to me and what I have witnessed with the fbg girls is most of the time they start learning to love themselves more on their journey not because of the physical changes, but because of the mental and emotional changes that come from dedicating yourself, pushing yourself, and seeing just how strong you really are. (what we call “non-physical progress” and is just as, if not more important than physical progress). That type of strength and beauty can only be seen and felt from within. 💪💗#fbggirls http://www.annavictoria.com/guides

It makes me think back to high school, where I would run into the toilets and sit crying because at the age of 15, weighing just 42kg, I was convinced that my body was ugly and ‘not normal’. I didn’t think I was obese, but whenever I saw the ‘rolls’ on my stomach, I’d think of the girls I’d seen around school with skin that didn’t seem to roll at all when they sat down (never mind that they were so thin their bodies looked like washboards). All I had to compare myself to were the girls at my school, and the model images that stared back at me from every magazine or surf booklet I flipped through.

No, I was never ‘fat’, and most people who know me will probably laugh and internally mock me for revealing this, but sometimes the smallest things – like not having anyone to reveal to you the simple fact that when you sit down, you’re supposed to have skin rolls, or that media images of models have been photoshopped – can lead you to create dangerous and unhealthy dialogues with your body.

These days I’m pretty content with my body – I eat for pleasure, while also exercising and doing things that nourish my health. I make sure to remind myself every day, that my health and being pain free, is more important than obtaining ‘social media bikini body’ perfection. Because after all, there is no such thing.

Interestingly – whether tragic or inspiring – Victoria’s post has managed to resonate with many (while also repulsing others). I wonder if perhaps she was genuinely trying to overcome an insecurity and inspire others to do the same…

Source: facebook

And then I also wonder if the post was simply a narcisistic, shameless grab for attention, or an attempt to increase her likes for a ‘paid post’ in which she was promoting a particular item of clothing.  I guess only Victoria can tell us the truth about that.

Is Victoria’s post most likely offensive and ridiculous to many of us? Yes. Does it change the world on a large scale? Probably not. But I’m not sure that public shaming will either.


Some quick stats:
According to Eating Disorders Victoria: 
  • In Australians aged 11-24, approximately 28% of males are dissatisfied with their appearance compared to 35% of females 12
  • The Australian National Survey, revealed that body image was identified as the number one concern of 29,000 males and females 12
  • The Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, found that only 22% of women within a normal healthy weight range reported being happy with their weight. Almost three quarters (74%) desired to weigh less, including 68% of healthy weight and 25% underweight women 12

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