Illustration by Jenn Stonge, CA

Illustration by Jenn Stonge, CA

The Body Positive Movement is everywhere right now- men and women of all sizes and abilities are setting out on journeys toward self-love and body acceptance. With all the attention the movement's been getting, there are a few messages that have gotten muddled. Here's what body positive activists everywhere really want you to know about the Body Positive Movement:

1. No, We Don't "Glorify Obesity"

Body positivity isn't about glorifying obesity; it's about promoting positive self-image and mental health.

To those who say that being overweight isn't healthy: neither is hating yourself.

Promoting positive self-image has been shown to actually encourage people to take better care of their bodies; conversely, bullying and harassing overweight people has been shown to do the opposite. Body positivity is all about mental health and loving yourself; it has nothing to do with glorifying or promoting one body type over another.

2. 'Fat' and 'Beautiful' Aren't Mutually-Exclusive Adjectives

Right this minute, there are millions of plus size men and women out there looking fabulous. Style isn't size-exclusive; fat babes can rock any style just as well as their thinner counterparts can; I myself rock crop tops and sheer things; supposedly big 'fashion faux-pas' in the plus size community.

Everyone has the right to wear whatever style of clothing makes them feel most lovely.

Plus size people aren't obligated to wear the most 'flattering' clothing for their body type, we can rock whatever we'd like to.

3. You CAN Be Fat and Live A Healthy Lifestyle

I weigh three hundred pounds. I work out twice a week at the gym and go for daily walks with my dachshunds. It takes 3-4 flights of stairs for me to be winded, I can jog a mile without stopping, and every single blood test I've gotten indicates that I'm in above average health.

I eat both healthier and less than everyone I know, and I'm still the fattest of my friends. I live my life consciously in a healthy way.

My weight problem stems from a hormone imbalance that refuses to be controlled with medication, not because I'm lazy or an over-eater or because I have a poor diet, which is what people assume when they look at me. I'm living proof that you can live a healthy lifestyle and still be 'morbidly obese'. Body positive activists want you to know that it's possible to be both health-conscious and plus size, and that size isn't an indicator of how healthy a person is.

4. You're Conditioned To Be Intimidated By Happy Fat People

Everyday, all day, we're bombarded with messages from advertisers and the media telling us that you can't be fat and happy. You *need* this diet pill! You *need* these work out videos! You *need* to be skinny so you can be healthy and happy! We've been conditioned by advertisers and the media to glorify a thin body type and to view larger ones as unattractive, which is why, when we see someone who's fat and content with themselves, some of us just lose our minds a little. We're taught to be discontent with ourselves if we're not thin, so people who are content and fat go against everything we've learned over our whole lives. I try to keep this in mind whenever I get negative feedback on my appearance across social media- being fat and happy in a society that profits off of our insecurities is a radical thing.

The Body Positive Movement is about promoting self-love, as-is, without any qualifiers. You're allowed to love yourself NOW, not when you lose ten pounds, not tomorrow, but right this minute.

Body positivity is about trying to recondition ourselves not to view our perceived flaws as problems, but rather to appreciate ourselves for who we are. Mental health and positive self-image are inextricably linked, and the Body Positive Movement has done so many beautiful things for people. Go out there and take all the self-care selfies you want; you're perfect just the way you are and should be celebrated!

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