Since its inception to date, body positivity has gained increasing global popularity, promoting the sentiment that all body types and sizes – abled or disabled – are of value and worthy of respect. While the intent behind this social movement is good, it has been misrepresented as “enabling poor health by encouraging people to become obese and overweight”. Regardless of the misunderstanding of the body positivity movement, the goal remains the same. To reaffirm the self-esteem and health awareness needs of different people with different bodies. In this article, we’ll dive into what body positivity, fat-shaming is, and its wider effects on fat people’s health to be more aware of and challenge our own biases in the creative industry.
Larger people have been made into the bane of the movement, due to the assumption that being big-bodied is a surefire sign of poor fitness & diet management, hormonal imbalances, posture issues, and a precursor to various types of heart disease. The obsession with fat has been a media staple since and fat people were depicted as food-obsessed caricatures with little to no impulse control or motivation to live healthier, more active lives.
For a very long time now, clothing, health care, and media representation did not have fat people in mind. The dominant ideas in society prioritized being slender, fit, and lean as a status symbol of health and wellness, self-control, and good judgment. Up until very recently, fashion brands and manufacturers did not produce large-sized clothes and footwear for customers who are larger than average. Currently, the industry is buzzing about brand inclusivity as new brands emerge to accommodate it, and old brands are adapting to meet the demands of this emerging era. An inclusive brand would cater to the needs of customers that are larger than size 24 while keeping in mind that Petites, juniors, and small shoppers need to be considered as well without promoting a particular size as a norm in such a way that they feel disregarded.
The beauty industries have taken size inclusivity to a whole new level, offering more opportunities for larger people, from beauty campaigns to swimsuit modeling and magazine work, influencing opportunities and incentives and having the stereotypical definition of fat being scraped off. This use of diverse models appeals to a wider range of consumers as these consumers start questioning why certain rules, such as using a specific size, were in effect.
The future of size inclusiveness depends on a good representation of diverse body types. No matter your appearance, you can achieve success, joy, and abundance.