Things I have heard the body positivity movement say:
- Body positivity can actually help people who want to lose weight. Fat shaming does not.
- Obesity is not an “illness” or an “epidemic,” it is a risk factor in a number of illnesses and treating obesity itself as an illness makes fat people feel like shit tbqh, which is counter-productive.
- Diagnostic overshadowing is something fat people routinely have to put up with. Conditions that have nothing to do with weight are sometimes missed because doctors are obsessed with telling people to lose weight.
- There is good evidence showing that diets and exercise are not all that effective at keeping weight off in the long-term.
- Weight loss is treated like a magic bullet and this ignores the complexity of health issues, including the social factors.
- Treating fat people like people can only ever be good for their health. It is not “indulging” people to acknowledge that fatness intersects with race, class, gender and disability in complex ways.
- It might be a good idea to put more resources into figuring out how to treat fat people rather than continuing to put so many resources into making people thinner, which is a losing battle anyway.
Things I have NEVER heard the body positivity movement say:
- Every fat person is healthy.
- Doctors don’t want to operate on fat people because they hate them and want them to die. The anaesthetic thing is a myth.
- Fuck you if you want to lose weight.
- Nobody should ever consider making any changes to their lifestyle.
Things medical professionals need to acknowledge:
- Misrepresenting the views of the body positivity perspective is a convenient way to avoid challenging yourself on your own behaviour.
- Science is not a neutral objective bystander, it is subject to the same human biases as everything else.
- We are not yet done learning about the human body and there is a lot left to learn.
- Some of the darkest, most abusive incidents in the history of medicine have been caused by professionals retreating into their “expert” role and failing to listen to patients.