Fat Positivity Doesn’t Require Self Love

You don’t have to love yourself to be fat positive. Fat positivity, in theory and practice, is about justice, not self love. The radical notion that fat bodies are inherently worthy of respect, dignity, and equal treatment challenges systemic anti-fat bias and anti-fat discrimination (aka fatphobia or fatmisia). When fat positivity is co-opted into so-called body positivity that is focused primarily on self love, it is no longer fat positive and no longer a movement for collective justice.

There’s something wrong, though, when we reduce the movement of fat positivity from a collective effort for justice to an individual behavior related to the self. How we value and treat ourselves as individuals is important, but it doesn’t undo the systemic challenges we’re facing. It may make them easier to bear, but that’s not (or shouldn’t be) the goalpost.

Asking people who’ve been oppressed and marginalized because of their body size (and often other intersections, such as disability, race, and gender) to love themselves can be a form of oppression by wrongly implying that we can or should “love ourselves” out of our oppression. Here are links to two excellent articles about this (h/t to @bettinasays on Twitter for reminding me of these pieces).

When self love isn’t enough by Your Fat Friend at Medium

4 Hidden Problems with All of This ‘Love Your Body’ Talk by Caleb Luna at Everyday Feminism

What are your thoughts on self love as it relates to fat positivity? Share in the comments or feel free to tweet me @fatpositivecoop!

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