How the media creates a skewed view of ‘body positivity’


Jackson Schou

According to a 2016 study, about 13% of the world's population is obese, but every one in three adults in the US is obese.

Jackson Schou, Copy Editor

There is a fine line between being positive about one’s body and facing serious health risks from obesity. 

Body positivity, specifically the positive mindset surrounding being overweight, has been misrepresented in media. Bodies of all shapes and sizes should be accepted and appreciated; however, body positivity becomes dangerous when people start to accept and appreciate people who face health effects because of their weight. 

Obesity is not just being overweight, it comes along with numerous health effects. With obesity comes a severely heightened risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Senior Spencer Brecht believes in the importance of a healthy life. “If you’re not going to do anything about your deadly weight, then that’s your choice,” Brecht said.

Many celebrities including Demi Lavato, Camila Cabello and James Cordon have all spoken out about body positivity and weight issues. In one of his monologues, Cordon replied to comments made by Bill Maher revolving fat shaming. Cordon talked about his personal struggles with weight and the effect of shaming people for their bodies. 

Cordon was one of the few celebrities that spoke about body positivity in a truthful way. “There’s a common and insulting misconception that fat people are stupid and lazy, and we’re not,” Cordon said. The misconception that Cordon is speaking of is created by social media, a platform where anyone can share what they think. 

“I see severely obese people on Twitter talking about how proud of their body they are all the time,” said Brecht. “When you have an overflow of the people that don’t know what they’re saying, it blocks out the people that do.” 

An experience like Brecht’s is not uncommon. It’s hard to go through social media without seeing posts about body positivity.

On the other hand, Junior Muskan Basnet completely supports the body positivity movement. “There are ways to encourage body positivity and a healthy lifestyle. Beyond that, I think that encouraging healthy and nutritious living is just as important as being accepting,” Basnet said. 

Basnet brings up a poignant idea: while people should encourage body positivity, health should also be encouraged. Bringing together multiple aspects of healthy living is the best way to appreciate and accept the way in which everyone lives. 

Although being positive about one’s body should be encouraged, they should also be aware of the health risks at hand when someone is overweight or obese. Not everyone needs to go to the gym six times a week, but people should take their general well-being into account more often when making everyday decisions.