Salvo 08.15.2023 4 minutes

The True Negatives of “Body Positivity”

Lizzo “The Special Tour 2023” – Auckland

The absurd concept of "fatphobia" denies objective realities about bodily health.

This October, Temple University is preparing to host its inaugural Philly “FatCon,” a unique conference aimed at providing a so-called “judgment-free” environment focused on celebrating body positivity and fat acceptance. The event will feature “fat-friendly” fitness classes, discussions with influencers, a Halloween costume party, and more. Keynote speaker Sonalee Rashatwar, known as “The Fat Sex Therapist,” will address topics such as the societal origins of “fatphobia” and the intersection of fat and gender. Other speakers include Joy Cox, author of Fat Girls in Black Bodies, who will discuss fashion, social media, and navigating fatphobia. Organizers aim to create a supportive community for people of all sizes to connect and navigate the challenges of a fatphobic society, and to move beyond conventional body positivity buzzwords to promote more genuine self-acceptance.

On the surface, the overall sentiment behind such a conference, and the “body positivity” movement more generally, seems both harmless and benign. After all, with a near constant bombardment from advertisers, media, social media, and Hollywood telling each and every American, especially impressionable young women, that they are utterly worthless if they do not conform to some impossible-to-attain superficial beauty standard, a call for an ethic of greater self- and other-acceptance seems both rational and well warranted. Despite such facially appealing intentions, however, the extreme overreaction that the body positivity movement ultimately represents is actually far more toxic, pernicious, and dangerous to Americans and American society in the long run.

The absurd language of “fatphobia” implicitly undermines any and all notions of objective medical health, fitness, or well-being. It undermines everyone’s psychic and physical well-being to suggest that real and life-threatening medical conditions such as high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes, and morbid obesity are mere “social constructions,” or that physically active lifestyles are offensive, or that peers, doctors, and loved ones who acknowledge such facts are somehow demonstrating fear or hate.

Be it record numbers of anxiety, depression, alcoholism, sedentariness, suicide, illicit drug addiction, prescription pill addiction, adult obesity, child obesity, military obesity, a poisonous national food and water supply, or a host of other concomitant medical and health-related ills fast-accruing within our modern industrial society, Americans cannot and will not be able to address such problems properly and objectively if they are under the radically false assumption that no such objective reality is even there to begin with.

And the body positivity movement does not simply ignore or deny all standards of physical health: it sets up a negative standard, of its own, promoting vice rather than virtue. An absolutely critical notion that seems to be completely lost on the body positivity crowd is the understanding that physical fitness and mental fitness are inextricably connected and that external movement, physical exercise, and quality nutrition can’t help but facilitate inner well-being, mental health, and inner virtue. The body positivity movement largely has the effect of demonizing the pursuit of betterment both physical and spiritual, while simultaneously encouraging the cultivation of vice in the form of pride, sloth, gluttony, lack of self-control.

But perhaps the most pernicious element of the “body positivity” movement is that it demands of its adherents that they constantly and knowingly repeat and tolerate bald-faced lies, both to themselves and to one another, in order to demonstrate continued fealty to the broader politically correct regime. Indeed, everyone knows the idea of “fatphobia” is a total canard—even supposedly “fat-positive” celebrities like Lizzo, who has made a career peddling it. As when the communist apparatchik reports to the starving peasant farmers that the grain yields have doubled this year, everyone knows that what’s being said is a lie, and everyone knows that everyone knows that it’s a lie. That is what is so demoralizing about “body positivity.” Choosing delicate language to spare someone’s feelings or for reasons of social tact is no sin in itself. But what the body positivity movement ultimately demands of its adherents and from the rest of society in the long run is the overt pronouncement of abject falsehoods that everyone knows are abjectly false.

All in all, the “body positivity” movement represents the latest instantiation of the never-ending war against nature, logic, and the contours of objective reality. Since Beauty (like Truth and Goodness) is so immediately apparent and self-evident to everyone, the present politically correct regime requires an entire army of “experts,” bogus theories, made up terms like “fatphobia,” and myriad other social engineering tools and pressures in order to sever and blunt our natural connection to the real, the true, and the obvious. Try as they might, however, fit will always still be fit, and fat will always still be fat. No one can force the world to be otherwise simply by denying these basic truths. But they can do a lot of damage along the way.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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