James Hock - MRH Faculty
Social media is ruining the positive in the body positivity movement
Updated: Oct 4, 2021
by Maddie H
The body positivity movement was introduced as a way for plus-size people to feel confident and happy about their body, but in today’s generation, social media downplays body positivity as skinny girls are taking over the movement for themselves.
Any shape, size, or form should be able to have confidence in their body. It is so important to love your body for the way it is. However, the body positivity movement is to empower overweight people and make them feel good in their own body. Everyday, plus-size girls are struggling to be accepted in society. Being overweight has constantly been seen as unhealthy when that is just simply not always the case. On the other hand, being skinny is socially acceptable. It is the beauty standard to be skinny. Gen-Z has limited bodies to be a certain weight until they are not good enough anymore, this is the reason body positivity came to be.
Social media consists of celebrities and “pinterest girls” who edit their photos to be “prettier.” It is almost like no one thinks they are good enough to be accepted in society. You have to be skinny, have clear skin, a nice jawline, the perfect curves, big lips, and the perfect facial features. These expectations will never be reached unless photos are edited. This tricks people’s minds into thinking that they will only be accepted if they edit their photos which causes extreme insecurities. But this will never change. The major problem right now is body positivity being downplayed and mocked.
Lately, on Tik-Tok, many girls have been expressing their body positivity. Everyone deserves to be body positive, but it becomes a problem when they just mock the movement without knowing it. For example, 16-year-old Sienna Gomez is the face of body positivity on Tik-Tok. Her videos consist of her talking about how it is okay to have fat rolls and that it is okay to not fit society’s standards. Here’s the problem with this: she forces her rolls and tries to seem “fat” to give it a positive message. This is just plain wrong as it basically mocks the entire body positivity movement. There are people who naturally have rolls and cannot force it like Gomez does. It just makes those people feel that much worse about themselves. It changes the whole idea of body positivity.
It is obvious that this is not her intention. All she wants to do is give her young audience confidence in their body and show that it is okay to have rolls here and there. Although this is a very positive and heart-felt message, Gomez is literally the beauty standard. She has the flat stomach, the perfect curves, perfect skin, she has it all. Everyone experiences body shaming no matter what, but Gomez has never experienced what overweight people experience. There is a large difference between being the beauty standard and being overweight. The reason Gomez gets so much recognition for her message is because she is visually appealing to society.
The body positivity movement needs to be recognized with creators who have different and “socially unacceptable” body types. The whole point of the movement is to bring light to those whose bodies do not get recognition and are not labeled as the “perfect body.” Social media controls the minds of so many people including young children and teens that something needs to change. Social media is full of impressionable children and teens that are being engraved with societal norms that can cause issues in the future. If plus-size bodies and unusual bodies start getting recognized more, this can be a positive change to this issue.
To fix this issue of the body positivity movement being ruined by social media, people need to recognize other creators. There are many people out there who advocate for body positivity that need more recognition such as Megan Jayne Crabbe, Maddie Touma, and Britney Vest. Kids and teens on social media need to learn that everybody is different and deserving of love no matter what. Continuing to advocate for different bodies will make a giant difference and hopefully change society’s standards someday.
Variety is so important in body positivity and if people continue to only support people like Gomez and her message, there will never be social acceptance of other bodies. Social media made the movement much more damaging than uplifting and a change needs to happen.