Nike just unveiled a plus size mannequin in London and people are losing their minds!
Some critics feel that normalizing obesity isn’t something we should be celebrating… and many have no problem backing it up with fat-phobic comments. Take, for example, Tanya Gold who wrote an article for the Telegraph, and went on an anti-obesity crusade. “She heaves with fat. She is, in every measure, obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, prediabetic and on her way to a hip replacement.”
Thankfully the body positivity movement is strong, and women of all shapes and sizes have come out in droves to support Nike and challenge anyone who feels this mannequin is a huge step backwards.
I’m support Nike.
I support the body positivity movement, with all my heart, and I want to explain why.
I have been a size 6, and I have been a size 18, and I have been everything in between.
And let me tell you, sizes 6-10 = acceptance! I could shop anywhere, confidently bust my butt at the gym, happily go to the beach, network and strike a conversation with people I didn’t know (as much as I really disliked doing it as an introvert). There were people that looked like me and my body shape everywhere – even the plus size models were at most, a 10.
On the other hand, sizes 12-18 = embarrassment. You’re pretty much shunned by society. Shopping becomes a demoralizing experience. This is where you go to the Plus Size section of the store (if they have one), usually in the back, because all of a sudden, you’re segregated from the rest of the shoppers. Oh and there are no mannequins that look like you anymore. “Ssshhhh, we don’t want to promote obesity, do we?” . This is also around the time that the gym becomes harder to go to, especially when you’re the only “fat girl” there. If you want to be healthy, you need thick skin to show up at the gym when you’re a size 18, because you WILL get looks. But if you really want to feel dehumanized, just start networking or striking a conversation with people you don’t know… that’s fun. Watching them do a once-over on you, then move away so you won’t stand next to them. Don’t worry, I wasn’t going to talk about my love for hamburgers and make you fat like me. Sigh.
Basically, when you’re a plus sized girl, you don’t feel like you have the right to exist.
You want to go to the gym? You need to jump over several emotional hurdles before you even touch a treadmill.
THAT is what this is about!
The body positivity movement is not a “fat acceptance” movement.
It’s not about “celebrating a sedentary lifestyle or eating take-out everyday”
It’s not about “romanticizing obesity”.
It’s getting the message out that everyone deserves inclusion and representation – at the gym, in movies, on the runway, in magazines, on social media, in mom groups, etc.
We all have a deep sense of belonging and acceptance, and we all have the right to feel worthy of being loved, regardless of our size or the chapter of our lives that we are currently in.
If you want to end the obesity epidemic, do you really believe that hurtful and inflammatory comments on someone’s body size is going to help?
Whether you’re a size 2 or a size 20, you have every right to be able to purchase activewear, to be at the gym, to socialize, be happy, share vacation pictures on social media, and just be human.
Maybe (just maybe), if we supported each other, on EVERY step of our journey, we could instill confidence and personal empowerment. Actually, that’s a huge part of holistic health – treating the person as a whole. This, in turn, can have a positive impact on mental health, and actually makes it more likely that someone will love themselves enough to make exercise and nutrition a huge part of their lives (regardless of their size!). Going to the gym isn’t so scary when you feel loved and supported in every facet of your life.
And maybe (just maybe), if you’re still not convinced, then consider that your hatred most likely has nothing to do with health. You just straight up don’t think anyone over size 12 should be allowed to exist. (There, said it!).
I would hope that last paragraph doesn’t apply to anyone reading this, but I know there’s a chance that it might, which is why I’m doing my part to boost the body positivity movement and end the fat shaming once and for all.
Oh and to Tanya Gold (and all who support her)… I’m not offended. I know these types of rants are more of a reflection of how you most likely feel about youself, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I just pray that you find peace one day.