Someone once asked me, as if the answer were obvious, “Don’t you just love the song All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor?”. I know the question was so innocent and wasn’t intended to spark any sort of controversy, but in my head I began to think of why that song bothered me so much. Besides the catchy tune and the initially clever lyrics, the song really doesn’t do much for me. Actually, I find it sort of annoying. Between the lines “boys like a little more booty to hold at night”, “you know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll”, and calling young women “skinny bitches”, I think the song is extremely disrespectful and promotes body positivity in all the wrong ways. It’s not just that song that does it, either. There are a plethora of other companies that convey the same message: you should be comfortable with your body, no matter what your weight. We are so focused on numbers on a scale and being “fat” or “skinny” that we have forgotten the true meaning behind body positivity and being healthy.
Fat doesn’t equal unhealthy, and skinny doesn’t equal healthy. “Overweight” on a BMI calculator can also mean that the person has a lot of muscle weight, whereas “underweight” doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not eating enough. We all have different body types, from athletic to straight to curvy and everything in between. We don’t get to choose our body types, genetics and whatever higher power you believe in determine that. No matter what we eat or how much we work out, our bodies will retain the same general shape to a certain extent. It is important to embrace this instead of focusing on fat and skinny, because frankly we cannot all fit into one box.
Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should love the skin they’re in. Our bodies are the only homes we will ever have. When we love our appearance, our true beauty radiates from the inside out. But the fact of the matter is, obesity is a huge problem in the United States. Our diets are horrendous. We spend our days in front of computer screens and televisions instead of outside and moving our bodies. It is absolutely not okay to stop taking care of your body just because Dove or Aerie or Meghan Trainor tell you you’re perfect. If you really loved your body, you would take care of it.
I love my body. It allows me to do amazing things. My mind has taken me to places I never would have imagined. My legs have helped me hike a mountain, run a 5K, and travel the world. My arms help me embrace the ones I love and prepare meals for myself. Because of these things, I want to take care of my body. I want to nourish it with the best possible food I can find. I want to keep my heart healthy and muscles working properly. Yeah, I treat myself a lot. Actually, yesterday I had the BEST slice of blueberry cheesecake I’ve ever had. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s fine to choose to watch an episode of your show on Netflix instead of spending 45 minutes at the gym. It’s okay to order pizza with your friends on a Saturday night and enjoy 3 pieces of it. But it’s not okay to do these things on a regular basis and say that you love your body, because if you really did, you wouldn’t be treating it like that.
I truly believe that as a society, we are taking the wrong approach to body positivity. We should love our bodies and treat them with respect. We shouldn’t be focusing on fat or skinny. What we should be focusing on is loving our bodies so much that we want to take care of them. We should be embracing our natural shape and accepting the fact that we are never going to be anybody but ourselves. And that in itself is a beautiful thing.