[BOPO] Body Positive, each waves that make a bigger wave
LOVBOD  ·  2021-03-31
Which comes first, clothes or people? Of course, people!

LONDON Oxford street "Nike Store mannequin" [Photo by = telegraph Instagram capture]

In June 2019, a mannequin at the Nike store in London Shopping Street went viral. They displayed a plus-sized mannequin on the front of the store, and expanded the range of "mannequin-like bodies" that they have been praised so far.What we needed was not the time spent to get the mannequin-like body but ‘a mannequin like my body’. Nike solved the problem which the consumers have been suffering about. In addition, in overseas, brands such as Aerie, H&M, Lululemon Athletica, and in Korea, brands such as Vivevive are supporting Body Positive

What is ‘Body Positive’?

 Body Positive Movement is a movement to break away from the standardized beauty standards and love myself as I am. The start date and the motivation is not known but it is sure that its origin was ‘Fat Acceptance Movement’, lead by a Black Queer Community in 1960s and the ‘Body Positive’ organization, founded by Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott in 1990s. 

‘Fat Acceptance Movement’, which is also known as Fat Pride, Fat Empowerment, Fat Activism was dedicated in eliminating the negative attitude towards obesity by rethinking the perception of social barriers that fat people are facing and the prejudice against race, gender, sexual orientation, age or the absence or presence of a disability. 

Connie Sobczak founded ‘Body Positive’, a Non-Profit Organization with Elizabeth Scott in 1996, when her younger sister Stephanie died at the age of 36 of eating disorders which she had since in her late teens. She also suffered for a long time because of her muscular body and said, “I don’t want to waste the rest of my life a feeling of hatred of myself.”

They are doing various campaigns until now while encouraging people to get rid of unrealistic standards or goals and the society’s perceptions and live as themselves as negative body image could worsen the quality of life and cause eating disorders.

For us to protect ourselves

In November 2011, Isabelle Caro, a French model, died. Her death was more shocking in the Fashion industry as it was just after the shooting for a campaign about the danger of anorexia.

According to the media, Caro weighed about 31kg at 165cm just before her death, and suffered a long time with anorexia due to her obsession with skinny body. After Caro’s death, the models had to submit a diagnosis from doctor as a proof for their physical fitness and BMI.

And in some part of Europe, a legislation was enacted, stating the retouchee(retouched photograph) must be marked for all photos where the bodies are photographed.  The only thing that could protect them at that time was the law and the fine. However, it was not only Caro who died because of anorexia.


After these series of cases, Ashley Graham, the first plus size model who appeared in the cover page of American Sports magazine, ‘Sports Illustrated’ started a hashtag movement(#thickthighsaveslives), that posted pictures of her thighs which were not photoshopped to break down the beauty standard towards skinny bodies.  Afterwards, in 2019, (#iweigh) movement was popular, lead by Jameela Jamil, a British model and actress, well-known as playing the role ‘Tahani’ in <The Good Place> Jameela Jamil criticized and emphasized that one’s value and beauty could not be measured by numbers like weight and that judging young women according to their weight and appearance is a standard, causing terrible effects to them. Jameela Jamil said it is not her appearance, but her good friends, her longing for work, her financially independent life, and feminism were the values and examples of her life.

Yes, the world is changing now.

Body Positive Misunderstandings

1. Beautifies Obesity?

This social movement has also brought along the criticism that it’s beautifying obesity. People often criticized a plus size model who lost some weight that she’s a betrayer and that she was not beautiful anymore and that it encouraged obesity and isolated people with skinny bodies. However, Body Positive is not about the size. It’s just a movement which encourages you to love yourself as you are whether you are skinny or fat. It is meaningful in the sense that it is slowly destroying the social barriers such as “If you’re fat, you’re not beautiful” and “Skinny appearance is beautiful”. This world is wide. There are so many things in the world that are more important than beauty to live in pursuit of only the beautiful silhouette that keeps changing.

2. Work-out just for woman?

Media has objectified woman’s body and role. Body Positive has been emphasizing the freedom from beauty standard that has been forced to women for a long time but it is not just for women.

The greater message of this movement is to be free from all standards that judge us and respect each and everyone’s uniqueness and diversity not only just about women's body. Therefore, the message of the movement could be expanded to the freedom of all fields such as gender or sexual orientation, age, absence or presence of disability, etc. 

3. Just a method to justify people who are lazy in taking care of themselves?

Nike also has broken the prejudice that fat people don’t exercise putting on the sports wear onto the plus size mannequin. In June this year, American singer Lizzo who sang the song ‘love yourself’ uploaded an exercising video of her with the caption that she has been regularly exercising for 5 years and criticized the American diet culture, the judgement against other people and the strict beauty standard. In this case, Kim Min-kyoung, a Korean comedian has also been a issue lately. In a recent interview with media, she mentioned that she also received a facial massage when she started ‘Exercise Fatty’ because she had to lose wieght. But she stopped the message because it was not an exercise aimed at losing weight. Kim Min-Kyoung did not exercise for a skinny body. She exercised just to get healthy and just to eat foods that she liked with more taste.

Instead, she said that she did not plan to lose weight. Their movements made us to take a look again to those facts that we thought were obvious that fat people don’t care about their health and working out for a skinny body is what so called a taking care of oneself.


 A post uploaded by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial) in Instagram on the 1st of August, 2018

This was partially brought from Jameela Jamil’s Instagram who is actively leading the iweigh movement. What is really important to us? I would like to deliver this message to me, and to all those friends and women around the world who lived a life like mine. We cannot be judged by numbers.

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