Body positivity is not what we need right now

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: HANNAH THEODORE
Home workouts can only do so much, so go easy on yourself. We will get through this.

It’s been a long summer — and that’s putting it mildly.

For months on end, many of us have been limited to our homes, with nothing else to do but sit on our phones and try not to absorb too much of the world’s shared pain. Everything around us changed in a single moment, and it’s felt like the global anguish has only gotten stronger since March.

But, one thing that hasn’t changed is society’s obsession with weight loss. It’s a bit baffling, that in the midst of a racial awakening, global pandemic, and a nation literally on fire, that some of the rhetoric this summer still had to do with losing weight.

The Fanshawe College Student Services and Here For You logos are shown. A young woman is shown sitting at a desk. Text states: Supoort comes in many forms. Experience flexible services that support you where you are.

Whether you were on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, there was no escaping the constant posts suggesting that all this spare time at home should be used to “glow-up,” get fit, start running, and lose weight. And if you didn’t use this sweet time off for bettering your physical appearance, then you’re just proving that time was never the issue, it was merely you and your own laziness. Ouch.

Ignoring these posts was nearly impossible if, like me, your free time was actually being used to scroll social media relentlessly, in search of any kind of comradery and sanity in the midst of a global catastrophe.

Instead, all we found was shame. Shame that we were actually gaining weight, shame that we were wasting our time, shame that we weren’t somehow getting thinner and richer during a pandemic.

It should go without saying, but this is wrong. The only thing that matters about your body right now, is whether or not it is healthy and keeping you alive.

In response to the shame, we may feel drawn towards body positivity or online influencers who tell us it’s OK to have rolls and fat and cellulite. While they’re not wrong, now doesn’t feel like the time.

You don’t have to love your body to exist in it. You don’t have to eat healthy or work out every day to feel good. Daily affirmations about physical appearance will only drag you deeper into the hole that tells you that your body matters at all.

You matter, but right now, your body doesn’t.

For once, can we not have this moment be about our bodies? We don’t need to thrive right now, we just need to survive. We need to appreciate the good we have in our lives, while also acknowledging the pain of the world around us. Plus-size, mid-size, petite, thin, fat, obese; these are words that stop us from looking out and keep us looking in, always searching for something new to hate about ourselves.

The Fanshawe gym remains closed, and our food choices are limited to what we can afford on a CERB budget. We are bound to small apartments, living through a painful chapter of world history. So cut yourself some slack, turn off your phone, and just keep pushing.

We can deal with everything else on the other side.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.