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Body Positivity Is Hurting Women

Mary Cella


The body positivity movement has taken the internet by storm. Women of all shapes and sizes are confidently showing off their figures and it feels like there's finally some societal progress toward body acceptance.


And I hate it.


If you aren't familiar with body positivity, it's the belief that everyone is beautiful. And if you don't feel beautiful, that's because you're not trying hard enough. Click on the link to buy these 75 products that will help you look and, more importantly, feel beautiful as you sink into credit card debt.


Capitalism has hijacked body positivity, or maybe it spearheaded the movement. Since this is an effort that's largely taken place on Instagram, which is essentially a personalized ad platform, it's a chicken or egg situation. What came first: companies trying to sell beauty and fashion products to women of all shapes and sizes or women of all shapes and sizes wanting to buy fashion and beauty products? We'll never know the answer, only the bottom line, which is that these companies are profiting hugely off women's desire—nay obligation—to be beautiful.


Though I'm critical of the motivation behind body positivity, I admit that it's progress. It’s no longer as socially acceptable to criticize female bodies, whereas when I was growing up, it was completely normal to judge even a young girl's body. In fact, we called it parenting.


So while body acceptance is of course a good thing, it’s this continued obsession with bodies that makes me want to become a (still functioning) brain in a jar. I’ve spent my entire life struggling to accept my body and the older I get, the more eager I become to focus on something, anything but my body. The more I long to forget for even one second that I’m trapped in a vessel that other people consider either attractive or unattractive, depending on how they feel about 5’1” brunettes who just barely fill out a B cup. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t spent my entire life thus far obsessing about what other people think of my thighs, I’d be an astrophysicist, or at least a personal injury lawyer.


Violence against women is an epidemic and gender-based financial discrimination persists, but body positivity appears to be the predominant feminist movement of this era. Body positivity, which demands that all women—not just the ones who’ve always been considered conventionally beautiful—feel confident in their appearance. This brand of feminism requires full acceptance of one’s own form, which is a nice idea but leaves no space for vulnerability. I feel like admitting an insecurity is now anti-feminist unless I’m doing it in a caption of an Instagram photo of my ass. Social media loves nothing more than a photo of a female butt with a caption that reads something like, “Sometimes I worry I have poor reading comprehension.” She’s hot and humble—not about her body but about her brain.


I’m not going to hold my breath for a brain positivity movement, but I am hoping for a stop-thinking-about-my-body-for-thirty-fucking-seconds-so-I-can-finally-focus-on-something-else movement. I’ll start it if you join.

If you enjoyed today’s moot, check out Mary’s website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter. If you are feeling generous, consider donating to Planned Parenthood, Mary’s charity of choice.

*For each moot, we generate a cover image using  DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'Body Positivity Is Hurting Women' in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe, Mary Cella's artist of choice.*

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DALL·E 2023-06-21 22.42.16 - a painting of a fat woman in the style of Georgia O'

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