Is the Body Positive Movement going too far?

Hey Loves,

I really wanted to come to you guys with something that has been on my heart lately. I couldn’t think of a better title, but I need you all to rock with my for a little bit. I’m hoping this post will open up a dialogue about the state of the “body positive” movement. Let me be clear, I am all for change, and healthier public images of plus size women. I do think our daughters need good examples of women doing great things. However the ideas I’ve been seeing lately I find troublesome to say the least.


I don’t know about you, but lately I have been seeing different articles calling for change. 1st we were inundated with articles & images about creating a plus size barbie doll, and recently a young lady from Virginia has started a petition to create plus size Disney princesses. She says…

I made this petition because I’m a plus-size young woman, and I know many plus-size girls and women who struggle with confidence and need a positive plus-size character in the media.

More info on her petition.

Now I’ve been a plus size girl all my life, I had MANY barbie dolls, and I  own pretty much every Disney movie. But I’m so bothered by these ideas.  I truly don’t believe that plus size barbie dolls & Disney princesses are the answer.

I think when it comes to raising our young girls, it starts with parents and/or caregivers. Our role models should be our mothers 1st, not a fantasy character. Because that is exactly what Barbie is and that is what the Disney princesses are, they are fantasy and should remain as such.  If parents took the time to remind their daughters that they are beautiful, and reinforce healthy & positive body ideas, then we wouldn’t have to rely on that ridiculous idea that our daughters would need fat barbie dolls.

Now don’t get me wrong yes, media and public visuals do play a part in the lives of kids nowadays and I understand that, but there has to be a level of personal responsibility that parents or caregivers need to take. I firmly believe what we learn at home is what we take with us throughout life. Think about it, who are our 1st teachers? Our parents. If we see our mothers working hard, on their grind, we tend grow up doing the same thing. But if our mother is constantly talking about being fat, constantly criticizing her body (or the child’s body), a child growing up will take on that same idea. Instead of teaching sports as just a form of exercise use it to teach leadership skills or team building skills, or how it can offer the chance to travel.

I feel like we’re always hoping and longing to be accept and have this crazy notion that these materialistic things will some how make the fat girl accept herself, when the women in her life haven’t instilled acceptance from the get go. We should be supporting mentoring programs on healthy body image, supporting after school programs to help them with their school work. We should be teaching them leadership skills. We should be teaching them public speaking skills or have them learn an instrument. (do our girls know who Sujari Britt is?) We should be putting our daughters in extracurricular activities; girl scouts, dance, sports, debate teams. Give them something to strive to, help them accomplish something worthwhile. That is where their confidence as young ladies will grow. Open their minds to something other than weight.

Are we opening our daughters up to women like….
Toni Morrison: is an American novelist, editor, and professor.Bernice King: an American Baptist minister. She is the youngest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Coretta Scott King.Shonda Rhimes: An American screenwriter, director and producer. Jillian Camarena-Williams: an American track and field athleteMichelle Carter: An American shot putter. She is the current American record holder in the event with a distance of 20.24 mHolley Mangold An American athlete, she was a member of the 2012 US Olympic Team. Sukanya Krishnan: A news anchor for the 6-9 am segments of the PIX Morning News on WPIX in New York City.Leymah Gbowee: Liberian peace activist responsible for leading women’s peace movement that helped bring an end to the 2nd Liberian Civil War in 2003Madeline Jones: Editor in Chief of Plus Model Magazine

^^^^ All of these women, among others need to be visible to our daughters. These women are of all colors, and backgrounds but have done amazing things with their careers. Let’s not completely remove the images of Disney & Barbie because we do need to keep their imaginations flowing in different directions. My point is I think we need to change our way of thinking. And not always do we have to alter images, but add new ones to create balance in what our girls see.

What are your thoughts? Do you think we need plus size Disney Princesses? Let me know your thoughts.

xoxo
Shay

3 Comments

  1. January 31, 2014 / 8:31 pm

    The ideas about a plus size Barbie and a plus size Disney princess are aimed at changing global views about larger bodies, particularly women. The images we see in media affect all of us, and those images are of thin predominantly white women. It needs to change. We need to see more women of different sizes, colours and shapes in positive roles to make a lasting impression on not just our daughters, but ours sons, our neighbours, our school mates and so on.

    Putting emphasis on parents is ignoring the larger problem that exists and though it will absolutely help with individual girls self esteem it will not address discrimination, which our daughters will still face as soon as they walk out the door.

  2. February 1, 2014 / 5:30 am

    I think more emphasis on plus size role models is a better solution. Growing up, I wish I'd seen more women who looked like me on TV, but I also had great women in my life who taught me to work for what I wanted in life.

    That being said, I think that dolls are a fantasy and as such don't necessarily need to be created to help with self-esteem. If a girl's social network still has particular stereotypes about plus size people, a doll won't do much to boost her esteem.

  3. February 11, 2014 / 10:23 pm

    I think you're right. I was thin until my mid 20s (I'm 41 now), and it's more the attitudes of my mother, grandmothers, and aunts that formed my self-image now. Toys I played with were Breyer horses. Barbie existed only to ride those horses. Disney movies I watched were animal ones, not really princess ones. Does that make my opinion of less value?