While its intentions may be good, the Body Positivity movement is controversial and polarizing. While some praise it for helping people to become more accepting of different body types, others denounce the movement as a series of excuses for people to pursue unhealthy habits and do nothing to improve their lives.
Jack Bly, a fitness expert, recently ignited a firestorm of controversy on the internet thanks to a strongly worded series of posts he made on Twitter about the Body Positivity Movement. He called these posts “5 Reasons Why ‘Body Positivity’ Is Evil.”
Here are some of his reasons and some of the responses that he has generated.
The Dark Side of Body Positivity
The first of Bly’s criticisms of the Body Positivity movement is that it is simply false that one can be “healthy at any size.” Being overweight or obese puts you at increased risk for things heart disease and diabetes, which can shave years off of people’s lives.
Next, Bly does not believe that it is wise to normalize what he calls “low standards of life.”
The fact of the matter is any approach that says that all body types, without distinction, are to be celebrated is dangerous. It’s certainly true that some people, such as burn victims or those with disabilities, have problems with their bodies that are beyond their control. It is wrong for society to browbeat such people into feeling bad about how they look, and there is nothing the matter with encouraging people to be more accepting in such cases.
In the vast majority of cases, however, people’s bodily problems are the result of their deliberate, and often unhealthy and harmful, choices. We should think twice about praising these choices as part of some misguided effort to make people feel good about themselves.
Third, the health problems that flow from obesity have a very real cost to society and put a strain on the medical system. In 2008 alone, the cost of obesity-related illnesses was estimated at $147 billion.
Bly’s fourth reason is related to his second. By prioritizing people’s feelings about themselves over objective facts about health and wellness, we are raising a generation of people who are ill-equipped to navigate reality.
And lastly, as Bly put it, “Body positivity is virtue signaling with no ethics in sight.” According to Bly, he received an overwhelming amount of support for his views.