The central thesis of the feminist so-called “body positivity” movement is that when fat women are celebrated and privileged in the media, the result will be greater satisfaction among women with their own bodies and a healthier self-image.
Recent research, though, indicates that this is not true — that such benefits of the movement are entirely imaginary.
Via Psy Post:
A study published in Computers in Human Behavior explores how sexualized representations of body positivity may serve to increase body surveillance and acceptance of plastic surgery.
Beauty ideals have been influential in popular media for a long time but have been expanded by the rise of social networking sites. An incredibly high number of adolescents and young adults utilize social media daily, using it to share and view pictures and videos, many of which serve to enforce beauty standards and exacerbate insecurity and body dissatisfaction in consumers.
The body positivity movement aimed to push back against these popular beauty ideals by emphasizing acceptance and appreciation of “every body, at every size.” Despite the respectable cause, there have been some accusations of a dark side of the movement, which can be exclusionary and/or sexualized. This study sought to explore the effects of sexualized images being used for body-positive social networking.
As far as the methodology goes, the researchers recruited 493 Italian women between the ages of 18 and 30. Most were unmarried and heterosexual. The researchers solicited the data from the participants, which covered “demographic information, body surveillance tendencies, body satisfaction, acceptance of cosmetic surgery, Instagram usage, and frequency of viewing sexually objectified body-positive selfies on Instagram.”
And here are the results:
Results showed that viewing sexualized body positivity images was associated with higher levels of body surveillance, a preoccupation with monitoring one’s own physical appearance. Additionally, viewing this sexualized content was associated with lower body satisfaction, which is the opposite of the intent of the body positivity movement. [emphasis added]
The study’s authors themselves, whose work was published in Computers in Human Behavior, commented on the sociological significance of the results:
In line with the literature, such a result confirms that socio-cultural norms about appearance greatly influence women’s feelings toward their bodies. Indeed, even the pressures deriving from exposure to appearance-focused body-positive images – which is expected to reduce the value attributed by women to their bodies – led to greater acceptance of cosmetic surgery.
The next time a #bodyacceptance propagandist claims they are doing the Lord’s work liberating women from the Patriarchy™ or whatever, we have now evidence that directly contradicts this claim.
The entire movement justifies itself morally on the assertion that it helps women feel better about themselves, but, as we see, the actual outcome of such content is precisely the opposite.
Of course, the real motivation is for obese women to attempt to feel better about themselves because they are miserable by forcibly re-engineering societal standards of beauty, a totally selfish aim that, at its core, has none of the feigned altruism they pretend it does.
Failing to actually feel better about themselves, the fat propagandists will settle for a community erected upon shared misery, which is why they go hog-wild on members who stray from the plantation and actually achieve a healthy weight.
I seem to recall the old adage that it loves company, after all.