Monday’s with Ms. Marvel: body positivity


Morgan Kong

In her weekly column, Monday with Ms. Marvel, Wingspan’s Trisha Dasgupta reviews different political issues and relatable topics in everyday life.

Trisha Dasgupta, Editor-in-Chief

The body positivity movement took off in the early 2010s as a way for women to fight back against existing misogynistic values of beauty that negatively impacted young girls and their self-confidence. 

After decades of magazines and societal views that perpetuated disordered eating and other harmful practices in the restless pursuit of being skinny (the perceived ultimate beauty goal), the acceptance of other body types was a brilliant and revolutionary thing. However, the core messaging of the body positivity movement has changed drastically, and the initial message has just been perverted into another way to enforce shallow beauty standards.

There is nothing productive about a movement that is simply extending the male gaze rather than fighting against it. 

In 2021 almost every body-positive post on social media is about how being overweight is still beautiful and still attractive, and that self-confidence will come when one realizes that. We’re basically telling ourselves and young girls, “Hey, don’t worry! No matter how you look, you can still be attractive!”

How about we stop telling girls that we should find self-worth based on how attractive we are? 

The real issue that is found in fatphobia and our culture’s disgusting attitude to weight issues is that people who aren’t skinny aren’t respected. 

Medically, patients who are overweight have systemically been ignored and their issues dismissed and written off as a symptom of obesity in lieu of proper tests being run. Extensive research has proved that overweight patients are routinely suffering from life-threatening diseases that are ignored even though these issues are unrelated to their weight. 

This is the real issue with beauty standards and expectations- the fact that it is affecting people’s lives and well-being, The issue isn’t that society doesn’t find overweight women attractive, but rather that our society doesn’t respect women they don’t find attractive. 

I’m sorry but if someone is facing debilitating chronic pain while being ignored by medical professionals, the knowledge that at the very least they’re still able to cater to the male gaze isn’t going to provide them any solace. 

The body positivity movement should be about promoting the idea that regardless of how attractive someone is or how well they fit into beauty standards they should be respected and treated like a normal human being. The idea that one’s sex appeal is correlated to their worth is an outdated patriarchal idea that is just being perpetrated by the current body positivity movement. 

If we want to fight back against the values of beauty, we need to tell young girls to start ignoring them. Let’s start telling girls to build their confidence by learning new things, reading more books, finding hobbies they love, and becoming well-rounded individuals. Let’s start finding worth in our personalities and the things we love and stand for rather than tirelessly trying to rise to or reinvent physical standards for beauty. 

Instead of trying to prove to men on the internet over and over again that women can be beautiful despite their weight, let’s just accept that people have different bodies and push the idea that it shouldn’t affect the way they are treated or valued.