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We Need to Decolonize the Body Positive Movement


Model and educator Ericka Hart talks about how the body positivity movement has lost its way.

Loving your body is optional. You can be in any sort of relationship with your body, and it's important to acknowledge that, rather than constantly feeling forced to love it or guilty if you don't.

When it comes to the "body positivity movement," why do we need to be positive with ourselves? People are not positive with me about my body, that's for sure.

The movement can be such a Band-Aid, especially for anybody who doesn't fit a white supremacist idea of beauty. For them, if they were to ever say, "I don't like myself," folks respond, "Well, you should be positive about yourself."

But that erases the experiences of historically oppressed people. When that mentality co-opts the movement, we leave behind Black and brown fat femmes, people with disabilities, queer people, or those who exist in all of those identities -- these are body-positive issues.

Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy or childbirth -- that is a body-positive issue. Homelessness is a body-positive issue. Racism is a body-positive issue. The movement has become apolitical vanity -- a surface-level, palatable understanding of how fuckable you are. It may inspire some, but it won't get us very far. -- as told to Fran Tirado

This article appears in Out's August 2019 issue celebrating the body. The cover features South African Olympian Caster Semenya. To read more, grab your own copy of the issue on Kindle, Nook, Zinio or (newly) Apple News+ today. Preview more of the issue here and click here to subscribe.

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