Has the body positivity movement been co-opted by bloating videos? – Beautifaire

Has the body positivity movement been co-opted by bloating videos? – Beautifaire

“Bodies that appear like this, also appear like this.” For those who’re on TikTok, you’ve probably heard that line playing along side a normally thin-bodied influencer contorting her body to point out fat rolls or bloating. As one user noted, that is what’s called “curated imperfection”, because it co-opts the body positivity movement (created by and for larger bodies). 

While TikTok is filled with pro-eating disorder content like body checking, which involves compulsively examining your body, a recent trend sits on the road. Before and after eating videos highlighting bloated stomachs are being celebrated as body positivity on the app. With predominantly thin bodies taking part, this might not be the revolutionary conversation that’s needed for its younger audience. 

Dr Laura Choate, licensed skilled counselor and professor of counselor education at Louisiana State University, says these videos can be extremely harmful to someone with disordered eating. “The main focus continues to be on body checking and obsessing in regards to the size and appearance of your stomach,” she tells Dazed Beauty. “These images could possibly be highly triggering in that they feature thin and sculpted women who’re focused on the looks of a body part as an alternative of specializing in health and wellness and a myriad of other things which might be more meaningful and purposeful than achieving a selected body size.”

The message that being full or bloated doesn’t mean you might be “fat”, nevertheless, is something she says is useful for those recovering from an eating disorder. “Although these videos encourage people to imagine that the fullness and bloating is clearly apparent to others, which it will not be,” she said. “But it surely is certainly not helpful to larger women to have thin and toned women demonstrating this before-and-after process. This only puts the emphasis back on the importance of the present thin ideal – that ultimately, we must always have a flat, toned, and even concave abdomen, which will not be the norm for the overwhelming majority of women and girls.”

Georgia Sky, an actress based in Los Angeles and a creator who aligns with the fat acceptance and body acceptance movements, looks like she’s been “kicked out” of the body positive movement for being in a bigger body. “I couldn’t do that trend because TikTok’s fat shamers would come for me,” she says. With over 80 thousand followers and an engaged audience, Sky has experienced being called a “fat whale” together with other racist remarks and comparisons to Lizzo and Gabourey Sidibe within the 2009 movie Precious.

Despite the hate she’s received on the app, she does wish to think that trends comparable to the bloating trend have real intentions to point out that it’s okay to have a relationship with food. On a platform that’s openly admitted to suppressing videos by disabled, queer, and fat creators, nevertheless, centering thin bodies within the body positive movement does more harm than good. “The body positivity movement originally began and originated from the fat acceptance movement that was began by black fat women. And it was fighting for marginalised bodies,” she says. “Thin creators should as an alternative use their voice to fight for marginalised bodies. I’m not saying you’ll be able to’t have insecurities because your insecurities are valid, but you might be on a shallowness journey not a body acceptance journey because your body is accepted by society.”

“I’m not saying you’ll be able to’t have insecurities because your insecurities are valid, but you might be on a shallowness journey not a body acceptance journey because your body is accepted by society.” – Georgia Sky

Sky says that many trends began by plus size creators are repeatedly co-opted by thin people on TikTok. One example of that is the song “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj. While many plus size creators began creating fat positive videos to the lyrics “I got an enormous fat ass,” soon thin creators began using the song and singing the lyrics ironically. This also happened when a creator showed her body saying “this is what 5”6 and 230 pounds looks like.” Now, many creators use that very same sound to inform their followers about their extremely low weight. 

Kirsten Oelklaus, co-founder and program director of Bellatore Recovery for eating disorder recovery, says any weight or calorie-related content is certain to encourage comparisons and idealistic standards. “A lot of our clients struggle with happening the rabbit hole of following posts on social media where individuals post their meals or dietary advice, and it is very easy to slide into obsessively finding even ‘higher’, and more rigid guidelines they need to follow,” she tells Dazed Beauty. “Essentially the most dangerous undertone to all of those posts is the proven fact that they’re all based on changing one’s appearance, and our sense of self and value becomes wrapped up in just that.” 

Oelklaus says the more helpful trends for her clients involve content related to the positive aesthetics with food – preparing and having fun with recent and different meals that change into experiences. Andrea Mathis, a body positive dietitian and the creator of Beautiful Eats & Things, creates content that is strictly that, yet still faces criticism on the app (including mocking videos). When she first got here across the bloating videos, she was confused as to how they aligned with body positivity. 

“You’ve got individuals who wish to support the movement but they don’t understand how, so that they should probably seek advice from someone that’s experienced it on a day by day basis or living it every single day,” she says. “A whole lot of times the skinny creators’ accounts are a bit larger so that they do have the power to achieve a large audience. Some creators have been calling out harmful trends and I appreciate that, so I feel possibly other creators should use their platform to amplify the voices of creators which have really experienced the negativity that comes with fat shaming.”

It’s essential to keep in mind that TikTok doesn’t exist in a vacuum and that the identical fat shaming and toxic dialogue around weight from thin people comes from day-to-day lived experiences and biases. With this in mind, it’s integral for skinny creators to look at the ways by which they contribute to fatphobia or each on and off the app. In spite of everything, if a movement began by larger black bodies now not feels welcoming and accessible for those self same bodies and is as an alternative co-opted by thin white women who bloat, it’s not body positive in any respect. 

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