Separating Body Acceptance from Feminism - A thought provoked on International Women's Day


I don't consider myself as an active feminist.

My work focuses on making mindful and positive connection with body, movement, and eating, which to me is a vital skill for all persons living in today's society that is weight-centred, weight-biased and unhealthy-phoebic.

The instant I label this work as a feminist activity, it inevitably creates the notion that it is more important for females than males.

But it's not.

It's important for everyone.
Everybody.

Every. Body.

Feminism started as a way to bring equality for males and females.
So no, feminism isn't about females being more important than males.
It is genuinely about acting equally, without prejudice, for both men and women.
But the thing is, there is stigma. 
A stigma that feminism is 'all about women, their porential power, and their rights'.
A stigma that body positivity is for females; the "fat" woman or the mother who just gave birth to a child and hasn't got her "body back" or a high-school-aged girl who is bombarded with skewed image of an ideal body on social media. 

Fortunately, body acceptance is becoming more widespread among women thanks to social media.
But the movement is lagging in the male community.
When men openly discuss body image issues or share body-acceptance or body-positive talks, this often receives a joking laugh.
It isn't taken as seriously.

And this is dangerous.


When it comes to medically diagnosed Eating Disorder, about 64% are females [1].
But recent research shows that Orthorexia Nervosa (unhealthy obsession to healthy eating) affects males equally, or even potentially more frequently, than females [2].
Orthorexia can have a huge negative impact on the person's social life, relationship with family and friends, school and work, because of the obsession towards 'purity' in food and 'superiority' in eating. 



Accepting and embracing all bodies is important for everyone.
Engaging and healthful, natural, and comfortable eating is for everyone.
Participating in joyful movement and activity is for everyone.


Because every kind of self-care, body-acceptance, natural healthful eating, and joyful movement is a right for every single person (and their body) in our society, I like to separate body acceptance from feminism.

 


[1] Butteryfly Foundation 2012. https://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/key-research-a-statistics.
[2] D.A. Baily. 2014. Orthorexia Nervosa: How is this Affecting the Male Population? http://www.bhndpg.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Orthorexia-Nervosa-How-is-this-Affecting-the-Male-Population_.pdf

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