the HAES® files: “Body Acceptance” in the Media

by Health At Every Size® Blog

In the past weeks there have been at least two articles about size/body acceptance that have wiggled their way into the mainstream media. Both are complicated in that the messages they convey have both pro and con body acceptance messages.

These kinds of articles can generate mixed feelings in those of us involved in HAES and/or Size Acceptance work.  We would love to hear what you see as the pros and cons of these kinds of articles.

The Obesity Era

Why Thinking You’re Ugly is Bad for You

4 Comments to “the HAES® files: “Body Acceptance” in the Media”

  1. I personally, have issues with multinational companies like Dove (owned by Unilever) co-opting size acceptance language and gaining traction with advertising campaigns like their “movement for self-esteem” or their “campaign for ‘real beauty'” (http://www.visiblemeasures.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Dove-Real-Beauty-Campaign.jpg) while using all able-bodied, conventionally beautiful, young models to continue hawking products that ultimately, are sold to consumers to give us “silkier hair,” “smoother underarms”, or more “toned skin”.

    Last year, in 2013, Dove went so far as to get Beth Ditto involved in their Real Beauty campaign and rather than make me cheer (since I think Beth Ditto’s rad), it further incensed me because, as Yasmin Nair wrote in an article entitled, “Are We Fabulous Yet?”, “In the new world of ‘body positivity,’ fatness and gender-non-conformity have been interpellated into an implicit: Be fabulous or else! Dove’s “Real Beauty” ad campaign, for example, insists on affirming that you should find your true beauty—all the while telling you that you really, really need to be beautiful. The recent celebration of Ditto’s wedding on both British Vogue’s website and alternative sites emphasize her Jean Paul Gaultier gown—it’s not enough that she be a woman of size, but that she be gorgeous. Would she be as celebrated if she wasn’t armed with an arsenal of style? If she decided to be unfabulously fat?”

    If Dove wants to talk “real” beauty, then maybe diversify a bit and go beyond the typical topical layer to show the amazing range of shapes, sizes, ages, abilities that all bodies have. I would love to see a REAL queer campaign that broadens the term “beauty” for what it can mean beyond the superficial.

  2. I liked the Obesity Era article. I think it did a pretty effective job of challenging conventional wisdom, such as the law of thermodynamics. There were several bits I hadn’t read elsewhere. Not sure about the audience though. Who’s reading it?

    TedTalks I’m much more familiar with. I use short pieces from that site often in my classes. Perhaps because of this, I found that piece to be a little tired. She doesn’t have much new to say.

    Really enjoyed the Mia Mingus blog. Thanks for posting it here. As a femme lesbian, I can sadly identify with several points she makes. I have been dismayed over the past few years to meet more than a few activist lesbians who, despite years of impressive social justice work, are demonstrable sizeists. It is (no surprise) often veiled under concern for health. Or, worse, their sizeism is all about unthinking sex-positivity, such as “I can’t help what turns me on!” There is a new lesbian trophy wife who shares much in common with the hetero version. I hope awareness of these trends can help them to cease.

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