[Never Say Diet] In Defense of Body Positive Blogs

iVillage Never Say Diet Virginia Sole-Smith Body Positive Blogs

First of all, thank you all so much for the smart, sweet, poignant, hilarious comments on this post from two weeks ago. It seriously rocked my world and in fact, I’m still reading through everything and will try to get more responses up — I didn’t quite realize what a thought-provoking discussion that post would start and then of course, I gallivanted off to Weddingpalooza for two weeks. Whoops!

Plus, while I’ve been gone, a whole discussion has started all around the body image blogosphere about whether all these sites where women post pictures of themselves, talk about their weight, what have you, are actually good for our body image, or just a new way to create a weird standard, enforce it, and pit women against each other in a horrible, competitive way. Gah.

As I explain on Never Say Diet today, I definitely don’t love the triggering potential of these projects. And I realize that talking about your weight or posting a picture of your stomach on the Interweb is not going to be the path to body acceptance for every one of us. But I do think these communities are playing an important role in increasing image diversity and giving women and girls a voice. Especially women and girls who are still figuring their own body sh*t out.

Because it’s not at tidy, sanitized process. It’s very often one step forward, three steps back. We rationalize weird choices. We contradict ourselves. We continue to buy into beauty standards that make us sad.

But sometimes, even in the midst of all that, subtle progress is made. My friend M told me that when she first started reading y’alls comments on this post, she immediately did the knee-jerk comparison thing of looking at people’s weights and wondering “is she taller than me?” As you do. But then she got interested in all the other cool stuff people were talking about. Making pickles! Belly dancing! Enthusiastic if disastrous mountain biking! Growing new humans! Getting your insurance license!

Your weight is just one fact about you. And it’s definitely not even the most interesting fact. But it’s a fact that causes a lot of people an awful lot of pain. So I’m open to trying any and every strategy that might help with that.


1 Comment

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One response to “[Never Say Diet] In Defense of Body Positive Blogs

  1. >So I’m open to trying any and every strategy that might help with that.<

    Perfectly stated. I'm not all for the way many body-positive blogs are done (obviously, and thanks for the shout-out in the iVillage piece!), but I think that in order for there to be a sea change, we need to have a whole host of ways to combat the messages we've been given for so long. For some that might be looking at images, or posting images of themselves. For others, relief might be found in numbers. I don't think that body-image bloggers can avoid triggering people prone to ED behaviors–we can be responsible about it, but past a certain point it's got to be in the hands of the person who's recovering.

    I remember having a conversation with a health editor at a major magazine who had told me she was recovering from an ED, and she said that while she did her best not to put triggering info in her pieces, she also knew that what's triggering for 8% of the readers might be helpful to 50% of them, and neutral for the balance. We can only do so much!

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