People living in bigger bodies are at the forefront of Body Liberation because they live in a system and a culture that has negated their worth and even treated them as a mortal enemy for decades. However, people in smaller bodies are harmed by Diet Culture too, in at least a couple of ways.
Because Diet Culture and its indoctrinated health professionals tell us that thinness is synonymous with health, people who are living in smaller bodies are often assumed to be the epitome of health when they are far from it. A person living in a small body can get away with consistently making nutritionally poor food choices and never moving their body at all because health professionals assume, simply upon looking at them, that they must make nutritious food choices and exercise regularly. I know people in very small bodies that everyone – including their doctors – assume to be “very healthy” simply because of their weight that are raging alcoholics, illicit drug users and two-pack-per-day smokers. These behaviors go unchecked and unchallenged because, since their bodies are small, there’s obviously nothing to worry about, right?
Another way that some people – particularly women -- in smaller bodies suffer in Diet Culture is because of how their body’s naturally comply with Diet Culture’s beauty norms. Don’t get me wrong, people in smaller bodies benefit from this compliance as well – this is called “thin privilege” and will be the subject of its own, in another post. But, the way in which a woman in a smaller body might suffer from their compliance with Diet Culture’s beauty norms is that they are expected to enjoy and absorb all of the attention they get from men even from a very young age. Because their bodies are so much like the female bodies we see objectified in everything from Disney movies to pornography, the general assumption is that these bodies are objects meant to be admired and consumed. We do not have to acknowledge that there is anything else worthy or important about this person. They won the genetic beauty lottery and thus, that is their major worth in this world. And people living inside this beauty standard are raised to believe that when they are objectified, they should be flattered; they should see this objectification as validation for their worth as a human being. Because this whole scenario is seen as “enviable” and what any woman would/should want, it often goes unnoticed or unquestioned. Girls grow up to believe that they should be flattered by every advance that comes their way or guard themselves fiercely so they will not be taken advantage of and usually end up doing an endless dance between these two ways of being.
Diet Culture harms everyone. Children. Girls. Boys. Adults. Men. Women. Of all races and ethnicities. Of all abilities. People in smaller bodies. People in bigger bodies. Every. One. The antidote to Diet Culture -- and ALL of the disorder that it creates -- is Body Liberation. Body Liberation is for Every. Body.
is an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer; an ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor; a certified Yoga Teacher; a Certified Intuitive Eating Professional; and a degree-holding Health, Fitness Specialist. She lives in Frankfort, Michigan and owns Every. Body. Fitness and Yoga Studio.