Photo via Wear Your Voice #BeyondBeauty Campaign/ Photographer Elena Kulikova
In light of the heightened violence against Black folks worldwide, it’s imperative that we remember that when we talk about body positivity, fat positivity and the movement to end body shame: #Blacklivesmatter is inherently a body positivity movement. Our fight to be humanized, end white supremacist violence, protect our bodies, our children, our families, our people is a body positive movement.
There seems to be some confusion around what body positivity actually means and how it must operate as a movement to incite change. Many body positive/plus size centered organizations, businesses and body positive bloggers have yet to make statements around the visibility of the violence happening to Black folks worldwide. If you have yet to say #BlackLivesMatter on any of your social media accounts or made a valid effort in pushing the narrative that the world we live in must change to fulfill the hopes of body positivity, then you’re not actually body positive, and you don’t care about the violence against Black people.
The body positivity movement is largely based in intersectional feminism and encourages the end to body shame, beauty standards and violence against all bodies. The subsector movements within it include fat positivity to empower and protect fat bodies, disability empowerment and justice, empowerment and protection of trans and gender-nonconforming bodies, reproductive justice an end to colorism and empowerment of dark skin bodies, the empowerment and protection of non-straight identifying folks AND overall racial justice. There is no body positivity without focusing on how antiblackness operates, how white supremacist patriarchy harms everyone and how #BlackLivesMatter must always be apart of the conversation.
The way body positivity is set up, and the way consumerism around fat bodies is set up, there is a capitalistic gain on fat bodies — especially Black fat bodies — not having access to clothes that fit us, being denied access to jobs and opportunities, being harmed by antiblackness in very specific, targeted ways and being denied overall humanity and visibility. The more we struggle as Black fat folks, especially Black fat women and femmes, everyone who is not us is protected and has more access to resources denied to us. This becomes even more stringent and complex when we incorporate colorism, ability, levels of socioeconomic background, geography, gender and sexuality.
But what’s interesting is that so many of the most popular plus size/body positive bloggers are Black. Some amazing Black bloggers include Essie Golden, Chante Burkett, Shaina Harrison, La’Shaunae Veggies, Tatiana Mercedes Brissett, Chastity Garner, Peggy Jean (OntheQTrain), Amarachi Ukachu, Rochelle Brock (photographer and model), Kierra Tanner, Ashleigh Nicole Tribble and the list goes on. Do their lives matter? Or do their lives only matter when they’re able to perform capitalism for businesses trying to sell overpriced clothing? Do you worry about how they’re navigating the psychological and physical violence in surviving being Black, fat and femme? Do you ever wonder how they’re surviving the constant trauma of Black people being murdered everyday?
A plus size apparel store named Lola Getts recently made a post on their page saying, “All Lives Matter, Even Curvy Girls.” After being dragged, they deleted the post. But this alone speaks volumes to how intersectionality and inclusivity is lost when it comes to violence against Black bodies. The casual usage of “All Lives Matter” is disgusting, but also telling that they probably don’t have too many Black people working at that company while they’re still hoping for the endorsement and praise of numerous fat Black bloggers.
But regardless of if a company or a blogger says #AllLivesMatter or not, your silence is your acknowledgment that you don’t believe Black lives matter nor do you care about ending the violence of antiblackness. If plus size/body positive companies and non-Black bloggers are unwilling to acknowledge the violence against Black folks and proclaim that #BlackLivesMatter — there is no choice but to protest and drag each and every one of you. And we will. Just wait for it.