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Body Positive

In Elemental. More on Medium.

Body positivity changed my world. Why didn’t I do more to make sure it changed things for Black women, too?

Photo: Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

It was March 2017, and I was sitting on stage at SXSW, arguing with a men’s rights activist. I’d been invited to host a panel called “My Body Is NSFW,” about the issue of censorship and erasure of fat bodies in media. I’d pitched the panel based on an article I’d written for my column, The Anti-Diet Project. Beside me sat Nicolette Mason and Gabi Gregg — both iconic media figures and personal heroines of mine — whom I’d invited to join as my panelists. As a fangirl, it was the thrill of a lifetime. Furthermore, they’d been speaking out…

When ‘average’ stops being mathematical and becomes a value judgment

Photo: Cedric Tyaglovsky/Unsplash

“How would you describe your size?”

I am being interviewed by a woman who has asked to speak with me as part of her academic research. She has taken issue with nearly every descriptive term I’ve used to describe my body — plus size, fat, thin, slim, straight size. So I’ve asked her what words she uses, and how she would describe her own body.

As an undeniably fat person, descriptors are often foisted on my body without my input or consent. …

Illustrations: Maria Chimishkyan

There’s a movement outside of gyms to make fitness a safe space. Whether the industry will ever fully embrace body positivity remains an open question.

There is one particular video in the Underbelly, the app by body-positivity advocate and yoga instructor Jessamyn Stanley, that I do almost every week. It’s a 36-minute workout of sun salutations that builds up to a yoga posture popularly known as Wild Thing, where you teeter somewhere between a side plank and a backbend. It’s a hard workout that makes me feel badass, but my favorite part — and the reason I repeat the video so often — is right at the beginning, when Jessamyn tells me to go into a “wide-legged” Child pose, with my heels together and knees…

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