This blog post was inspired by a post on Livestrong.com titled "Olympian Aly Raisman's Inspiring Instagram Post Wins at Body Positivity" which showed Aly's beautiful Instagram post pretty much giving the middle finger to the boys at school who made fun of her for being too muscular.

alyraisman Shoutout to all the boys from 5th-9th grade who made fun of me for being "too strong". Thanks for forcing me to learn to love myself and my body. My muscular arms that were considered weird and gross when I was younger have made me one of the best gymnasts on the planet. Don't ever let anyone tell you how you should or shouldn't look. There is no such thing as a perfect body type. I love being a part of the #PerfectNever campaign. #GirlPower  #Supporteachother

alyraisman Shoutout to all the boys from 5th-9th grade who made fun of me for being "too strong". Thanks for forcing me to learn to love myself and my body. My muscular arms that were considered weird and gross when I was younger have made me one of the best gymnasts on the planet. Don't ever let anyone tell you how you should or shouldn't look. There is no such thing as a perfect body type. I love being a part of the #PerfectNever campaign. #GirlPower  #Supporteachother

Olympic Medalist Aly is a beautiful girl with a body which has served her so very well. I won't even say "she's got a great body" (even though she really has) because I feel that would totally undermine the time and dedication she has put towards her gymnastic skills. I don't even feel comfortable discussing her body because she is so much more than a great figure. Her body is a tool for expressing, for progressing and pushing limits. Aesthetics should have nothing to do with it. That is what she has chosen to do with her body and I applaud that.

She is a girl, however, with feelings, a woman who grown up having been "teased" (possibly bullied) for her body shape. So, just like those of us who have faced some form of social discrimination because of our excess body fat, Aly is just as entitled to her Body Positivity as the next girl (or boy for that matter).

However something doesn't sit right with me and I think I just want to open a discussion about it, to see if I'm being overly sensitive, overly protective of those I'm focused on helping. In this Reebok #PerfectNever campaign I see mixed messaged.

I see "All bodies are beautiful" which I agree with 100%. But I also see "If you work hard enough you too can be exceptional" which of course Reebok, a sports clothing brand want you to adhere to. 

I have trouble with this message though because it puts just as much pressure on impressionable women to conform to a low body fat percentage as all of the images of size 0 models in the media. "Strong is the new skinny" (or as I see it "Skinny with muscles is the new skinny"- double pressure) is still causing and perpetuating eating disorders, be that anorexia, bulimia, exercise bulimia or orthorexia: a condition that includes symptoms of obsessive behaviour in pursuit of a healthy diet.

What do you think about this? Is it yet another brand jumping on the body positive bandwagon, abducting the buzz words and turning them into marketing jargon to further their cause?

Or am I being overly sensitive?

 

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