The Plus-Size Movement: A Positive Change or A Push Towards Obesity?


Picture by Ola Elmahdi

By Ola Elmahdi , Staff Writer

2017 was a year of political turmoil and movements in America, especially among minorities and communities that have previously been hidden from the public eye. One of the movements that has recently become more widespread is the plus size movement, which encourages society to recognize and show acceptance of the “plus size” community by including them more in the media and discontinuing any negative ideas regarding larger-than-average bodies. Far-left feminists claim that the movement will decrease societal pressures on the youth of America, and promote self-love and good mental health. However, many are hesitant to support the movement due to its potentially hazardous effects on the general physical health of Americans. This movement blatantly glorifies poor physical health and obesity, and should not be embraced by the retail industry and American society.

The plus size movement emphasizes the belief that “fat is beautiful too,” rather than encouraging their supporters to maintain a healthy weight. They spread the message that people should “love their bodies as they are.” When confronted with the notion that people may begin to love their unhealthy bodies despite their weight being a result of poor dieting and unhealthy lifestyles, these activists simply respond with something along the lines of: “Just because someone has some extra fat doesn’t mean that they aren’t healthy.” Despite the popularity of this idea among far-left feminists and activists, Irish obesity expert Professor Donal O’Shea has stated, “Around 95-98% of people who are obese are not physically fit, and they are carrying all the disease risks that obesity brings: dementia, cancer and diabetes.”

As plus-size models and actors become increasingly popular in the media, people’s interest in physical and health-promoting activities has decreased. A study in 2015 titled The Dove Effect consisted of five experiments that featured plus-size models in a normalised or positive way. The study concluded, “After viewing plus-size models in a positive light, women ate more and reported less motivation to pursue a healthier lifestyle.”
The movement and its resulting increase in appearances of overweight models, actors, and singers in the media follows the pattern of the societal normalization of dangerous behaviors. In the 1980’s, actresses including Audrey Hepburn and Bette Davis began lighting up cigarettes on-screen. Cigarette usage by high school students coincidingly showed a sharp increase in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

The plus size-movement discourages people from seeking a healthier lifestyle, and its acceptance of overweight Americans promotes the commonality of obesity in this country’s youth.