Is Body Positivity Glamourising Obesity?

We’re just barely two weeks into 2023, and the discourse around women’s bodies is (still) raging on. While some of us are focused on reaching our goals and bettering ourselves, some are still using their time to tear down others (especially towards plus-sized individuals) in a particularly cruel manner on social media – and one woman who is (understandably) tired of it is Lizzo.

While on holiday, the singer took to Instagram to her followers in a video that was shared to TikTok and Instagram Reels addressing the way people discuss bodies online: “The discourse around bodies is officially tired,”


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A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating)

Lizzo added that people should understand that artistes are “here to make art” and not represent a particular standard of beauty.

“I’m going to do whatever I want with this body,” she concluded. “I wish that comments costed you all money. So we can see how much time we are f*****g wasting on the wrong thing.”

Since starting this platform, we have established our mission to encourage body positivity, mental wellness, balance and empowerment towards women and men. As we go on this journey to advocate and educate the public of body acceptance and building confidence, it is unfortunate that movements like these can easily cause others with different opinions to incorrectly then say that body positivity is glamourising obesity.

For some of you who might need clarification what exactly is the body positivity movement: it is a social movement that aims to challenge societal prejudices and discrimination against individuals who are not considered the ‘correct’ size. The movement encourages individuals to accept and love their bodies, regardless of their size or shape, and to reject the cultural obsession with thinness or looking a certain way (think models and athletes). They also advocate for better representation of various types of bodies in media and for more inclusive policies in areas such as healthcare and fashion.

For celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, Lizzo and Adele, it’s really all about quality and talent over looks and many seem to accept their plus sized looks (although Adele is also famous for losing a lot of weight recently). But in this case, how far do we compromise our health for the sake of just mere acceptance? Such as the consequences faced with recent death of Jamie Lopez, the driving force behind Babydoll Beauty Couture and star of “Super Sized Salon”, who died due to heart complications at age 37 last month.

According to TMZ, sources close to Lopez revealed that she’d been hospitalised in Las Vegas and died over the weekend as a result of heart complications. A rep for BBC said in a statement, “We regretfully announce, with great pain, the passing of The Founder & Owner of Babydoll Beauty Couture, The Legendary Jamie Lopez. We ask, on behalf of the Babydoll family, that you allow us time to process this tremendous loss.”

Billed as “The world’s first plus-size salon”, Babydoll Beauty Couture was the setting for “Super Sized Salon,” which premiered in July.

According to CNN, WE TV also posted on social media about the loss of Lopez.

“We are saddened to hear the news of the sudden passing of Jamie Lopez,” the network’s statement read. “Jamie’s passion to create a safe and welcoming environment for all women at Babydoll Beauty Couture will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends during this difficult time.”

Lopez started her company after experiencing discrimination as a plus-sized woman in the beauty industry.

The WE TV series featured Lopez talking about her weight struggle, including learning to walk again after shedding 400 pounds (181 kg). She shared that at one point she had weighed 846 pounds.

“I was inspired by there being no place I could get my nails or hair done in Vegas that would accommodate my needs as a plus-sized woman, and I decided it was time to make some changes for the plus-sized women of the world,” Lopez told Yahoo in 2017.


Super Sized Salon, which premiered in July on WE TV, featured the industry’s first beauty salon, Babydoll Beauty Couture, that catered exclusively to the plus-size community. Lopez said it was her dream to open her own plus-size salon to “inspire big girls all over the world.”

“Owner Jamie Lopez created this unique space after experiencing a tremendous amount of discrimination in the beauty industry for being plus-sized,” WE TV said in the series premiere.

Lopez’s morbid obesity made it very difficult for her to walk. She was filmed sitting in a chair in every episode. Lopez lost 400 pounds (181 kg) over the past year, but she still weighed 446 pounds (202kg)

Critics blame the “fat acceptance” and “body positivity” movement for Lopez’s death. “There are consequences,” said one YouTuber.

Another YouTuber said bluntly, “The fat acceptance community killed this woman.”


Body builder Allan Roberts said the community promoted an unhealthy lifestyle that led to Lopez’s death: “The acceptance of morbid obesity and the pretend world that we live in – that there is absolutely nothing unhealthy about it – is, in fact, part of why this woman died.”

Roberts also insinuated that body positivity was a death cult: “We have to get over this ridiculous societal lie we keep telling people that there’s nothing wrong with being obese,” he added.

“If a woman weighs over 300 pounds, she is in a very serious physical jeopardy. We live in a world right now, where if you try to tell a person to lose weight, or suggest that a person lose weight because of their health, you are seen as some kind of evil person,” Roberts said.

Critics of the movement fault its proponents for normalising being obese while ignoring the associated health concerns. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death according to the CDC.

Obesity is a medical condition characterised by an excessive amount of body fat. Being overweight or obese can increase a person’s risk for a number of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. Obesity is also a major contributor to premature death. Studies have shown that people who are obese have a higher risk of dying from any cause, compared to those at a healthy weight.

Nonetheless, it’s important to note that body weight is not the only factor that determines health. Other factors such as diet, physical activity, and genetics also play a role. Additionally, weight stigma and discrimination can have negative impacts on mental and physical health. Therefore, it is important to approach the issue of obesity with compassion and understanding.

Let us be aware that while being plus-sized does mean an increased risk in health problems, this doesn’t qualify excuses for one’s bad behaviour or snide remarks to body shame others, as body positivity does not equate to fat acceptance or glamourising obesity.

Moreover, body positivity isn’t just a plus-sized female’s issue. Having interviewed so many individuals for her book “Building Body Confidence“, our founder Melissa Fann has shown that skinny people have also been body-shamed for being too thin, and even men face body image issues due to pressure to look a certain manner, particularly in the gay community as well.

It is unfortunate that we still have certain stereotypes based on a person’s body size but we can all learn to motivate one another and continue to live a balanced life by watching what we eat, exercising regularly and taking care of one’s mental wellbeing.

Images: Envato, BabyDoll Couture / instagram
Videos: YouTube / Alan Roberts

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