Lipedema and Body Positivity: Has the Popular Social Movement Finally Embraced the “L” Word?


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By now, you should already know your fat is not your fault.  Now, flaunt it!  (Not fearfully, but fearlessly.)

Body positivity has categorically attained cult status over the past several years, with the figure-accepting movement encompassing virtually all aspects of pop culture.  From social media feeds, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit covers, high fashion catwalks, cosmetics companies, athleisure brands, the pages of Playboy, and surprisingly, legendary lingerie brand Victoria Secret, the once-epitome of seemingly perfect, aspirational body types, the social movement continues to sweep through our cultural institutions leaving its everlasting mark of #AllBodiesAreBeautiful.

What is Body Positivity and How Did it Catch-On So Quickly?
So, what exactly is body positivity, anyway?  “Body positivity refers to the assertion that all people deserve to have a positive body image, regardless of how society and pop culture view ‘ideal’ shapes, sizes, and appearances.”  Some of the foremost goals of the body positivity movement include challenging how society views the body. Source

It’s believed that model and modern-day feminist Tess Holiday, founder of @EffYourBeautyStandards, is the godmother of the body mindful movement. The 26-sized glamour model was signed to Milk Management, a renowned modeling agency in Europe, making Holiday the first-ever working model over size 20.  Talk about breaking barriers and starting a social construct!  The social movement not only questions deep-seated societal beliefs about beauty and body image, but proponents also attest they focus on the appreciation of the body’s functionality and health, as opposed to superficial aesthetics that may prove to be psychologically damaging.  The movement would soon see a launch of hundreds of marketing campaigns of major corporations catering to the “real woman,” showcasing women of varying body types, races, and skin tones audaciously displaying not only their imperfect physiques but loving every minute of it!  Personal beauty brand, Dove®, being one of the first to boldly embrace the body-beautiful movement with their unforgettable 2004 “Real Beauty” campaign.  The women with curves crusade caught like wildfire, as other socially influenced brands launched similar campaigns unabashedly flaunting photos of fat rolls, dimples, cellulite, stretch marks, scars, etc.  And, dare anyone protests to the sudden barrage of once-taboo images or be branded as a fat-shamer, or worse, “cancelled.”

The Link Between Lipedema and Body Positivity
While many lipedema advocates have courageously took to Instagram to post unfiltered images, both to the delight and dismay of the social media verse, some lipedema patients argue there’s still a long way to go for lipedema ladies to be fully embraced by even the most ardent advocates of the movement.  The effects of lipedema not only alter a person’s physicality, but limits their mobility and poses a concerted health risk(s) in its advanced stages, hence calling into question their body’s functionality and health – exactly what the movement is traditionally NOT about embracing.  Many lipedema patients find themselves excluded from the movement of the moment due to their unique health challenges.  They’re not just women with large legs, big bottoms, and thick calves, but disabled in a way.  It’s just another battle to be fought, bridge to cross, and barrier to overcome.  Luckily, there are a few ladies making waves and garnering much-deserved attention for their troubles.

One Lady’s Journey to Self-Love
Social media influencer and lipedema lady Courtney Mina willingly and enthusiastically posts racy pics of herself dripping in scantily clad, plus-sized lingerie for all her friends and foes to feast their eyes upon on her massively popular Instagram account @a_romantic_tale.  Mina understands there will always be haters, fatphobic, body sham-ers, deniers, skeptics, and a bunch of back-handed compliments to boot!  But, it’s an on-going race she’s willing to take to the finish line.  From her “Plus Size Police” mob that defiantly accuse Mina of not having the fat deposition disorder to her Glorious Supporters who continually shower her with unbridled love and support to all the namesake, trusty trolls in between, Mina asserts fat phobia is still very much a real thing, even though body positivity is arguably at an all-time high and growing.  No pun intended.  There just needs to more education and awareness when it comes to the intersection between health and size.  Mina tells Bustle, “Your health is your business, though, and you have every right to love your body, feel beautiful, and express your confidence freely no matter your level of health.”  Source

No one is ever going to be everything to everyone.  Just be sure you’re everything to yourself.  Whether you’re living with lipedema or know someone who is, learning to accept all your body’s beautiful imperfections, flaws, fat, and all, while celebrating its miraculous, mind-blowing capabilities is a step in the right direction for every body.

To learn more, please contact our Beverly Hills, California office to schedule a consultation with any of our highly trained specialists