Inclusive Body Positivity Series: Black and IPOC Bodies!
Happy happy Juneteenth and welcome to the last edition of the current “Inclusive Body Positivity Series”. It felt right, especially given our current political and social climate, to end this series with body positive inclusivity for Black bodies and Indengenous and other People of Color’s (IPOC) bodies! It’s also Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of Black slaves in America. It has origins in Texas, where on June 19th 1865, slaves were declared free under the terms of the emancipation proclamation, which had passed in 1862. Yes, those dates are right!! Two and a half years after the emancipation proclamation, slaves in Texas found out that they had been freed. Juneteenth is a celebration of Black joy and Black freedom, and is often neglected in history books and lives of white folks in this country. So this article is going to be dedicated to Black joy, especially surrounding Black and IPOC bodies.
Back when I wrote my article on the origins of body positivity, I mentioned that Black women and other women of color were a huge part of the original body positivity movement, and were subsequently left out as the movement has been enveloped in mainstream culture. From an article written by Danielle Jennings:
“Fat women and femmes of color are ignored, while those who are lighter-skinned are hyper-humanized. This works in conjunction with fatphobia. Darker-skinned fat Black women and femmes are demonized and juxtaposed as the direct opposite of the beauty standards that promote white, thin, femme bodies as a universal goal. Gabourey Sidibe is a primary example of why body positivity and fat acceptance does not privilege women or femmes of color. If so, Gabby would have the platform that Melissa McCarthy or Rebel Wilson has. We never regard Gabby as a forerunner in the body positivity movement, although her representation and presence is imperative for everyone. Seeing a darker-skinned Black woman who is not shaped like an hourglass, who does not have small petite features and who is unapologetic is powerful and necessary.”
So many Black women and IPOC women have written on the importance of body positivity being inclusive to not just white bodies, but to all bodies, and all sizes and colors and shapes of bodies. So as a white woman, I’ll leave you with all of these sources written by Black and IPOC women, telling you why you should care and do the work. Happy Juneteenth!