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Book Review: Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe

Body positivity is something I have been interested in for a while. Unfortunately, online, it seems to be a battleground. Some people seem very confident in their bodies telling everyone that they should be too. Others mesh health and morality. This can intimidate someone new, who wants to get involved.
For those of us living with HS, our feelings about our body may be a little more complex. Many of us have experienced advice tinged with a little judgement.
Body positivity is the idea that regardless of what your body looks like, you deserve respect.
Radical I know!

Many people argue that body-shaming is motivating people to live healthy lives. However, it is important to realise that diet culture is both physically and psychologically damaging. It’s anything but healthy and there’s no place for shame in health.
Take it from a psychology student, shame is not a healthy motivator in any case. It never has been, and it never will be.
What can we do about it though? We can read and learn.

The Book


I loved the book. It provides an excellent argument against diet culture. In using her own experience of being hospitalised with an eating disorder, Crabbe shows the reader a road to recovery.
The analysis of the research on health, obesity and dieting was particularly good. Science is not immune to bias. When you mix it with profit, it can and does turn dangerous.
Crabbe’s questions the research. Who funds the studies? What studies have been retracted or called out? Who is deciding what information you see?
Have you ever thought of that? Who decides what studies you see or hear about?

It’s interesting because when a big study comes out, its statistics are quoted. When someone challenges a study, that is not necessarily reported, so the original statistics keep making the rounds.
Body Positive Power compares conflicting evidence and gives a context to the research. As well as providing a counter-argument, Crabbe encourages the reader to make up their own mind.

Context matters!

Crabbe has put in safeguards in the book for people who might find the topics triggering.
Where Crabbe is writing from her experience, there are lines dividing the pages, telling the reader where to avoid.
If you live with an eating disorder or body image issues, this book may be triggering for you. Crabbe has made efforts to make it as safe as possible but look after yourself while reading it.
There is a lovely chapter called “I’ll Do it 10 Pounds from Now.” The chapter is dedicated to guest essays written by people who have overcome body insecurity. Some stories focused on insecurities resulting from health conditions.

Among the stories is “Tankini to Too Many Bikinis” by Michelle Elman, founder of “Scarred Not Scared” movement.
“Scarred Not Scared” is a social media movement that aims to represent people who have scarring on their bodies. It challenges mainstream ideas about beauty. Confidence in your own skin is an important part of body positivity.
In her story Elman says:
“The same scars that marked my body and once hindered my body confidence became the fuel for my fire for body positivity.”

What I’ve learned from the book.

I learned that my ideas about beauty and how people should look are not based on objective fact. Rather, the information I take in can have other purposes, like to sell products.
I learned that research is not neutral ground.
I learned that body positivity is about more than weight. Moreover, I believe it can help all of us to look at ourselves with a little more kindness.

The Verdict

I couldn’t get enough of this book!
The explanation of the research is easy to understand. I thought the care for those in recovery is fantastic.
The tips for where you can begin are simple and doable. There is also a reading list in the back of the book if you want to read more.
If you are not aware, Megan Jayne Crabbe is on Instagram and Twitter as Body Positive Panda.
Let reading this book be your first step into the brave new world of body positivity.

Author Bio

Shannon Sweeney is a psychology and sociology student from Ireland. She is also living with HS and has a keen interest in lifestyle, wellbeing, and Hidradenitis Suppurativa.

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