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The Truth Behind Those Queen Latifah 'Body Positivity' Ads

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Editor's Note

The Mighty has an existing business affiliation with Novo Nordisk; however, The Mighty’s editorial team operates independently and remains dedicated to giving our community a voice in the issues that matter to them.

I have been working to combat diet culture in my life. I had no idea how much it was impacting my way of life and that the way that I was treating my body and my mind was so detrimental. I discovered that my points counting, daily weighing, and body image hating were toxic and not a healthy way to treat myself. I can actually be free of all this negativity and live a life of self-love. Being thin is not necessary to have happiness, healthiness, and satisfaction in life.

I was on Facebook, and I saw an ad with Queen Latifah in it. I watched and saw that it was a part of a so-called “It’s Bigger Than Me” campaign put on by Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company that is making billions in the obesity market. The ad depicted Latifah sitting in a restaurant with a friend, and they were talking about being overweight most of their lives and how emotionally abusive others had been toward them about it. The theme was about how weight and obesity may be caused by hormones and that it is not your fault.

It is true that hormones may be at play, but remember this is a pharmaceutical company and they have an ulterior motive. I researched them and found out that they have two drugs for what they call chronic weight management products. They are not interested in body positivity, just in increasing their bottom line.

I was torn about what was happening here. On one hand, some body-positive messages are making it to a broader and Black community. On the other hand, Latifah is pushing intentional weight loss, dissatisfaction with body size, dieting, bariatric surgery, and pills for people to alter their bodies as if they are not good enough just the way they are. All in the name of so-called body positivity.

Pills, disordered eating, and rigorous exercise routines are not the route to self-love. You must care for your body and appreciate all it has to offer. It is strong, capable (disabled or not), your mind is competent (mentally ill or not), your skin tone is perfect just the way it is, your hips carry you, and your soft stomach is full of love and satisfaction. Our bodies are meant to be appreciated and loved, not ridiculed, and punished. This harsh treatment of our bodies leads to mental anguish that permeates many aspects of our lives.

I find that the body positivity movement has been co-opted by corporations and influencers and those with privilege to further their own means and to commercialize and financially benefit from the movement. This is a disgrace and leaves those behind who rely on the movement to heal from a lifetime of the punishment of diet culture.

By the way: If you are thinking about looking into this medication, consider this information. Novo Nordisk’s chief science officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen said during a company conference call: “STEP 4 [of the study of the drug] shows that people continuing treatment with semaglutide [weight management drug] achieved a further substantial weight loss while people switching to placebo, on the other hand, regained a significant amount of weight.” In other words, you would have to stay on the medicine indefinitely to continue and maintain weight loss and if you stop taking it you will gain a significant about of your weight back. In my opinion, this is a textbook example of exploiting vulnerable people for profit.

How you can embrace body positivity:

1. Remember you are intelligent, competent, and capable in many ways.

2. Your body is no one else’s business.

3. Thin does not indicate healthy.

4. Fat does not indicate unhealthy.

5. Influencers are not communicating the truthful or full picture.

6. The bodies you see in social media and elsewhere are modified, and the influencers’ bodies look more like your body than those modified images.

7. Surround yourself with body-positive people.

8. Educate yourself about body positivity and body neutrality, arming yourself with comebacks for those that harass and discriminate against you.

9. Clean up your social media and follow those who are authentic in their body-positive messaging.

10. Look in the mirror and remember you were made just the way you are and deserve to be loved.

Queen Latifah’s ads’ embrace of body positivity is not genuine. She is a powerful influencer with a lot of followers that span many different audiences. She makes it clear she has struggled right alongside all of us, but she could use her voice in other ways to get this message across.

I hope you hear me when I say you are fine just the way you are, and you can be content and maybe even happy in your current state of being. The messages that are being perpetuated are for financial gain and to keep women and people of color in their place. We can rise above this. Raise our daughters to love themselves and show them by our example.

Your body is Mighty Strong!

Image via YouTube.

Originally published: October 21, 2021
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