Let’s talk about Louise Thompson’s new book, ‘Body Positive’ (ahem)

Louise Thompson body positive book

Have you heard the news about Louise Thompson? The Made in Chelsea alum is releasing a book, Body Positive, to hit shelves in May of next year. It will include, allegedly, diet and fitness advice, as well as insights on how she learned to feel positive about her white, thin, conventionally good-looking body. Riiiiiight. Here’s the cover.

Louise Thompson body positive book

This is not an attack on Louise Thompson as a person

To get one thing out of the way – insofar as one can like someone one doesn’t know personally, I like Louise Thompson. I liked her on Made in Chelsea when she got royally screwed over by Spencer and was really normal (read: upset) about it. I liked her Women’s Health cover and interview, where she talked a bit about her workouts and how she feels about her body (understandably, she feels pretty good about it). I like her on Instagram Stories, where she’s kind of cute and goofy and seems to love taking the piss out of her PT boyfriend, Ryan Libbey. I like her collaboration with Fabletics, which isn’t really a collaboration because she hasn’t designed anything, but I like her and I like Fabletics, so that might be why I like it.

This is an attack on Louise Thompson as a body positive activist

All of that being said, I have never considered Louise Thompson a “body positive” activist. I have never once associated her with the body positive movement, nor recognised anything in her content that could remotely be construed as body positive. Not once.

Now, before we get all high and mighty about movements excluding thin women – “thin women can be positive about their bodies too!” – let’s get one thing straight; the body positive movement is not about “being positive about our bodies”. It is about making a safe space for bodies that are not currently represented positively in our society or culture. It’s about fat bodies, bodies with disabilities, people of colour and their bodies.

Thin, white, conventionally good-looking women do not need the body positivity movement – and, by that same token, when a thin, white, conventionally good-looking woman like Louise Thompson uses the body positivity movement to sell things, it’s right and just that she be pulled up on it. (That’s a link to a Metro UK article about how bloggers aren’t happy with Louise Thompson’s new book, and though I don’t love the headline – it implies a kind of bitchy begrudgery that simply isn’t the case here, as these criticisms are legitimate – the quotes, from actual body positive activists, are important and worth reading.)

Louise Thompson body positive book

The fact that Louise Thompson is using the term “body positive” as a selling point for a book that is, essentially, a paperback embodiment of diet culture, is galling to the hundreds and thousands of women who have worked tirelessly to promote body positivity and fat acceptance – dieting is not body positive. There’s a really interesting article here about why and how body positivity and weight loss cannot exist harmoniously; weight loss is not body positive.

I’m aware that I, myself, am somewhat outside of the body positivity movement, even though it’s something that I feel really strongly, and love reading, about (note: Rebecca’s not on Snapchat anymore, essentially because being a body positive activist is fucking hard work, and exhausting, and from what I could tell, she was constantly having to argue with people who claimed that fat people are not worthy of respect or love unless they are willing to lose weight) – because I am a white, able-bodied human who fits into high-street clothing. That being said, I can fully support and endorse the body positivity movement, while also recognising that my privilege means, as a movement, it’s not explicitly for me.

Louise Thompson body positive book

The message of the BoPo movement is not that “all bodies are beautiful”; instead, it is that “our bodies are beautiful too”, specifically geared towards women who are excluded, disrespected and belittled by mainstream media, diet culture and ideals of beauty. And, unless Louise Thompson has some secret past where she, for a good few years, identified with that concept, she frankly has no business aligning herself with the movement.

The good news? It’s not out until May – so she has plenty of time to rename it. Wouldn’t it be so refreshing if, instead of shouting “SJWs want to ruin everything!” someone with real power to do good recognised that, in fact, SJWs (social justice warriors) are speaking in the interests of the powerless, who could potentially be hurt by the actions of the powerful? Is there really any harm in trying to be kind and considerate and listening to the disenfranchised when they call you out for co-opting their movement? Answers on a postcard…

 

*This post contains a Fabletics “refer a friend” link. If you click through and buy, I’ll get a £10 credit for the site.

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Comments

    • Melissa
    • November 30, 2017

    Slating her book before you’ve even read it? Sounds like a personal attack to me. She’s entitled to call it what she wants. She’s entitled to feel part of the BP movement if she wants. All you’re doing in your attempt to include your body demographic is exclude others who may have also over come challenges about their appearance too, they just look differently to you.
    Very immature article and preemptive response to something that hasn’t even been released yet.

    • Lisa Sheridan (not anonymous)
    • November 30, 2017

    Why on Earth do you keep saying you being white is a privilige and that body positivity is only for fat/disabled non-white women?
    You are verging on being racist and discriminating.
    Are you saying Rebecca (r2theb) is fat, then? She’s all about body positivity. So she’s a heifer, is she?
    Rosemary, you were only saying five minutes ago that the web is full of women bitching on online forums and in groups; but there YOU are bitching about a girl whose book isn’t even out yet.
    You are INCREDIBLY hypocritical and flout double standards and you don’t even see it. I sense a wave of jealousy towards the online bloggers and influencers who have made something of themselves in the industry, whereas for you, you weren’t being sent the freebies or being paid enough or as often to promote a business, so you said you were finished with being a blogger and you were going off to do something else.
    So you did. You became a PT. But you were soon back to social media to lord it over everyone else, slating the very community you were once a part of.
    Suddenly, bloggers & influencers annoyed you and you were better than them.
    You look quite smug with yourself at times, Rosemary, but what riles me is how anyone who dares disagree with you is labelled a pathetic loser.

    • Treasa
    • November 30, 2017

    I am a bit uncomfortable at your reference to her being white. What has colour got to do with body positivity. We are all beautiful in our own shapes sizes and colours and I don’t think the reference adds to your argument

    • Melissa
    • November 30, 2017

    In response to the comment above me: because by Rosemary’s logic, only if you’re fat, black, disabled or gay can your dilusions with your body be validated.
    All she’s doing is replacing one form of exclusion with another. Body positivity should be ALL inclusive. Societal acceptance means nothing if you can’t accept yourself.

    • Sinead
    • December 1, 2017

    Undisclosed Fabletics affiliate link in the article. Now you are not a full time blogger, you feel the need to dupe people more? Not even going to get started on the fact that white people apparently can’t say they are body positive.

    In the words of a Father Ted episode: I hear you’re a racist now, Father? Should we all be racist now? What’s the Church’s position? I’m so busy down on the farm I won’t have much time for the ol’ racism.

  1. Rosemary, you are about 90kg. You don’t fit into high street clothing. You are perfectly within your rights to speak about the Body Positive movement. One of it’s leading examples in fact.

    • Laura
    • December 1, 2017

    Fabletics affiliate link nicely snuck in there!!

  2. It’s not “snuck in” (or I would’ve changed it to a bit.ly link surely!), nor is it *really* an affiliate link cos it’s just the refer a friend link that any Fabletics subscriber can use. That all being said, I usually do disclose that fact and in this instance I just totally forgot, so good spot!

    • Melissa
    • December 1, 2017

    Any reason why you’re ridiculing these comments on your twitter instead of tackling them here?
    Bit immature.

  3. Honestly? Because I am not bothered explaining white privilege to the willfully ignorant – it would be an abject waste of my time. And tweeting about it is more fun!

    • Melissa
    • December 3, 2017

    Really? So people take the time to read your blog post and reply to you and you can’t be arsed responding? Doesn’t seem like you’re all that bothered to engage with the topic and are more interested in shit stirring. That’s an amazingly immature way to conduct yourself for someone who wants to be a blogger.
    Your ignorance speaks for itself.

    • Melissa
    • December 3, 2017

    And we live in Ireland. A fairly homogenous society. Quit listening to the American podcasts and lose the white privileged gak. It’s embarrassing.

    • Kerry
    • December 4, 2017

    Wow, I am really shocked st the comments above and their lack of understanding of white privlege, the BoPo movement and the so-called “fairly homogeneous society” that we Irish folk live in. White privlege is a thing all over the world, it may manifest itself in different ways in different contexts, but rest assured it is a live and well in good ‘ol Ireland. Furthermore, while everyone can feel positive about their bodies at any size, shape, color, age, etc. the body positive movement is about people who society has shunned as beautiful in one way or another – fat, disabled, older and non-white bodies are not nearly represented appropriately in advertising or in entertainment, which are the main industries that dictate societal norms on beauty and physical aspiration. While Louise Thompson has every right to feel like shit about her body from time to time like all women do, objectively, her body is enviable by conventional beauty standards. Loving your body just the way it is and feeling good about yourself is not what being body positive is about; it is about being those things in spite everyone else saying you shouldn’t. While she might not be everyone’s personal taste, no one would tell LT to put a cover up on at the beach or not want to sit next to her on a plane or give her looks of disgust when she orders a Big Mac in a moment of weakness – that’s the difference.

    PS – regarding the personal attacks on Rosemary, if the only reason you choose to read someone’s blog is to find things to catch her out on (i.e. the completely non-relevant to the topic digs about not pointing out a link), then maybe you should find another blog. Also, Frank, you’re a dick. I’m pretty sure Rosemary knows how much she weighs and what clothes she fits into.

    • Melissa
    • December 4, 2017

    So it’s not really body positive movement then? Just fat acceptance? And replacing one from of exclusion with another.
    In an attempt to gain societal acceptance this movement has become the exact thing it seems to think it’s the anthethis of…
    Gotya.

    • Melissa
    • December 4, 2017

    *antithesis

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