The fine line between body positivity and body shaming

Hey guys! Ugh, I need to do a mini rant. Please bear with me.

In the age of Internet rage, sometimes it feels like I can’t say anything without someone being upset or misunderstanding my intentions. We all jump to conclusions. We throw our pitchforks and comment “UNFOLLOWING!” or assess someone’s entire personhood based on one thing they said or did. It can be frustrating, but I try to remember we’re all human and all perceive things differently. Maybe the internet has just made it easier to be angry faster.

As you probably know, I’m in the process of wedding planning and BOY OH BOY, it’s a lot! It’s exciting and I am so truly happy, but ya’ll, it can be really exhausting too. I’ve been sharing a lot about my wedding and the whole process with all of you, and it’s honestly been really fun getting a little more personal!! But as always, opening up comes with an occasional price. 

Last month, I posted a photo in a wedding dress with a caption about maybe doing a “Bridal Bootcamp” workout series and the specific muscle groups I wanted to focus on. Immediately, I saw a comment that said I wasn’t being very “body positive.”

I’m gonna be honest with you guys, it made me sad. I know I shouldn’t let one comment really get to me, but it did! I mean here I am a month later and it’s still something that gnaws at me. And I think the reason is because I DO promote body positivity! Anyone who follows me knows I focus on getting stronger, both physically and mentally.

In the fitness world, I’ve felt inadequate BECAUSE my body doesn’t look like other bodies I see online. I don’t have a six pack. I don’t have a big booty. And I’ve been publicly body shamed for it. But you know what? I am strong. And I work hard. And I make sure to take care of my mind too. To me, that’s fitness. It’s not about looking a certain way. It’s gaining confidence and feeling good in your own skin.

The body positivity movement is a great thing. In its origin, it was about encouraging people to be more forgiving towards their bodies. It’s about positive affirmations. It’s learning to love yourself wherever you are in your fitness journey. And guess what?! Fitness journey doesn’t mean the end goal is be a size zero. EVERYONE has a different journey. We have different goals we set for ourselves. Being healthy does not look a certain way.

But have we started using the term “body positivity” as a way to shame people too?

If I talk about fitness, am I not body positive? If I share healthy meal recipes, am I not body positive? If I release workouts and moves to target certain areas and help people achieve whatever goal they’ve set, am I not body positive?

I want people to love their bodies. I want people to nourish their bodies. I want people to wake up PROUD of their bodies. Those things have nothing to do with size.

So hey, I’m still going to do a Bridal Bootcamp series anyway. Because I wanna feel good on my wedding day and I think you should too! But as always, it will be focused on strength. On feeling fierce.

And yeah, there will be videos targeting arms, videos focused on booty, videos made for whatever area you want to work. This doesn’t make me body negative, it makes me body positive because I believe in what our bodies can do. That’s enough for me. I hope that’s enough for you too.

What do you guys think of body positivity? Have you ever felt shamed by a movement that’s whole purpose is meant to be uplifting?

32 thoughts on “The fine line between body positivity and body shaming”

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  1. young_pandawan says:

    I know this post is from ages ago but I just want to say that you are really inspiring for going ahead with what you see as healthy, both mentally and physically and not letting online negativity bully you into not sharing something you are happy with.

  2. Caitlyn Doran says:

    So, I feel a bridal boot camp is often used by brides to be as a way to feel in control of something. With such a large and monumental event in your life and everything it entails, it can be overwhelming and make one feel like they’re not in control of anything. Honestly, it’s a good use of one’s energy to help prevent anxiety and reduce stress. So while also encouraging physical strength, it allows for one to escape their current worries.

  3. Julie says:

    It is so easy for people to be negative on the Internet, people are quick to say negative things because they don’t need to take responsibility for their words. Cassey – you motivate me every day to workout and get stronger!! I have only been doing your workouts for the past couple months, but I have already seen such progress. My clothes are loose and I feel so much better!! I have some serious health issues right now, your workouts motivate me both physically and mentally. You are an inspiration to me while listening to your workouts. I have just started watching a few of your other YouTube videos (about food and body image). Stay positive!!! Don’t let anyone get you down! Best of luck with your wedding plans. What an exciting time of your life!! Thank your for being an inspiration!!!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Sometimes I feel like the internet fuels negativity and people are so quick to berate others when they themselves are unhappy/jealous/whatever and will use terms like “body positivity” to justify their unhealthy lifestyles. You do promote body positivity, along with promoting healthy lifestyles. I’ve never read anything you’ve written and thought “hey, she’s body shaming”. Just do you, and shake the haters. Love ya!

  5. Rachel says:

    Thank you for this post. I feel like I’ve been on pendulum between accepting myself and pushing myself to be healthy/fit. When I’m one of the side of the pendulum, I don’t feel good. Thank you for reminding me that I can do both, and that is when I feel best.

  6. Pherly says:

    You probably don’t remember Miss Cassey, but I sent you an email years ago if you can suggest some exercise to make calves and thighs look “slimmer.” All my life I have been so insecure with my lower bod, that I don’t go out wearing shorts or even skirts. I really feel awful to myself. Few days later, I didn’t expect that you will reply. And I remembered what you said “Honestly, there are no exercises that will really make calves slim, but there are exercises that could tone your lower bod. ‘You have to start accepting that your body is a gift and with that you should start loving yourself more.”

    Now, yes I still have the big calves, I still have that big thighs, but it is well and I do some mini exercises even when I am at my bed. I am happy, that I accepted myself. When somebody tells me “you have a big lower bod for your height” I now take it as a compliment, and Cassey helped me with it.

    The moment that you accept yourself is the beginning of great changes in your physical and mental being. People may say negative things but at the end of the day, you will still win if you have accepted yourself.

    True fitness does not come with 6 to 8 packs, but appearing to be healthy inside and out. 💕

  7. jdepaul says:

    Social media is wild! The suggestion that you are not body positive is absurd. Everybody wants to feel good on their wedding day, and feeling confident when all eyes are on you is part of that. The trend I think is so unhealthy is when women diet and train like mad JUST to look the way they’ve always dreamed of looking on their wedding day ( with the photo album to prove it ), losing 20,30, 40 or more pounds just for the wedding & honeymoon. Then, they gain it back. That is the opposite of self-love AND body positivity, and it’s very different from what you are promoting. Thanks!

  8. Cass says:

    Ignore the haters! You’re the most positive person! Your messages have always been confidence building – do the bridal boot camp! I’m getting married in October and have been doing the cardio blast and abs bridal series, can’t wait for more! Love it!

  9. beautyandbeastmode says:

    You are super body positive! You me come out of fat shaming myself and feeling terrible! Thank you!

  10. shari Levy says:

    Cassey what a beautiful Wedding Dress. You look so beautiful! You are beautiful inside and out!!!

  11. SoccerQueen04 says:

    I am a teenage girl, and have struggled with body positivity, but I try together through it and this site and workout community helps 🙂

  12. Minerva Castillo says:

    Oh Cassidy!!! I mainly focuse on feeling well, and you make us feel that way. Unfortunately there is judgy, negative people out there.Booooo!!! to all of them . And you Cassey you are a wonderful, loving,positive person. Thank you

  13. Bonnie A Bryant says:

    You are a very positive woman and that dress is phenomenal. Keep your head up and ignore the hateful comments

  14. Ellen says:

    I would want to try Movie Night cuz I really don’t know what flavor that is and I’m an adventurous eater!

    1. Ellen says:

      whaaa? I thought this was the comment section for ice cream lol

      1. Sarah says:

        Thanks for the comment because I almost did the same thing…

  15. Grace says:

    I got so excited by reading this. You really did got into my heart. I could feel it all over my body, a little squint, a reminder of how we should feel and who we are and what we are worth, what we should do and look at. You always remind me what this is about. I am so thankful to have you in my life, that I found you and that you are who you are. I don’t know where I would be without you…you taught me so much. And hey if that’s not body positive then what is?

  16. megawatts says:

    Being a SAHM mom I most definitely felt shamed by a movement. I get weird looks because I refuse to say that I am feminist in todays meaning of that word. I refuse to apologize because I believe that for my family be being a SAHM who has chosen to homeschool seems to the world that I am less of a woman because little do they know it doesn’t. I chose family happiness over a job but I still fight for equality and my right to choose (even if others don’t like my choice).
    In my sphere I have watched body positive turn from not putting yourself down turn into an excuse not to want better for yourself. I am so grateful that you don’t look like the other fitness people. You are real and you talk about the health as a whole person not just our bodies. People are going to be offended in this digital age because we no longer have to reflect on what we should say since we don’t have to be there for the reaction. Don’t let anyone snuff out your light.

  17. Mgarcia1215 says:

    I love you! Your sense of humor, quirkiness, and your positivity. Don’t let those comments get to you, because you are awesome and definitely an inspiration. I’m working on getting toned and we should always be aiming to get better, for ourselves. Keep up the great work sister! ❤

  18. Nyomi Hysuick says:

    Thanks for saying this!!

  19. Ash says:

    Cas, I have been following you for years and I’ve loved every minute! You make me excited to workout. You make me laugh while im on my mat! I strive to be as positive as you are one day and as happy to fit into my body. Its hard work and you definitely make it fun and easy. I even do your workouts in the middle of my college and not the gym. People just have to keep in mind WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! and some of us have to work harder, others dont (luckily i dont and i feel very blessed for having that gene). But were all just a bunch of mashed up cells making a diff mashed up picture, its physically impossible to look like someone else, but not act like them. We need to act! Happy! Positivity! Confort! Success! Kindliness! U r amazing. I love you from afar in Chi-town 😘. And ive always thought you were beautiful inside and out. So happy to be a part of the blogilates crew. I stand by you 100% girl! YOU DO YOU! ✌💞🌻

  20. Laurie says:

    I think you do a fantastic job at always being ‘upbeat & positive’ about a person’s body!! I did a VERY early version of Pilates that I bought in DVD form like 18 years ago and I must tell you that it really prepared me for your blogilates!! I already knew about pulling belly button into the spine, the warm up 100 and the breathing technique! I love that you have SO MANY exercises that I can be standing; sitting; and lying down. I have some pretty bad neurological and musculoskeletal problems and have balance problems some days. I have ALSO developed the dreaded ‘Muffin Top’. So I actually just recently saw you on the Kathy and Hoda show last week and thought “Hey, those look so easy I can do those exercises!”
    So I proceeded onto YouTube and found all of your different sessions……I LOVE it, I feel like a kid in a candy store with all the choices I can actually perform!!
    Thank-you from the bottom of my heart…..hopefully I can get back to my size 3 (I’ll even take size 5 as I gained in my hips as well). So I just completed the ‘Muffin Top’ session. I did the exercises you had on the show and was actually sore by the next morning, GREAT sign!
    So keep up that awesome smile and positive attitude because you have now got another person following you!! I am from CA but moved here to Boise, ID 11 years ago to raise my kids in a better area and I have family here.
    When is your wedding date? I wish you much happiness and a lifetime of love!!
    Take Care!!
    P.S. The dress in this picture looks SO awesome on you…..just gorgeous!

    1. Ash says:

      Yes that dress is breathtaking on you! Laurie, im so glad Cassey has brought that lil bit of spark into ur life like she did mine 🙂 Keep it up girl! You can get to a size 3/5 no problem if you just believe ✌🌻

  21. Sue says:

    Thank you for this encouragement what you have said could be taken and all faces of life because people are too eager to jump to the wrong conclusion based on their in adequacy‘s keep it up girl

  22. Coralie says:

    Your right. People jump to their own conclusions. Online, people often do it quickly without any research because they see many others doing it. I wouldn’t be able to do what you do and be a public figure today. I wouldn’t want to; however, I have different goals. You are getting strong for enduring these things. You gain insight, restraint, and other qualities. You know you aren’t body shaming anyone. I am the same way. It would bother me too. Try to focus on all the positive. If 99 people say you aren’t doing it and 1 person says you are then you should try to focus on the other 99. This is something that I had to learn.

  23. MB says:

    To answer your question: None of your video’s has ever made me feel shamed!
    On the contrary: you make me feel motivated and the excercises are always a little different from the ones I know. That keeps it fun. And I am much stronger thanks to your videos. And feeling strong helps when I feel down or sad. Thank you so much for doing this blog!

  24. Daniela says:

    I think you’re one of the strongest person to be alive, and I’m so glad you have a platform like Blogilates to share it with the world. I’m proud of you and I truly hope you’re proud of yourself too, because what you’ve done to thousands of people (myself included) is incredible. You’ve not only changed my body, which of course, it’ important, but its more important the fact that you’ve changed my relationship with myself, with food, with body image. As you said, every journey is different and mine has changed from being a size 0 to being strong and FEELING strong. Thank you for changing my life and for being an inspiration for women like me.

  25. Megan says:

    I just started doing your beginners calendar. I look forward to watching your videos each day. I feel so good during and after them. It’s hard not to smile during the workouts because of your contagious happiness. Your encouragement and POSITIVITY is something that stuck out to me right away. Your personality is so relatable and it seems to me that you truly are a caring person. I’ve seen some other workout videos that feature women with huge boobs, (and they definitely make sure they are playing that up) and they just as a whole look very plastic and intimidating; especially for someone who is far off from reaching the smallest of their goals. To me, that’s not teaching body positivity in any form, knowing your instructor has an unattainable body for most normal women and they play on the features that really make no difference in being healthy or fit. I appreciate the fact that you’re true to yourself, relatable and real. Thank you!

  26. Rachel says:

    Wow! This is so well written, I 100% agree with you. I get that if people feel like they are not yet proud of their bodies they may feel targeted by certain words or comments, but I agree that body positivity has started to mema accepting being unhealthy and/or accepting not being the best you that you can be. You have never said anttthing about size or slimness, you focus on strength, health and fierceness 24/7. You taught me that maybe my best self is a size 4 not a size 0 but as long as I’m eating well and training hard, that’s the best me I can be. You also taught me that if I’m not happy with my body, I still need to love it and I can show my body that live by training hard and nourishing myself. You can’t let that stuff get to you, you are an inspiration and your message is revolutionary.

  27. katelusive says:

    Cassey, you were the person who originally introduced me to the concept of body positivity and helped me understand that as long as I’m working hard to grow (physically AND mentally), I should feel awesome about myself. Thank you for sharing this post, and I’m sorry that comment got you down. There’s always going to be someone (or many someones) who misunderstand your intentions, especially when you are speaking to such a large audience. I think sometimes online people feel free to shoot off an inflammatory comment without much understanding of the context. People in that mindset are usually dead set on their own perspective anyway so don’t worry about changing anyone’s mind. The people who watch your videos know exactly how body positive you are and what a fierce, relentless, and inspiring coach you are to us! Thanks for everything you do 🙂

    1. Christina says:

      love your comment! totally agree with you! She is also a very good speaker…