I have lived with the concept of body shaming for pretty much my ENTIRE 44 years of life.
So what is body shaming? Well it is fairly simply defined like this “The practice of making negative comments about a persons body shape or size”. That my friends IS the definition of body shaming. We are, of course, allowed to have our opinions but expressing those opinions about someone to them – well that is just not okay! We are not experts on other peoples bodies and commenting about their body to them is a dick move. It is unkind, it is unneeded and unwarranted attention. In a world where we can and should chose to lift others up and be kind – we really should banish this type of shitty behaviour.
As a child I was subjected to it over and over, in my dancing life I was subjected to it over and over, in my teens I was subjected to it over and over and as an adult it has been the same. I will never forget attending an indoor cricket game with my husband when we were pregnant with our first child. I wanted to be there to cheer for my partner, but soon regretted that choice when someone from the opposing team called me “Hippo hips”. I was 6 months pregnant and felt like crap anyway. I often smirk to myself and think how differently that whole interaction would have played out if it was to happen now. The thing about body shaming is that usually the people that are targeted by it have had years of it and they are beaten down and it is easier to just ignore it than call people out on it. That was my response to it for years. While I was a big person I just wanted to melt into the floor every time someone made a snide remark or pointed out my size but that person doesn’t live here anymore.
THAT . SHIT . IS . NOT . OKAY!!! It is NOT normal behaviour to make negative comments about the appearance of others. Words have the power to do incredible things and using them to wound other people does not make you funny, smart, superior or right, what it makes you is a foolish, judgemental person. I have been called just about every revolting name in the book and for so many years I allowed those words to actually hold me hostage. They found their way into my heart and into my internal monologue that I used to talk to myself with. You know the things that we say to ourselves when no one else can hear us. The way that we truly feel about ourselves – Well I allowed those things that were so often said to me in the past to hold me hostage in my life. Those thoughts and opinions of others became more real to me than the fact that I knew that even though I was a big person I had value and that I was loved. I felt ashamed, unworthy of love, unworthy of a good life, undeserving of good things because I was big. That was and is a TOTAL LIE. Please for the love of all things good, and wholesome, never believe that you deserve less because of your body type, or size. You are incredible as you are. If you want to change your outward appearance for whatever reason, then great, if you don’t want to then great but don’t believe, like I did, that your appearance makes you more or less worthy. You are wonderful just as you are.
Last night I was skinny shamed online. This has happened a number of times. People think it is okay to comment on my appearance. Yes I am thin – that was the point of what I went through. I am within the healthy weight range for my height. My medical team have no concerns and they are the only people that I have given authority to speak into my life concerning my size. For me, I was heading to an early grave because of obesity related complications so Weight loss surgery saved my life and my life was worth saving. I was worthy then, I was beautiful then, I was worth celebrating then! I was worthy at my biggest and I am still worthy at my smallest and everywhere in between. No one, and I mean “no one” gets to make comments on my body without a response these days. I will not tolerate it anymore. Not because I feel like I am better than I used to be, but because I will not be voiceless. I will stand up to people who believe it is okay to shame others because you can be damned sure if they are shaming me, they are also shaming someone else who may not have a voice yet, who may feel so terrible about themselves because of everything else that they have been through in the past that they are not in a position to stand up for themselves. So the moral of the story is – if it isn’t kind, if it doesn’t build up, if it won’t leave the person better than when you found them, then DON’T SAY IT! Do not comment negatively on other peoples bodies. It is not your right to make others feel bad about themselves.