Shaming: Can It Just Stop?

Ladies, we really need to stop with the weight shaming.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a big woman, or a small; short, or tall.  No one deserves to be made fun of, or to receive negative comments about their appearance.

Yes, the media and society has it’s standards of beauty, that we see plastered on billboards and every form of advertising. ‘This is what’s in’, and ‘This is what’s hot’, and as a woman, it can be pretty intimidating. The pressure felt by women (and men!) to be perfect by society’s standards, are very real.

In my lifetime, I have seen fair share of body shaming in the attempt to advertise – everything from fashion, to weight loss, to body definition, to even tanning booths. As did everyone else. Then a movement happened of body acceptance, to combat the eating disorders and self-esteem issues that the women of today face daily, fueled by bad advertising strategies. Some retailers and agencies started featuring more full figured women. The “heroin chic” look of underweight models became used less and less in the fashion industry. The ‘Dad Bod’ was born! And mother’s began proudly showing off their tiger stripe stretch marks on the beach without fear of remorse and bullying.

But then I noticed something else along with these progressive changes for body image. Known as ‘skinny-shaming’.

I’ve always been a small girl, from the time I was a kid. It’s in my family genes. On my father’s side, everyone is very tall, and very skinny. growing up, while I can’t imagine what’s it’s like being a young, adolescent girl dealing with overweight issues – I DO know what it’s like to be 14, naturally rail thin (not quite hitting puberty and the blessing of boobs yet), and accused of being anorexic by grown women. I was eating  times a day, couldn’t gain weight, and enduring the rudest of comments by women who should know better than to pick on a child because the child is skinnier than the adult. My aunt once tried consoling me by saying, “Enjoy it. Most women have to starve themselves to look like you.”

I thought once I grew into my body it would get easier, but unfortunately not.  My adult life I would have strangers stop me in public, my job, and other random opportunities, to either say something rude (“You look like a crackhead, don’t you eat?”) or urge me to get help (“Are you anorexic? You are too skinny”) without ever questioning the true situation. I just couldn’t ever gain weight! I still can’t, even after having a child! (and a very healthy pregnancy)

Other than during pregnancy, always weighing 105lbs is the bane of my existence. Most call that a blessing – but when you’ve literally been hated for it your whole life, and can’t fix it, then it is a real cross to bear. I don’t hate going to the pool because of my body-I hate going because of what other women have to say about it.

 

Unfortunately, skinny shaming is just as real as fat shaming. Maybe born from body positivism, but still shaming nonetheless. We’ve all seen the memes – proclaiming that ‘Real Men Like Curves’ and ‘Nobody Wants To Snuggle A Stick’, ‘Dogs Like Bones, Men Like Meat.’
 It might be in the minority, but it’s just as hurtful to overall body image to slam someone based on their weight, even if they are thin. And it’s a real double standard. If it’s not ok for someone to say “That girl needs to lose some weight!” then why is it any more acceptable to tell a person they need to eat a chicken wing? (Which I encountered 3 months post partum, by my wedding dress consultant at David’s Bridal! Hey, at least she gave us good lunch ideas…)
No matter what, it’s bad. The world has enough bad. We need more good. The world needs more compliments, and praise, and uplifting. It doesn’t need women being mean and nasty because of insecurities and hate. And even though I wish my butt and boobs were bigger, and my arms more filled out (or whatever can just stop the comments and accusations) one thing is certain: commenting on an overweight girl’s Instagram that she might need to go on a diet, and that “Real Men Like (enter stereotype here)”…isn’t going to change anything about my body. It will only accomplish projecting my insecurity about my body image onto someone else. Which is how I feel when I get those, ‘You need to eat more” comments…I know it’s just that person’s insecurities talking, but it still hurts. Especially when I haven’t done anything to provoke it other than be myself.
And I think that’s all these memes do – they might be meant to spread body acceptance for bigger women, but it’s really just shaming. Can we just uplift each other instead? Can we compliment one another on their body type without putting another down? Can we compliment ourselves without pointing out what’s “wrong” with someone that we aren’t?
This isn’t just limited to weight either: Blondes Have More Fun, Real Women Fish, Keep Calm & Love Tattooed Women…. I get that these are supposed to be positive. But there’s still an underlying factor of “one thing is better than another” and that isn’t fair. Especially on matters of personal attraction, and opinion.
Maybe one day we can live in a world where a young woman isn’t attacked for posting a photo that some people find “unhealthy” or “unrealistic of average body image.” Maybe one day people will realize that being hateful and mean does NOTHING but hurt people, and make the aggressor look like a jackass.
Maybe one day, we can all live in a world where we can lift someone up, and not put someone else down.

 

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Author: Jasmine

SAHM to one little boy, and wife to a former member of the USMC. I blog about parenting, relationships, brands I love, and product reviews!

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