The Real World Effect of Body Shaming

“She really needs to eat a sandwich.”

“But she’s not HEALTHY! Being overweight isn’t HEALTHY!”

“Real women have curves.”

“Bones are for the dog. Meat is for the man.”

 

Body shaming. It’s a hot button issue right now. It’s becoming a media buzz word. From the “Perfect Body” campaign by Victoria’s Secret (which was insulting, at best) to the movement towards putting an end to bullying girls in schools, it encompasses a huge range of issues and elicits a strong response from many women (as well as men). It’s also something that many of us have personally experienced. Body shaming happens to skinny women, curvy women, those with DDD cups and those with A cups. It happens to light skin women and dark skinned women. Body shaming is an equalizer. It happens to children, teens and adults. I saw this piece from the Meredith Vieira show I was really touched. I have followed Tess Holliday for a number of years and I find her positively inspirational. She had a dream and she worked towards it every single day. She didn’t let naysayers and detractors stop her. She didn’t let “societal standards” stop her. She just kept making progress towards her goals. While the internet trolls we sitting anonymously behind their keyboards spreading their misery and unhappiness, she was succeeding. And now she’s made history.

Here’s the thing about body shaming… we can allow it to tear us apart as individuals or we can allow it to build us up as a community. I have watched the pain of body shaming bring women together in a way that very few other things can. Watching women come together in support of each other inevitably makes me feel emotional. We need to stop letting body size and shape tear us apart. It’s not a competition! We can choose to build each other up and share confidence, love and acceptance (and, here’s a HUGE one, teach acceptance to our children) just as easily as we can cut others down. Why not spread kindness? I am often reminded of the quote by Wendy Mass in The Candymakers: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

I can’t wait for the day when Tess isn’t referred to as a “Plus-Size Model” and is simply called what she is… a model and a beautiful, strong, confident, successful woman.