Let's put an end to body shaming!I want to put an end to all the horrid body shaming that's been taking place. I want plus sized, thin and mid sized people to live together harmoniously! I want the young women of tomorrow to not have to start worrying about their looks at such a ridiculously young age (because I'm sure we all started to worry about that shit when we were far too young). I've been planning this post for months but I've finally decided to post it because it's spring and spring is a time for cleansing and purging. It's also a time when most women start to worry about their "beach bodies"...
It's a little difficult to write this post knowing that I'll likely offend somebody. We all have our own personal views on beauty and the human form. Some of us are a little biased and some of us may not even know that we're biased! As women, I think it's important for us to spearhead this movement against body shaming. Why? Because I think women are their own worst enemies when it comes to body shaming. Many women hate their own bodies and think nothing of criticizing other women's appearances. If us ladies work together to make a change about beauty and body shaming I think it could have a dramatic impact.
I'm sure we've all experienced it before: your friends or loved ones have probably made caustic remarks about your appearance. That has to be the worst. When a stranger calls you fat or ugly you just dismiss them as a total bitch, but when your best friend does it it hurts so much more. I question why people feel the need to make these remarks. It's like they have no filter. Some people are born to be assholes but what excuse is there for those who are typically kind and thoughtful friends? My theory is that they too have received a hurtful judgment and are inflicting pain on others to make themselves feel better. Regardless of their reason, it's completely unacceptable. They have no right to say such things. Nobody has any right to judge you based on your looks and tell you that you aren't pretty enough, you're too fat, you're too thin, you're too whatever. It is no one's business how you look. Your body is your body, not theirs. Just as it's none of your business if your friend or work colleague gains some weight.
Changing attitudes about beauty starts with you. It's important to remember that you have no right to criticize and make hurtful comments about someone else's appearance, so don't do it. If you're too judgmental about yourself, you should learn to accept yourself with all your flaws because nobody is perfect - perfect is a crock of shit! You need to open your mind to the possibilities of beauty. To me, beauty isn't a standard or an achievement, it's an inherent part of the soul. Beauty lives inside and manifests itself through kindness, love, creativity and expression. Everyone has the capacity to be beautiful.
Thoughts on skinny vs. fatSomething I find especially disconcerting is this new wave of skinny bashing that's been taking place. As plus sized models are being revered for donning skimpy out fits in Sports Illustrated, skinny models are criticizsed for being too skinny. I've read ridiculous comments like "she should eat a sandwich" or "men only like women with curves." Believe it or not, there are actually women who are naturally thin - mind blowing, I know. They are normally a size 0 or 2. They didn't calorie count their way into their dress size, they aren't automatically anorexic, they didn't choose to be skinny, and many, regardless of how they pump their bodies full of junk food, never gain an ounce. Why? Because that's how their bodies were built and there isn't a fucking thing wrong with it.
It makes me cringe when I hear people say that "thin models are not good role models". Why not? The problem isn't in their dress size! There are thin women (models or not) who have accomplished great things and made wonderful contributions to their communities. People please! If your daughter(s) are idolizing them because they're thin then you've failed as a parent because you haven't taught them the right values. Girls shouldn't be focusing on a woman's waistline, they should be focusing on what she's accomplished in life. The same can be said for plus sized women, who often get this bad reputation of being lazy or stupid - a stereotype that I feel has never made any god damn sense!
I've read in forums, particularly in response to the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, that men only like women with curves and that women shouldn't be too skinny or too fat. This is ridiculous, no one can surmise what an entire gender prefers in women, nor can we set a standard for all women to look like. I can't help but get the feeling that these defensive remarks are being made by women who don't fit anywhere in the commercial beauty scene and are feeling embittered by their misrepresentation. Instead of fighting for equality and being accepted as beautiful, they choose to slam the other groups in which they feel they do not belong. Why? Because apparently acting like a stupid bitch is empowering. Just because someone makes you feel inadequate or offended doesn't give you the right to run out and treat other people like shit. If you often feel like that then you need to learn to overcome hurtful comments and work harder on developing self love; otherwise you just spread hate and do you really want that on your conscious?
Skinny or fat is okie dokie in my books, provided both are healthy. It is possible for skinny girls not to struggle with anorexia just as it's possible for big girls not to be morbidly unhealthy. But I feel it's imperative to follow that up with the fact that there are equally as many skinny and fat women who are not healthy. One of the most frightening things I've found in recent years is Fat Positive sites boasting that obesity is perfectly healthy (and what's more, they usually skinny bash like fucking mad). Although there are overweight women who are perfectly healthy, there are many who aren't, so giving off the impression that all fat women are healthy is a negative and damaging one. Something I've never seen on these sites and blogs are guides to leading healthier fat lifestyles, like eating well and taking care of yourself. Instead they choose to focus solely on fashion and appearances, saying that big is beautiful and that skinny girls are disgusting. If you're into the fat positivity movement, I encourage you to reach out to fat positive communities, however, I firmly believe you should be selective as hell when it comes to finding the right one. Those that spout hurtful and erroneous remarks should be avoided completely; these groups are spreading more misconceptions and hatred than positivity. A good fat positive group will acknowledge all body types as acceptable and promote healthy lifestyles! :)
Self love (and a healthy dose of self loathing)It's a difficult thing to accomplish, many women struggle with learning to love themselves. I believe it's impossible to love your appearance completely. We all have our imperfections. The trick isn't to believe you're perfect but to accept yourself with all of your faults. And that being said, it's okay to find flaws within your appearance because it's only human. We aren't perfect, so you are going to see cellulite, moles, stretch marks and bulges. You're going to see veins and dark circles under your eyes. You're never going to see yourself as "perfect", unless maybe you're a sociopath lol. Showing yourself love is allowing yourself to have faults. You shouldn't be obsessing over your ass or your stomach every morning, you should be able to make peace with it and go about living your life. Can you imagine spending all of your time obsessing over how you look? Imagine all the great things that would pass you by!
This may sound contradictory, but I need to say it. It's okay to have self loathing in moderation. If you don't like your spider veins, it's alright to want to get them surgically removed. If you want to lose weight, that's okay too, as long as you're not doing it for the wrong reasons. I think starving yourself to lose weight just because you're concerned with how other people perceive you is ridiculous. If you want to lose weight do it properly and do it because it will make you feel healthier or more comfortable. For example, I was larger in my high school years. I never felt comfortable, I always felt bloated. Even when I had a fitted pair of pants on they felt too small because my stomach felt uncomfortable. I now know that I'm more comfortable being a smaller size. I've gained and lost weight and in my experience being smaller has always felt more comfortable around my mid section. I think that's an acceptable reason for losing weight. I'm not trying to be impossibly thin, I'm just trying to feel comfortable at a reasonable size. In the future, I might undergo rhinoplasty, not because I want to suit other people's ideas of beauty but because I'm not happy with my nose (largely because I have a deviated septum and it makes it difficult to breathe). I normally wouldn't condone it, but breast implants could be acceptable for the same reasons. For example, if a woman has always been small chested, she might feel better and more confident in her body if she had implants; not for someone else's tastes but for her own. That's okay too. I don't think people should feel ashamed for wanting to look different, so long as they have realistic expectations and are doing it for the right reasons. These are our bodies, we have the right to desire change for ourselves but no one else does. Your boyfriend has no right telling you to get a boob job, your mother has no right telling you that you would look better with lip injections, and a stranger has no right telling you to get a nose job. It's your body and your life, only ever do what's right for you.
If we can change our attitudes about beauty we can change the way we feel about ourselves and each other. We can improve the quality of our lives and set good examples for the young women of tomorrow. If you've felt badly about yourself, or if you've made harsh judgments about the people around you, I implore you to do some self exploration, to re-evaluate your opinions about beauty and to strive toward having a more positive attitude in general.