Body Shaming At Any Size

Hey there.

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and even longer since I’ve ranted.

This video has been circulating around the internet lately, and I was incredibly proud and in awe of this brave woman. She is an example of strength and dignity that we all can learn from.

Body shaming is disgusting, and one of the worst forms of bullying out there. Everyone has been a victim of it, I’m sure. Whether it’s for your shape, size, hair, skin, race, whatever, it exists.

I have been the victim of body shaming on more than one occasion. Even when I weighed less than I do now, I had people in my life who would consistently put me down for being “fat”.  Who would point out my every flaw, or just give me “tips” to disguise the parts of my body that were socially unacceptable. It hurts, especially when it comes from those who are closest to you.

There’s one other type of body shaming that I’ve been a victim of that nobody talks about, or maybe it’s just that nobody cares.

Have you ever called anyone a skinny bitch? (I have.)

Skinny girls are torn apart all the time. It seems everyone thinks that because skinny=socially acceptable, “thin-bashing” is okay. Skinny people have it all, right?

Let’s play a brain game. Imagine you overhear the following:

Oh my god, how much weight have you gained? You look disgusting. Seriously. You need to stop eating. I mean it. You look like you’re all steriod-puffy from cancer treatment. Look in the mirror! Can’t you see that you look like one of those obese people you see on the news?

Horrifying, yes? Now imagine this:

Oh my god, how much weight have you lost? You look disgusting. Seriously. Just eat a fucking sandwich. I mean it. You look like a cancer patient after a million rounds of chemo. Look in the mirror! Can’t you see you look like a holocaust survivor?

I’ve heard all of these things from people trying to be “helpful”. I’ve heard it from friends, acquaintances, teachers, strangers . . . nobody seems to think twice when it comes to being underweight as opposed to overweight.

Yes, I was suffering from an eating disorder at the time. But people don’t realize that obesity can be just as much a symptom of an eating disorder as emaciation.  Why is one acceptable to comment on, but not the other?

Remember:

The girl who can eat anything and never gain a pound might be throwing up everything she eats.

The girl with the hot body who seems so disciplined going to the gym might just feel like a hamster trapped on a wheel. She can’t step off the treadmill to save her life.

The emaciated girl who is obviously anorexic may be fighting for her life, and doesn’t need you to remind her of how bad she looks.

I was out to dinner with a friend earlier this year. She was working so hard to fight anorexia on her own, and was out for maybe her 2nd meal in public at a restaurant. She had ordered her meal, and on her way back from the bathroom, some drunken jerk yelled, “Go back to the concentration camp!” This absolutely destroyed her, and she could only pick at the meal she had so bravely ordered.

You never know when an ill-timed, even well-intentioned comment can throw a complete wrench in someone’s day. Please just think before you speak. And to the asshole guy from the video who is worrying about the example she is setting for children, just remember that your children are watching you more carefully than they are anyone on tv. Would you really rather raise your children to be assholes than overweight? As far as I can see, the assholes are much more dangerous to society.

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9 Comments

Filed under Rantings

9 responses to “Body Shaming At Any Size

  1. Love this blog. My mom always says she hates when people (probably well intentioned) say “Oh, have you lost weight?” Because she figures, as much as it may be a “compliment” in their minds, it means they noticed that you were bigger before this moment. I feel like we should just all keep our mouths shut, and if you must comment, say “I think you look lovely today”, or “You seem really happy lately.” People can be really awful sometimes.

    • Agreed. So hard to remember, but so important. Especially with children. “Aren’t you just the cutest” or “What a pretty little girl” can teach them that the bulk of their value lies in their appearance.

  2. Ryan

    You are right, body shaming is disgusting no matter what, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on anyone’s body. There are so many different reasons why someone may be overweight or underweight, and a lot of them are health conditions that people may have little or no control over (or in the case of an eating disorder, they may be fighting a very difficult battle towards recovery). It really gets to me that people are so ignorant and judgemental. The part that bothered me the most was that the man stated that obesity is a lifestyle choice, which is just ridiculous and shows a complete lack of understanding of why people actually gain weight and have difficulty losing it. And it is laughable that anyone would actually choose to be obese in a society that is so hateful towards obese people.

    It also makes my heart hurt that your friend is struggling so much and received such a hurtful comment. I’m glad she has a supportive friend like you. xo

  3. Pingback: Body Shaming At Any Size « In My Skinny Genes

  4. Andrea Ahlers

    It shocks and saddens me that we’re supposed to be “civilised” society and there are always those who think they have the right to comment. I struggle with my weight for many reasons and I can’t stand it when someone is trying to be “helpful” or “friendly” in commenting that I look “robust” (which means I’ve gained weight) or that I look “healthy” (which means that I’ve gained weight) or that I look “great” (which means that I’ve lost weight).

    Truly, its nobody’s business and yet we see haters all over the place thinking they have the right to say whatever pops into their heads. And they just damn well don’t.

    Smite the lot of ’em, I say.

    *hugs*

    • Kelly

      LOL agreed. It’s funny, when you’re gaining weight from anorexia, people still use the term “healthy”. We ain’t stupid. We know healthy means fat. So does “great” to us. Just don’t comment on people’s bodies, world!

  5. I relate to this lady a lot. Your example really brings it home that people of all sizes are shamed for their bodies and how totally unacceptable it is. Definitely challenges my “skinny people have it easy” mentality. I needed to hear that. Thank you!

    • It’s hard to remember sometimes that what looks greener on the other side can sometimes come at a cost. I struggle with that one quite regularly. Thanks for the comment!

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