Tag Archives: Bullying

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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If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say

. . . shut the fuck up.

Ok. So y’all know I’m all about speaking your mind but, as with so many things in life, there is a line.

Things have changed a lot in recent years. In days of yore, if you wanted to say something bad about someone, you had to do it verbally or in writing. “Thy face causes offense to mine eye” still hurt, but had a much smaller audience.

From foundmagazine.com

Nowadays, judgement and bullying have become a part of popular culture. The internet allows for anonymity, and anyone can post anything about anyone for anyone else to read. Any. Perez Hilton can write (or draw) anything with this little white cyber-pen about anyone he wants. While I understand he’s gotten better (fewer dripping orifices nowadays), he currently has “Madonna’s Worst Looks Through The Years” as one of his top stories. This works because there is an audience for it.  Same goes for E!’s Fashion Police. Joan Rivers has taken her red carpet acid tongue to a more removed setting, and she and her cronies sit and tear apart all of Hollywood’s fashion choices, crowning a “Fash-ho of the Week”. On the red carpet, I can virtually guarantee that everyone who steps out of a limo got dressed thinking, “I look AMAZING in this (dress, tux, swan . . . )”. I don’t care how famous you are, those words hurt.

*NB I’ve deliberately not externally linked to Perez or Fashion Police. If you want to read these things, it’s your business, but I don’t want to associate this blog with that kind of poison. 

Our generation has grown up with this kind of mentality surrounding us, and it has become a societal “norm”. We, as a culture, feel like we have license to say exactly what we’re thinking on any topic without thinking about the consequences.

Today’s rantings are inspired by two such situations of bullying, both directed at one of my dearest friends. (He’s one of those rare “soldiers” who fights alongside me (on my behalf), and I’m forever grateful to have him in my life.) A couple of years ago, Daniel was on a blind date. He had always struggled with his weight, but he is very handsome, dresses with style, and always looks great. His date showed up at the restaurant, and without so much as a “hello” said, “Nope. Too fat,” and walked away.

A statement like that would crush a lot of people. I have heard time and time again about people who have had similar experiences that have led to eating disorders, depression, and even suicide. Daniel, however, chose to use the experience to turn his life around. He focused on getting healthy, not on getting thin, and is now in incredible shape and is a personal trainer himself (and many other things – this boy is GOING places!).

Yesterday, he received a message on one of his online profiles:

“You aren’t athletic, you’re fat. And what’s with the toque? We all know you’re bald.”

I would like to start off by saying that I have hugged those muscles many a time, and there’s nothing fat about them. And yes, Daniel shaves his head, so he is bald. He also enjoys a toque (Canadian word for winter hat), as it is WINTER here and that gets cold on a shaved head.

When did this kind of attack become okay? It shocks me that anyone feels that they have the right to say something like that to another human being.

This made me think, however. How often do we sit with friends and gossip about those around us? We judge the hair, clothes, etc. of people around us: strangers on the street, acquaintances, and even family and friends. If you are exempt from this generalization, my apologies and congratulations. You are a better person than I am. Do you ever stop to think, though, “If my friend talks to me like this about her friends, how does she talk about me when I’m not there?” Is it any wonder so many of us have trust issues?

Once again, I’m issuing a challenge: Let’s stop ourselves before we judge, gossip about, or bully another person. Just don’t say it. If someone else is talking unkindly, let’s not engage. Then, let’s work on our thoughts. It’s not enough just to stop the verbal attacks. Thoughts have energy, and are you really going to invite all that negativity into your brain over an ugly pair of shoes?

And maybe, just maybe, once we’re thinking more kindly about others, we can start to turn that kindness on ourselves.

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