*Warning* I may rant.
Alright, so you all know that I struggle with body image, and my weight.
Up until now I have managed to avoid being shamed out in public.
However yesterday this changed.
I was out with my family, spending time at the park.
I decided to play on the swings with Bella.
Whilst on it I was told ‘the bar is bending in the middle with you on there’
I was crushed.
I felt broken and hurt.
I immediately hopped off of the swing and hid myself away.
I had gone from having an enjoyable time, to feeling incredibly self conscious.
Yesterday I felt saddened by these underhanded comments.
Today I am angry about them.
First off, I am not going to stand here and make excuses for how I look.
It is my body.
I don’t agree with any kind of shaming, and nowadays shaming is rife.
Mum shaming.. The list goes on
Consider how your words will make a person feel about themselves.
It is so easy to have and give an opinion on a persons appearance, but your words are damaging.
The fact that someone felt the need to call me out on my weight is hurtful.
I thought I had left the bullies back in highschool, turns out I was wrong.
As I write this I decided to reach out to my friend, body positive role model and fellow anti body shame – Anastasia for her thoughts on this subject.
I was going to paraphrase this, but it is too important a message to shorten – here is what she had to say –
“Whichever way you look at it, body shaming is bullying. There are some sad individuals who choose to argue that not being able to comment on someone’s body without them getting offended is “taking political correctness too far” but from my perspective, this is an issue of human compassion, not politics.
There is a vast difference between free speech and consequence-free speech, which many people sadly forget. I have no sympathy for those who so callously invalidate the experiences of others to be “funny” and I have no sympathy for those who think it’s acceptable to bully others. And despite what some bullies will tell you, their hateful remarks are in no way reflective of genuine concern for someone’s health or wellbeing.
Bullying, of any kind, is NOT OKAY. It’s not okay to bully fat people. It’s not okay to bully thin people. It’s not okay to bully very athletic people or curvy people or disabled people or any other person based on their physical form. Whatever size you are, you don’t deserve to be shamed for your body. You don’t deserve to be shamed for trying to get healthy in a way that makes sense to you. You don’t deserve to be shamed for trying to achieve a level of contentment with yourself along the way to health. You don’t deserve to be shamed for having a body, even if you choose not to take care of it. You don’t deserve to be shamed. Full stop.
Studies are showing time and time again that shaming and bullying results in low self-esteem which is likely to reinforce negative behaviours around food and exercise. So contrary to what some bullies will tell you, shaming a fat person won’t suddenly “inspire” them to see the error of their ways, nor will it “motivate” a thin person to start eating differently. In fact, you’re more likely to push them away from any notions of health or seeking help for concerns they may have about their wellbeing.
And besides, as a stranger, it’s not your place to comment on someone’s body. Even if you think your X-Ray vision can see their diabetes or low blood pressure or lactose intolerance of otherwise… unless you’re their doctor (in which case, you’d likely have far more tact than to bully someone anyway), it’s none of your business.
Fat shaming, skinny shaming – it’s all the same. Bullying and harassment. And it’s never acceptable under any circumstances.”
– Anastasia Amour
I literally agree with every word she said here.
People think it is there given right to say what they think.
They may think they are helping you out, but it is not helpful.
It is bullying.
When you give your opinion on a person body type or on how they look, you are damaging their self esteem.
When you tease or ‘joke’ about their weight, you ebb away that their confidence.
Your opinion can cause them to stop eating, to take extreme measures to change their appearance.
To become more ‘pleasing’ to society’s view of perfection.
Your personal opinion, has broken that persons self love.
I will say it again – body shaming is bullying
We are not born hating our bodies.
Others opinions, comments and the media feed how we feel about ourselves.
They are the fuel to the fire underneath how feel about our bodies.
But I tell you something I am going to be the fire extinguisher to that fire.
I will not let it burn so much that it takes over me.
Your words are not so much inspiring, but hurtful.
Stop body shaming.
Don’t be ashamed of how you look.
Don’t let others make you feel badly about yourself.
You are beautiful.