No(Body) Shame You

According to Oxford Dictionary, body shaming is “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.” The issue of body shaming has become very prevalent in our society, as at least every person has experienced some sort of body shaming within their life.

Recently, as the prevalence and the extremity of the nature of the body shaming has become worse, more individuals have begun addressing the issue and attempting to take a stand against this social issue that has begun affecting many individuals lives. Technological advances have only assisted body shamers get their horrible messages across, whether it be over social media or text.

Celebrities, such as Demi Lovato, have taken a stance against body shamers, who go out  of their way to poke “fun” and take low jabs at individuals just to make an insensitive comment about the shape of their body.
It is ironic, while we all understand that not one person on this universe is going to look the same, let along have the same body type, we are not very accepting of this theory, as we seemingly go out of our way to express judgement about other people’s bodies. One’s body shape is something that can be altered, or toned, but never fully changed. In fact, no one ever had the chance to choice what kind of body they would have when they were born, so this kind of bully behavior is completely unfair and heinous.

Body shaming was first associated with individuals who shamed those who people may consider “curvy,” “fuller,” “plus-size,” or “fat.” Those who seemingly had a curvier, or bigger boned, figure seemed to be the main target of body shamers. This is a misconception, as “skinny,” “frail,” “emaciated,” “anorexic,” “bulimic,” and “tiny” individuals, or lean individuals, are also ridiculed for their body shapes, as well. It seems as though no one can seemingly win.

The misconception behind body shaming revolves around the idea that this term only applies to those who may be considered “larger,” but this is not the case. Body shaming can occur to anyone, including those lanky individuals out there.

As a person who is considered petite, I have experienced my fair share of body shaming, as I have been relentlessly taunted for my small figure.
One may think that being called “tiny” or “so skinny” is a compliment, but to a certain extent, it does everything but reassure me and make me better.
I have been called “anorexic,” “bulimic,” “too skinny,” “emaciated,” “disgusting,” “frail,” “unhealthy,” etc. to name a few, as a result of my small frame.

“Ew, stop! I can’t look at you. I can almost see all your bones, that’s gross.”

“The fact that I can see your chest bones protruding out is disgusting.”

As a very bony and petite person, it may not look like there is “much to me,” as I have been told.
Just because my shoulder bones are sharp, my elbows are bony, my butt is bony, and my chest bones are visible, it does not mean that I am any of the labels listed above.
This is just my body.

It hurts a lot.

I can only imagine what others have been called, but we can agree on one thing, and that is that it does not feel good to be humiliated or to have others passing judgement on your body. You already do enough judgement over your body yourself – the position is already filled!

I can name seven handful of times where I was scrutinized for my weight and it most certainly did not make feel good.

At a party one time, my two friends and I ran into the bathroom to pee and get some quality girl time. There had happened to be a scale in the bathroom, and while I do not use or believe in weight scales, I thought it would be fun to see how much we all weighed together if we added all of our weights up. So, I stepped on the scale without worry for scrutiny, however, as soon as the number 100.2 pounds appeared on the scale, this individual did not waste a breathe on mentioning that my weight was completely unhealthy and that I was too skinny.
What I needed to realize was that, no matter how I tried, which I tried hard for many months, that I was never going to be over 108 pounds maximum, which is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

The scale just tells you a number and it should not dictate your life, or give you an excuse to pass judgement on someone. Just because most middle schoolers probably weigh more than me, it does not mean that putting my weight on blast is going to make things better. Putting me down, or attempting to make me feel insecure about my own weight, is not going to make me lose any weight, nor is it going to make me gain any weight.

As a 22-year-old woman, trust me, I would love to gain some weight and look like I actually went through puberty.
I hate having to buy kids’ jeans in size 16, just so they will not be too baggy, as sometimes adult sizes do not fit me. I may be saving money, but I don’t particularly want to shopping in the kids’, or teens, section.
I want to weigh more than 105, which is my highest record, due to the stigma surrounding my low weight.

After hearing a lot of body-shaming comments about my petite figure, I have found it difficult from time to time to truly express how proud I am of my body and how happy I am in it. I have found it incredibly difficult to dress the way I would like to and I refuse to wear body hugging clothing, sticking to baggy clothes.

I chose to hide my figure instead of show it off, because of the backlash I have received that has made me feel uncomfortable to dress properly for my size.
Oversized hoodies, oversized t-shirts, sweatpants, flowy pants – you name it.
I would rather have had people focusing on other aspects of me other than my own weight.

Many people have their own ideas of what is “healthy,” or what is “not healthy,” but bringing others down if they do not meet your requirements for “healthy,” or “unhealthy,” is not remotely productive. Not to mention, these people are often not professionals.

For someone who gets called “unhealthy,” or “gross,” I have been told by a handful of professional doctors that my physical health is actually impressively healthy. I was even told that my blood pressure was so healthy that it was shocking, and while this may come as a shock, I do work hard to stay as healthy as I can.

While my fast metabolism seems to not let gain weight, this does mean that I do not eat a lot. In addition, I try to follow a fairly strict exercise regiment, by hiking at least three times a week and walking as much as possible. Beyond this, I have cut soda completely out of my consumption and rarely consume alcohol. If I do consume alcohol, I only drink tequila. These not so small changes allow me to feel good, and most importantly, feel good about my body, despite what others say.
Beyond these things, my heritage, Japanese and Ethiopian, also play a part in my slim body shape. Generally, Japanese and Ethiopian citizens tend to have smaller body frames, so my genetics also play apart into my smaller body frame.

Trust me, people have attempted over feeding me for months

“Oh my god, that girl needs to eat a cheeseburger,” an elderly woman mutters under her breath about me.
“The cheeseburger is on you, right??” I think to myself. Otherwise, I am not about to purchase a cheeseburger because I am lactose intolerant, and mainly because I do not have anything to prove to anyone.

These kind of comments get me extremely aggravated, as I am a very exceptional eater and cannot help my body frame.
Beyond this, it is incredibly rude to make comments about a stranger who you do not know and honestly makes me uncomfortable.

As a society, we attempt to be aware of the toll that body shaming can take on one’s mental health, physical health, and emotional well-being, but we never do anything about it. Naturally, human beings are entitled to their own opinions and pass judgement without even realizing it, however, basing opinions and judgements about someone based on their body shape is beyond disturbing and very malicious.

Human beings, both girls and boys, are very insecure about their outward appearance, especially their faces and their bodies. Any criticism towards these features can truly leave someone feeling very hurt and insecure, as many issues can develop from persistent body-shaming.

It is confusing, because human beings universally enjoy feeling good about themselves and this is something that unites us. Ironically, though we enjoy feeling good about ourselves, we intentionally go out of our way to make someone feel bad about themselves, which is once again creating a division between us.

No matter if you are big, small, lanky, short, a midget, black, white, fat, overweight, obese, average, athletic, meaty, or muscles, no one should ever make you feel bad about your own body, in which you perform life and utilize on a daily basis. Your body is truly your temple! You should respect, but so should others around you. Not everyone is going to respect your body, or even appreciate it, however, as long as you respect, love and appreciate it then it should not matter.

This society has become preoccupied with negativity and the act of bringing others down, which has exasperated issues, such as bullying, body-shaming, etc. Hate acts are being performed everywhere and people have found that bringing others down, or humiliating them, temporarily makes them feel better. Rather than celebrating and appreciating people for who they are, outward appearance aside, people have become consumed with tearing people down and attempting to humiliate them for reasons that are unknown.

We should be proud of the skin that we are living in, not living in shame and torture.

While you cannot control others and their opinions, it is important to realize that there are millions of individuals who have to deal with body-shaming, so understand that this is not something that you should be embarrassed of. Many people can relate to being body shamed, regardless of if they have the same body type as you.

Body positivity groups have become emerging to help support individuals of all body shapes and sizes to come together, help each other, and assist in spreading the word that it does not matter what body shape and what body size you are. All that matters is that you are feeling happy and comfortable in the body that you are in.

Even though the media and popular culture glamorizes being “too thin” and defines beauty based if they are skinny or not, beauty is not based on being slim. What angers me the most is that the media and popular culture has placed so much emphasis and importance towards your outward appearance that this overwhelming pressure to meet these standards have even sent celebrities over the edge. A person’s self-worth, character, and personality is NOT based on their physical appearance, especially their body size and body shape. The media and popular culture seems to tell us differently.

The goal of body positivity is not to be “skinny,” or achieving your perfect weight, it is to be happy, comfortable, confident, and healthy in your body! This does not mean that you will always feel good in your body. There will be days where you feel fat, bloated, gross, etc., but do not fret! This happens to us all, INCLUDING ME.

For those of you who are quick to tell me that it is “impossible” for me to feel “fat,” because I am “so skinny,” or “too tiny,” I am afraid that it is possible. I am a human, and no matter what, I am a human who is allowed to have off-days where I am feeling “fat,” “blah,” “bloated,” etc. I am just like every single one of you! The idea that “skinny people” are not allowed to feel fat, bloated, etc. is ridiculous and unrealistic.

Constantly attempting to live up to this impossible standard body type set by popular culture is going to be the death of you, as trying to keep up will actually end up hurting you more than helping you. Attempt to ignore the societal norm completely, and stop comparing yourself to others, and simply work on yourself and your own body.

Working hard to finally feel good, confident, happy, and healthy in your body is not an easy task, however, it is very worth it! There is never a better feeling than feeling confident in the body you are currently occupying.

This month, as bathing suit season is upon us, work on celebrating others, creating a body positive atmosphere, and not engaging in body-shaming others!
Help others by uplifting them!

Do not worry body-shaming someone will perhaps give you a moment of relief, until two moments later you begin to realize that you are unhappy with your own body.
Beyond this, what good does it do to intentionally be malicious towards someone about something that they cannot help?
If you are truly frustrated with someone’s body shape and body size, blame it on their genetic makeup, DNA, parents, their metabolism, their exercise routine, etc. Just do not blame them for something that they did not have any say in.
Even my parents did not have a say in what my body type and my body size would end up being, so at this point, there is just no reason to be mad.

Life is not a body critique competition, and NO ONE signed up to participate to compete in this competition. If this person did not willingly sign up to participate or they did not try out for this competition, their body is not being asked to be critiqued.

I may not have asked to be born, however, my contract with life never disclosed the lifelong body critique competition that I would be participating in without my own consent or knowledge.
I must say that I am dealing with a tough crowd.

To the women that told me I need to eat a cheeseburger, I would prefer a McDouble from McDonald’s, no cheese, with large fries and a large Oreo McFlurry. And, since all-day breakfast exists, I would also like to place another order for about four hash browns, please.

Please do not be spiteful and learn to appreciate people, their bodies, their existences, their souls, their personalities, and their happiness! Plus, no one really asked for your opinion on my body, so keep your opinions to yourself.

Do not let the shamers get you down.
Because, they hate you, because they ain’t you.

#NOBODYSHAMEZONE #BODYPOSITIVITY #YOUAREBEAUTIFUL #LOOKATWHATYOURMAMAGAVEYOU

What are some of the ways that you combat negative comments about your body, or deal with body-shaming?

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

 

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