I have heard from many women, through my Body Image Coaching and Boudoir Photo Sessions that many women have experienced body shaming, regardless of size, in their lifetime.
I think it’s important to point out that while Fat people (and this is not a derogatory name, this is a reclaimed description) are often discriminated and oppressed, however in this blog, we will be talking about ALL bodies being shamed.
Body shaming though comes from a place of negativity. Be it comparison, jealousy, emptiness, or miss-guided assumptions. Body shaming is when you put YOUR opinions of someone’s body onto that person.
No it has nothing to do with their health, their weight, their blonde hair, their red hair, freckles, tall or shortness… when we get down it, it is YOUR judgement of someone else’s body.
Let me very clear here, I don’t care what shape, size, race, lifestyle or age you are, you have absolutely no right to comment on someone’s body. Children, teens and adults. No one’s body should EVER be commented on.
I’ve heard stories of fat bodied women who were told inconceivable things about their weight or body from “concerned” people. And I’ve heard stories of thin bodied women called names simply for walking down an aisle being themselves.
Words hurt, they have power, and our language is so important. But what if we have the power to change this?
Let’s put this into perspective here.
Were you at a family event and Aunt Suzie decided to comment on your weigh - did you gain weight? did you lose weight? oh honey do you really think you should have that 2nd piece of cake? Aunt Suzie may not know it, but she could be feeding someone’s Eating Disorder, self-hate, and/or depression. What if instead Aunt Suzie had commented on how proud she was of you for doing such a great job in school/career. Wouldn’t that make you BOTH feel good? What a loving way to show interest in a family member, and to feel loved by that family member. I mean literally win-win!
Or how about with your friend Jill and Lisa when they spoke about their body and how they hate “their big thighs” or how they need to lose some weight because they “have a muffin top” or whatever it is. Whether you internalize it at the time or not, those self-deprecating thoughts your friends say out loud you replay in your own head over and over. It’s so toxic! We think these cycles are okay and normal, but truly they are not. These are cycles we as women, as humans need to get away from. We need to rise above and realize that our bodies are these amazing things that are keeping us alive, and that when we are saying these cruel things to it, our brain is most definitely listening. As well as all those around us (including those that belong to little ears). So what if instead you said, listen I know we’re conditioned to hate ourselves and get on the band wagon however I have decided to make some changes in my life and I just want to celebrate my body and all it can do and has given me. Can we instead say something kind about ourselves and each other? What would THAT feel like? I bet it would make you both feel uplifted and amazing!
Just like “Aunt Suzie” above, No one has the right to tell me (a fat bodied person) about my body. It’s literally none of their business. No one has the right to tell me what to wear or not wear, if it makes me feel good why can’t I wear it?! Or if I am in a public place, or to call me a fatty (negative connotation) or make horrible comments when I’m walking down the street or in a public place just minding my own.
What happens when you are having a great time, enjoying yourself, feeling fab in the clothes you are wearing, smile on your face just living your best life enjoying the moment, only to be harassed in that moment? Makes you feel like shit right? So why would we do it to anyone else?
I’ve had friends who are thin bodies who were in this situation as well, also enjoying their best life just walking doing their thing minding their own, to be walked up to and called a bitch, or pushed, or told to go eat. It’s not okay. Just like any other woman, these words hurt deep down to a core.
We don’t know someone’s personal struggles, we don’t know what they are going through in life, so why would you add to that burden? Instead, mind your own, seriously… mind your own girlfriend!
I ask you not to compare someone’s body with your own. I ask you to leave silence instead of putting down someone else. I ask that you respect that everyone has a battle they are struggling with, and that you do not add to it. I ask that you understand that no one’s body is of your concern. I ask that thin bodied women understand that fat women are worthy of value and respect. I ask that fat bodied women understand that thin women are worthy of value and respect. I ask that if you have something to say about someone’s body… that you don’t. I ask that you spread kindness, about who that person actually is. Like “you have a great smile'“, “I overheard you speaking to your child, I wanted to let you know you sound like a great mom”, “I really love those glasses on you”, “I love those shoes!”. If you know the person, tell them how smart they are, about their kind heart, something about who they are and the acts they do.
Together let’s rise. Together let’s grow. Together let’s do better.
Empowered women empower women.
Featuring 2 Queens, both equally beautiful.
Selleck Engel & Kimberly Dawn