By Grace O’hearn
Her thighs are too fat. You need to gain some weight. He’s effeminate. Women and men around the world are always criticizing their own bodies, and for what? Body shaming, whether from a second party or yourself, is a habit that society needs to branch away from.
Author Jennifer Weiner states how in terms of history, people who had meat on their bones were deemed to be able to afford food, as opposed to those who were thinner.
She makes a strong point when she identifies how in today’s society, “… thinness has really become a marker of status, and when things are associated with status, we want them.”
As women discuss equality and the strength needed to see their friends transcend beyond their barriers, they are also unsighted to the fact that we are fighting amongst ourselves. We put each other down and make it difficult to rise above and become strong, independent women who love ourselves wholeheartedly.
KU student Carmelina Stolzenberg spoke on body shaming being a repeated act of putting yourself down, “…because you don’t look like you think you should. It’s degrading who you are because of whom or what you aren’t. Comparison kills.”
Is the root of body shaming comparison, or the fact that society has constructed this appearance of what the ideal illustration is, or both?
Actress, spiritualist and feminist Shelah Marie said, “Body shaming is a part of American culture, unfortunately. I think our greatest weapon against loving and accepting ourselves is doing so unconditionally. Not when we lose 15 pounds, or get the job, or the guy—right now. Loving ourselves in spite of perceived imperfection is our best defense against self-hate.”
We can all acknowledge that what Stolzenberg and Marie have to say about body shaming is true, but unfortunately, saying is easier than doing. Luckily, there are some companies who have actively been promoting self-love.
Aerie, a women’s lingerie and apparel store, launched their #AerieREAL campaign in 2014 where they said goodbye to Photoshop in order to promote more realistic standards for their customers.
Another well-known company that promotes self-love, and realistic body types is Dove. They began putting real bodies on TV several years ago with their Real Beauty Campaign.
A few more companies that are embracing real bodies include: Dear Kate, Modcloth, Old Navy and Monif C.
In order for us to surpass the boundaries of body shaming, we have to seek guidance and a positive support system. Here are 9 self-help tips listed in an article titled, “9 Body-Shaming Behaviors We All Need to Stop,” on mindbodygreen.com.
The following must come to an end: focusing on dieting rather than nutrition, refusing to indulge, idolizing body types as they are presented by the media, shaming people who are “too skinny”, judging the variety of body types in the exercise room, judging others for conforming behaviors, despite understanding the pressures they face from society, judging expressions of sexuality, not knowing own body and defining beauty as a look rather than a state of mind.
Begin your journey to self love, and assist in ending the habit of body shaming. You deserve your love more than anyone else does.