Yesterday and today, two things were said to me which shook me to the core about how deep and wide body image runs within us and around us.
“I’m not interested [in following her workouts]. She’s too chubby.”
“I wish I was thin like you, so I could eat whatever I want.”
Damn. Just…damn. In a generation where women are so powerful and capable, it saddens me to see how standards that society (ahem *men* ahem) has set still have a hold over us today.
I too still fall prey to things like this. When a guy body shames another woman, I mentally go over my checklist of my physical characteristics to make sure I’m still within acceptable standards of beauty. And that sucks.
There’s 7 billionish people in the world, and we’re made to believe that we have to please every single one. Too fat, too thin. Too strong, too weak. Too tall, too short. PEOPLE, PLEASE. Potatoes come in all shapes and sizes, mashed, fried, cubed, shredded…and yet no one talks so aggressively about their love/hate of said potato form, or says shit like “Why can’t you be like other potatoes?” Why? Cause body shaming is a way of self assurance, for people who base their self validation off comparing themselves with others.
What I’ve noticed is that people put others down especially when they feel threatened by them. And because no matter what size/shape of the potato, it isn’t a threat to your social standing (unless you count calories; that’s a different story) so you aren’t imbued with the desire to scrutinize every inch of their golden bodies.
Being labeled ‘thin’ has also brought about unseen, unspoken repercussions in my life. Just because I’m this size and shape, people think I don’t go through their struggles. And I don’t–I don’t know what it feels like to have a high BMI, I don’t know what it’s like to have a legit double chin. But I know how it feels to feel that everyones’ eyes are on your tummy rolls when you bend over. I know how it feels to have people judge you for what you eat. I know how it feels to be eyed up and down by a girl you think is prettier than you. I know, I know.
Having the label of ‘thin’ comes with its struggles too. I don’t get to sass it out like Fat Amy, cause making jokes about being an average size (which I think I am. I’m not what people would classify as thin enough to make “blown away by the wind” jokes) just isn’t a thing in society. And I struggle with the likelihood that one day, middle age will take the reins and I’ll have a mom-bod. Or…a DAD-BOD. *shudders*. And comments like “Why do you eat so healthy? You’re thin enough, you don’t need a diet.” “Why did you get bigger? You go to the gym? What a waste of a perfect body. The muscular look isn’t for girls.”
Thinking about it just makes my head hurt. And I don’t know where this post is going–I just really feel the need to get this off my chest and out my fingertips, because it’s a topic I read a lot about and I felt like my voice has more to say too.
People say things like “the number on the scale doesn’t tell you what an amazing person you are” and that’s cheesy but true. The mere pull of gravity on your body has no say in determining your worth.
And guess what? Your body is yours to own, and yes, opinions will be all over the place about what you should look like, how being a certain size will fit you into a mold that will bring you eternal happiness. Be aware of such promises (aka marketing) and remember that you have the right to do what you want with your body. Tattoo it. Make it smaller. Bigger. Tanner. It’s your canvas, it’s your clay…and you get to choose what art to make with it–but promise yourself that the art you make will be for you, not anyone else.
And to my girlfriends who said those things: I don’t know how to tell you this yet, but you are more than you think your body represents. You’re caring, thoughtful, loving, friendly and strong beyond measure. Your soul can withstand more than those ‘extra pounds’ you think you need to shed. So please: love your body as much as I love your person.