We are a culture who likes to shame people. We like to shame someone if they have too much sex, we like to shame someone if they don’t have enough sex, we like to shame someone if they are “too big,” and we like to shame someone if they are “too small.” No one is average, because god damn it, we are unique BAMFs, so regardless of what side you’re on, we’re destined to lose. Because we’re “too” this, and we’re “too” that, and someone’s always got something to say about that.
So do I need to say it? Okay, fine, gladly: fuuuuuuuuuck that.*
*(I would really like that to be written on my tombstone when I die at age 104 years. Also, “Cool, you can inscribe on these!” So see to it, future husband, who will outlive me by one day.)
To put it bluntly — and to get back to the topic — body shaming blows. To look at another human and compare yourself to her because of her size — small or tall or fat or skinny or curvy or medium-sized or WHATEVER — is shitty regardless of who you’re putting down and why you’re doing it. It’s shitty to assume that because she’s a certain size, you know what it’s like to be her, and it’s shitty to come to snap judgements based on size, looks, and aesthetics in general. It’s shitty to hang your self worth on size and shape, and it’s shitty to feel like you have to. It’s just shitty. And I have done all of the above things, sadly, naturally, because I am a human woman.
When I was 13, I was comfortable in my size 8/10 until I went to high school and got called fat. Logically (to me), that meant I should stop eating. And in a simple two-month time, thanks to growth spurts and a lack of nutrition, I got down to a size zero and began my summer of hanging out in parking lots, drinking too much, and smoking the grossest cigarettes that I think exist.
Needless to say, the rest of high school was tumultuous, and a yo-yo of weight loss, weight gain, and self loathing ensued. By the time I was 23, I was “curvier” (a size 6, at American Eagle where I worked), but then the weight crash arrived again. Not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t actually physically eat. Thanks to stress (and the merits of a then-undiagnosed mental health situation), I could digest rice, peppermint tea, and… that’s about it. Sometimes pringles, usually crackers, mostly bread. Some days meat. Other days, applesauce. I liked (and like) food believe it or not, so it was the worst. I was very tiny. And I got compliments. And also worried “are you okay?” questions. I defended myself, and I lied about being fine. Truth be told, a big part of me liked the attention, but an even bigger part of me wanted to eat a pizza without fearing I’d re-visit it again, if you know what I mean. I just wanted to be normal. Which is a hilarious word.
I mean, isn’t it? “Normal.” We toss it around in terms of size, and tell thin women to “eat a sandwich,” and tell large women how to diet, all to reach this mystical status. And then you get there, and it’s still not good enough because we’re a culture of extremes. And, even though we know how it feels to be judged and visually poked and prodded, we do the same to other women. We tell them to lose weight, we tell them to put on weight or shut up if they can fit into 00 jeans. But what the fuck? That is a garbage thing to do.
We know it stems from insecurity. We know this because we’ve (probably) been on both sides. And in terms of tossing around casual comments about the way someone looks or how they should look like “a real woman” or how they should “eat a sandwich” or how they should “wear flattering clothing,” those are usually said in times of feeling the most shitty ourselves. Because, obviously, it’s the age-old cycle: we feel shitty, so we need to make other people feel shitty, too.
Ultimately, we are the only people who can stop the shittiness. And unlike a lot of systemic things, we can stop the shittiness by simply choosing to stop saying shitty things. Maybe instead of commenting on somebody’s size, we ask ourselves (mentally, because this might look weird at the mall) why we’re saying it to begin with. Why it’s a trigger. Who cares what size somebody is? Seriously, why is it our business? WHY DO WE CARE? How does it affect us? IT DOESN’T. They are simply living their lives, and we have been conditioned to look at them and say, “Oh here is my opinion on their physique.”
Gross. Nope. No. We are better than that. We are smarter than that. And we all know how damaging shaming can be, and we can decide to just quit it. We all feel bad about ourselves, and do you know why? (Yes.) Because through media messages and other people, we have been shamed. So then to feel better, we shame. And there is just so much shaming, you have to wonder whether or not we’re paying attention to anything else we’re interested in because we’re basically shaming 24/7. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PROVERBIAL ROAD. The people who cause traffic by looking around when they can be driving are the people we curse the loudest. So let’s not be them! Let’s be the other people who commit to the simple mantra that we are more than what we look like. And who cares what size somebody else is.
It’s been six years since that terrible food-less summer, and ten since I began my infamous dance with food, and it’s taken me a very long time to actually — actually — be happy with what I look like. (I wrote about this last summer, but even then, I remember mentally struggling.) Yes, I have shit days. Yes, I have good days. And by all medical standards I’m healthy. But who gives a fuck? I’m telling you, because I like you, and I’m writing this. But in reality, my size doesn’t affect you, just like your size doesn’t affect me. We’re too smart to throw digs at people simply because we have something to say about how they look.
I look how I look. You look how you look. They look how they look. And there are about 25925825 other things we can focus on over shaming me, them, or you about size, shape, or weight. You know, like putting an end to body shaming to begin with. Because that is something much better than a one-liner about sandwiches or how so-and-so has let herself go.
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- hellokaren said: THANK YOU. I mean I’ve decided to lose weight mainly because I want to feel more comfortable wearing what I want to wear, but a small part of me feels the very real pressure from society to always want to be thinner. It’s how we’re conditioned :(
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