In celebration of Women’s day, I would like to talk about something dear to my heart- “Bodyshaming”. Body shaming is the act of negatively judging someone based on their physical appearance. It is an act of bullying in whatever space it occurs- physically or online. Typically, people are body shamed when they appear overweight or underweight, but sometimes because of physical appearance.
Bodyshaming manifests in so many ways that for some people, they actually don’t realize that they are doing it. It could be the little comments or subtle acts. Saying things like:
“You would look so beautiful if you lost weight.”
“There is no way that is going to fit you.”
“You are so fat, look at your thighs!”
“Your body is disgusting.”
I am side eyeing you if you say things like this, either with love or a dash of meanness.
For instance, I always struggle with a response when people meet me either for the first time or after a while and their first comment even before a greeting is “you look big for your age or you have added weight”. Please, kindly tell me how that is a conversation starter or your business?
When you say that, what goes through your mind? Do you stop to think how the person will receive it?
This weight issue has been a constant for me as long as I can remember. Some friends think they are being thoughtful, others think it’s a joke, and well, for family they believe it is from a good place. After all, they only want you to look beautiful. But according to whose standards, who gets to define what beauty is?
Being fat or fatter does not make you unlovable or any less of a human being. I hate that there is so much pressure to be a certain kind of way and look a certain kind of way. Nobody’s future is tied to their weight.
For the body shamers and the weight watchers- the problem is first of all, it is none of your business and also, not every one is in a good mental space to take in such criticism no matter how subtle. I have struggled with feelings of inadequacies because of my weight and have only started feeling comfortable in my skin.
Because I felt so inadequate, I wouldn’t take pictures not because I didn’t want to but I hated most of the pictures. I would look at the pictures after and would not find anything flattering about them. It didn’t help that I feel awkward in front of a camera and would most often, only let my friends take pictures of me. Even then, I still feel uncomfortable.
I remember taking a picture that I really liked and put it up on whatsapp. Someone reached out to ask me if I had lost weight or if it was just the camera angle. I didn’t know what to make of that question, unfortunately my home training did not betray me. Compliment me if you want, but don’t ask me stupid questions as if my weight means anything to you or you are a stakeholder in my life.
It is really simple, if you have nothing to say or the next thing out of your mouth is a snarky comment about someone’s weight, kindly shut up. I promise, it won’t hurt.
Everyone is struggling with something and your comment no matter how helpful you think it to be, may just be what tips the person over the edge. So before you make that snarky comment or say something about your friend’s weight or a stranger’s weight, ask yourself this question, do you really need to? Be kind with your words and and your actions.
Quick reminder, you are beautiful whatever way you look. You just need to see it.
Happy International Women’s day to all the queens out there. Keep shattering ceilings.