Let's talk about body shaming.
But, before I get started let me clear some air. A lot of people, mainly the generations before Millennial's (also known as anyone born between 1975-1995, even though most just consider it 1985-1995), have an issue with us. They say we're whiny, conceited, needy... all terms I see all over the internet trying to define an entire generation. The reality is though that most of us.. we just care a lot. We have hearts too big for the generations before us, who grew up in households where you couldn't have feelings... where crying wasn't really okay... where depression, anxiety and ALL OTHER mental illnesses weren't discussed and some even known. Millennial's are more aware of the world than any generation before us, we grew up surrounded by cartoons and playing outside then flipped 180 degrees to technology, world views, economic faults and constant fear of the unknown often due to knowing a whole lot more. So, why am I starting off a blog about body shaming, with a quick paragraph about how the world views my generation? It's because I'm tired of people assuming that when we, Millennial's, try to voice our opinion we're being whiny. When the reality is, we often just want to show respect for those around us, and we learn a lot more from one another than listening to the 10 o'clock news. We are constantly breaking stigma's... this is just another one that needs addressed again.
So back to body shaming. "What is it?" you may be asking. Well the answer is simply making negative, or condescending remarks, statements or gestures about another person's size, whether too big or too small. Yes, you read that right... this definition INCLUDES when someone is criticized for being too tiny.
As a woman in this society, it often feels like no matter what we do we're seen in a poor light. We wear too much makeup, we're fake, wear none, we don't care. We stand up for what we believe is right, we're bossy. We don't, we're lazy. As someone who is also falls under the category of obesity... this for me is even more true. I struggle all the time with the shame that comes with my body. I'm constantly working towards bettering myself, my strength and my resilience... but I often put school, work and other people in my life above myself. I'm not making excuses... I know that I bring a lot of this onto myself. But, that doesn't mean I should have to walk around feeling guilty about who I am.
Being in college, I'm surrounded by all types of people, it's something I love about the size of the University I go to. We have people of all races, genders, sexualities, religions, abilities, sizes, shapes, and more. But one thing still rings true here and it is something I have been hearing since my freshman year here... and most of my life. And that is the phrase, "I'm so fat." This phrase is what lead me to want to write this blog, it's what fuels my fire, lights me up... It is something that I have heard from almost every single close girl friend and guy friend I have and it breaks my heart, but also deeply hurts me.
This idea is so upsetting to hear. The fact that so many young women and men are often disgusted by their bodies is awful. Our bodies can and will do amazing things for us through our lives, but with mental attitudes about ourselves and our bodies, how are we supposed to thrive? The word fat isn't supposed to be an adjective, it's a noun. It is something our bodies have on them. Women naturally have more than men due to being childbearing. It isn't about defining our bodies by something we have. Mental strength is the key often to being the person we all strive to be in the world, but when we see ourselves and define ourselves with a word that has come to have such negative connotations with it, how are we supposed to shine?
The phrase, "I'm so fat" not only breaks my heart to hear... it also hurts me and others mentally. When someone I love who weighs less than me, is a smaller pants size than me, has more muscle than me, says that... I automatically look back at myself with a mirror. My internal dialogue changes and turns from positivity to: Well if they think that they are fat, I must be a monster. I must be enormous, I must be disgusting... The list can go on and on. How some of these women and men can think this about themselves sucks. It sucks because they don't think about who's around them when they say it, but is is even worse that no matter how healthy they are, they still strive to be less or more.
So much of this is fueled by the media and how it portrays the ideal body to be for women and men. I wrote about that exact issue on an old blog which can be found here.
The point of this blog isn't to make people feel bad for me or to stop want to change how you look... the point is to be aware that there is another way to approach it, a more positive and self-loving way. A way that makes you and all those around you stronger.
I wake up every morning to a lipstick stained mirror that reads, "I am more than a number." And I am... the scale will never tell me how loved I am, how successful I will be, what I have accomplished. It only tells me my body's relative mass in relation to gravity.
So let's stop posting photos shaming those smaller than us, having entire segments on the fat people on video shows, focusing on the number on the scale, and let's change the conversation. I want to hear how strong you are. How much effort you have. How loved you are. That's what matters in this world. If you absolutely are struggling with how you look, swing it to a positive note. Say, "I can do better", "I will be stronger" or, "I want to be healthier."
Let's stop shaming one another by insulting ourselves and start encouraging each other to do more.
That's all I have for you tonight. Leave your thoughts below or tell me about your successes stories!