Body image. Positive, negative, insecure, confident.
It’s easy to be hurt by what others say about your particular shape and size, and decide to bash on the complete opposite of it.
“Well, at least I’m not gross and fat. I’m skinny and I like it!”
“At least you can’t see my bones through my skin. I’m curvy and beautiful!”
Let’s rewind, people.
Who ever said that anyone’s shape, size, build, or status of being “fat” or “skinny” was anyone’s business but their own?
All of my life, I’ve been considered “skinny”, always called pet names that referred to this state. My mother has always told me I have the “perfect body” (that could spark a whole other conversation about what the definition of that is). I’ve also been this way naturally: I am in no way physically fit, the only time I feel I ever have been is when I was in college and climbing hills/walking everywhere I went. I also went through a period of time of being marginally depressed where my weight dropped from its normal 140ish range to around 120, and many people noticed a difference. Receiving comments that I was “too skinny” is not something you want to hear, even though in our society that could be perceived as a positive statement. Recently, I’ve been gaining my weight back and more. I stepped on the scale at a friend’s house for the first time in a long time, and had a split second thought of horror at seeing “150”. And that really should not matter, not even a bit. I should eat healthier, and exercise more, but my weight really shouldn’t drive that motivation. It was the first time I’ve ever had that sudden burst of motivation and I don’t like it. What’s wrong with gaining a few pounds?
I have a friend that I spent a lot of time with in college. She is about the same height as me, but has a totally different body shape. She has the curves and big hourglass shape, the baby doll face with bright blue eyes, the definition of a buxom blonde. The problem was the verbal self-esteem destroyers that she got when she was young. She constantly tried to eat better or exercise more to combat the weight and build she’s born with. In turn, she’d also criticize or use sarcasm to break down my esteem about my body, just because I happen to be thinner than she is. “Well of COURSE that looks great on you!” It would make me less willing to go shopping with her or spend time with her, because it was constant negativity about herself and then sometimes putting that same negativity on me because she is hurt by what others have said to her.
Why should any of this happen? Why should any of us try to make ourselves feel better by tearing down other people, no matter what shape or size they are? How can you see through someone who looks bigger than you and tell if they are healthy or not?
It’s 2013. We need to stop bashing each other. Stop generalizing based on looks. Are we really still doing this?
Tell people what you appreciate about them. It’s nice to compliment them on their beauty or looks, but look deeper and compliment them on their talent for singing, or how kind they are to others, or how good they are with animals. Stop assuming someone is “anorexic” or “eats too much and never exercises” because you never know what that person is going through and how they are (or are not) dealing with it. We come in all shapes and sizes, and we all deserve respect and for people to mind their own business about what we look like.
I’m starting with me, because I have certainly been guilty of this in the past. I’m trying not to generalize people or assume that they have problems or don’t have problems. We all do. We all could probably be a little healthier, no matter what we look like.
What do you think about this issue? What suggestions do you have for how we can be kinder to each other about this, among other things? Have any stories to share?