Body shaming is a form of bullying and it comes in many forms. The impact of body shaming is more far reaching than you might think.
As someone who was called a ‘butterface’ from my peers growing up, I can certainly identify with the issue of body shaming. For those that don’t know, ‘butter face’ means that everything looks good ‘but her face’.
I was extremely blessed to grow up in a home that promoted positive body image, was told I was smart, beautiful, could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up, taught to be independent, etc. Very positive home life. I was a tomboy where I had no problem getting dirty, played ball with the boys, and typically didn’t get along with girls even though I tried. Once, I actually beat up a boy because he wouldn’t quit making fun of me and my feelings were so hurt I couldn’t take it anymore. THAT however, is a totally different story…
Growing up, I was very fit and athletic and didn’t wear a lot of makeup. Very often, people would say that she’s a ‘butterface’. That has stuck in my mind forever and even at 28 years old, sometimes I still struggle with it.
What’s my point? My point is THIS:
Body shaming can come in many forms and the bottom line is that it is bullying and it MUST STOP.
As defined by the Oxford Dictionary: Body shaming is “The action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.”
Notice with me that the definition does not say “making fun of someone for being too big”. Body shaming can absolutely be someone making fun of someone else for being too big. However, you can also body shame someone by telling them they’re too skinny, or that a muscular girl looks like a boy, or that girl is gross because she has too many muscles, or that her butt is flat, or it’s too round… The list goes on and we’ve all heard it before.
Since when did it ever become okay to make fun of someone for the way they look? Never! There are just platforms now that allow the cowards to do it and hide behind a computer screen or their phone. It HAS to end. I have seen some of the most fit and healthy women in the world (they have the titles to prove it) get made fun of for the way they are shaped. I have also seen the person who is desperately trying to lose the weight that is making them unhealthy get made fun of for “being fat”.
People are shaped differently. Period. There’s no two ways about it and to expect everyone to look the same is absolutely insane.
Obviously, I am a health and fitness blogger so I promote exactly that; health and fitness. Healthy, however, does not equal skinny which I’ve talked about before as you can see in this other blog post (click here to read).
What do we do about body shaming?
On one hand, I want to reach through the screen and knock out the person that is making fun at someone’s expense. On the other hand, I pity them, because they obviously have a pain or have had a pain in their life that causes them to lash out at others.
My mama always said: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”. We all need to live by such rules.
Change starts with you and me.
This world has too much meanness in it. Be kind to others and say kind things. It can be hard to not rise to the occasion like I did in 6th grade when I beat the tar out of that boy. Yes, I won, make no mistake that I beat his butt. Was that the best thing to do? Maybe, maybe not, even though he left me alone after that.
However, real life doesn’t work like that. Everyday life is not a school yard skirmish and things are on a much grander scale.
If you see a picture on Social Media of someone that you think is too big, too small, or whatever; here’s a novel idea…. say something kind to them or don’t say anything & simply move on with your life. Don’t be a coward and say something mean behind a screen then virtually run away. That person will remember it.
Every piece of armor has a weak spot and a lot of times words pierce the tough exterior.
Stop the body shaming.
Show kindness. Love others. Have Courage. You are loved more than you may know.