Body Shaming (or “B.S.” for Short): Part 1

Disclaimer:  Women are not the only ones who are faced with body shaming, men also struggle with this.  Women are not the only ones who struggle with eating disorders, men do as well.  This is NOT strictly a women’s topic, but since I’m a women, I will be telling it from a female’s perspective.

In 2014, a song entitled, “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor hit the radio and became a success overnight.  I first heard about it on Facebook and I Youtubed it and was annoyed.  Honestly, the tune is catchy, and very popish, which is typical nowadays.  And kudos for calling out Photo Shopping!  I definitely give a high rating for even attempting to tackle the topic.  It’s definitely something that needs to be addressed in our society.  However, outside of those two things, I am greatly annoyed with the song.

First of all, why is it that the only way we can justify our size is by shaming the opposite?  The bass shame the treble, and the treble shame the bass.  Trainor claims she wasn’t skinny shaming, but I wonder exactly how one is supposed to appreciate being referred to as a “skinny b*tch”.  Secondly, the reason not to worry about size is because men like a little more booty to hold at night.  Really?  Wow!  Can we say, “objectifying”?  That is NOT okay in my book, at all!

According to “Stuff Mom Never Told You” Youtube channel, the reason why there are such extremes on either end of the spectrum is because it is surrounded by the concept of will power. Women who are bigger are accused of not having enough will power.  Women who are skinny are accused of caring too much.  There are some serious problems in this stereotype.

I decided to do a quick Google search on what The Bible had to say about body shaming.  I didn’t find anything on this particular topic.  What I did find was that people equate gluttony with being overweight, which wasn’t surprising to me at all, however, I did find it disappointing.  People of all sizes can struggle with gluttony, the scale holds no evidence of this at all!  There are various reasons as to why a person is a certain weight, and it is NOT limited (whatsoever) to their diet.  So let’s just slaughter that myth and keep going.

Weight is not the only body shaming that takes place.  Men can be stigmatized for being too short, while women can be stigmatized for being too tall.  Pretty girls can be stigmatized as being ditzy…so on and so forth…   The interesting part is that we constantly quote how our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19-20), and then disrespect our own and each other’s bodies by shaming how we look.  One HUGE double standard in our Christian world.

They say confession is good for the soul, so here I go… Most mornings, while getting ready for work, I listen to “Try” by Colbie Caillat.  I first heard this song late last year, and the first time I heard it, I was like, “YES!”  What I appreciate about this song is that it asks the question, “Who are you doing all this for?  Are we doing it in order for people to like you, or is it because you like to doing it?”  I think this is the key question that needs to be asked, and validated more often.  If we are doing it to be healthy and to feel better, then we will be happy and feel better no matter what.  If we are merely doing something to avoid shame, will it really be better in the end?

A few years ago, a couple of my friends and I were having lunch together.  One of my friends had lost a lot of weight recently, and when I say a lot, it was close to 80 lbs.  She looked healthy and happy, and was proud of her recent accomplishment. The three of us had a good conversation over the meal.  When it came time for dessert, I passed because I was full from the meal, and my friend being on a diet passed, and so our mutual friend snidely announced, “Well, I’m going to get dessert.  I’m not afraid of being fat like some people.”

As she left the table to go get dessert, my other friend and I were left sitting in an awkward silence.  After a few seconds, she said with awed disgust, “Wow!  So this is what it feels like to be skinny.”

“Yep,” I said, “welcome to the club.  I tell people all the time that you get just as much crap for being skinny as you do for being overweight.  Nobody ever believes me though.  I just get told, ‘You’re skinny.  You don’t get it.’  But the truth is no matter what weight a girl is, it’s the wrong weight.  We all ‘get it’.  Either, she’s skinny and constantly told she’s anorexic and needs to get some meat on her bones, or she’s overweight and accused of being a pig and eating all of her feelings.  You honestly can’t win.”

My friend went on to say something really profound, that I’ll never forget.  “This is the skinniest I’ve ever been in my life.  I always thought it would be better.  I guess it’s just one of those things that you think ‘if only I was like this my life would be better’ and then you achieve it and you realize it doesn’t change anything at all.”

This is extremely true, and not just in the sense of weight, it can be anything we strive for in our lives for whatever out-of-this-world reason society promises us.  It’s really crazy.  And the older I get, the more I realize, it’s wiser to just be happy in my own skin.  Running after whatever the shame tells us to, is futile and useless.

We also need to wake up and realize when we are shaming others, because this needs to stop.  Especially if it’s female to female or male to male.  If our own gender mocks it, then we are readily justifying the other gender to mock it as well.

A little less than a year ago, a group of us had traveled to Israel.  After an evening of walking around with some locals, we were discussing the experience.  In the midst of that conversation she said, “Really, no matter where you go or who you meet, all people really want only two things: love and acceptance.”  That has stuck with me.  And when we body shame one another we do not show love and acceptance towards one another.

So, maybe it’s time we acknowledge that the body we’re in is the body we’re in.  Let’s stop trying to do it all in hopes of being loved and accepted.  Let’s ask why we do what we do, and do whatever it is for ourselves.  And most importantly, let’s stop shaming the other, because really friends… that’s B.S.

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