“You’re getting fat.”
“You’re so skinny.”
“You work out too much.”
“You don’t work out enough.”
“Get some meat on your bones.”
“Your butt is huge.”
“She’s so tiny.”
“That baby needs to eat.”
“She’s nothing but skin and bones.”
These are all words I’ve actually experienced and have been addressed with as a woman and mother. Now before I get started, let me just say that I am as mentally strong as an elephant’s stomp, but this is something that has been grinding my gears more now than ever because it’s already happening with my kids. It is not okay to tell someone they are skinny unless of course, you are okay with being responded to with “and you’re so fat” because I promise you that’s where my next response is headed (only in my thoughts of course or else I’d be a hypocrite). Just mind your own damn body!!
According to the urban dictionary, body shaming is defined as the act of making critical or potentially humiliating comments about a person’s body size or weight. So people who are overweight, underweight or normal weight can be body shamed. The media has its way of intensifying body shaming by exposure to photoshopped images and bodies that are ideal but totally unrealistic. I mean come on, take a look at the influx of public figures undergoing surgery to correct a surgery they previously had done to make their bodies look a certain way. We must be in tune with our own bodies. Explore your body, get to know your body, and come to the realization that they come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Learn to love your body.
“Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are”.Ellen DeGeneres
Do not compare your body to anyone else’s and focus on being HEALTHY rather than looking the way society thinks you should. Do not allow the retouched images in the media give you a false sense of perfection, causing you to hate your own body.
Body Shaming Children
As the mother of two beautiful girls, especially a rising middle schooler, body image, and body shaming are conversations we’ve had numerous times. My 11-year-old is tall and thin, but she’s an athlete. I cannot tell you how many times someone, even family, has had something negative to say about her weight. She’s 11 people, and she eats like a horse, but she is naturally thin. I know I wish I could eat whatever and maintain my goal weight (hell no says aging and slowed down metabolism). I know childhood obesity seems like the norm, but I want to combat it, not contribute to it. I have witnessed my own child make comments about weight and not wanting to get fat. I stress to her the importance of eating for health and how I too was skinny my entire childhood and that it is okay. I try to remind her that weight gain and growing are going to be a part of her development. I also try to watch how I approach my own body goals and fitness goals because kids watch and listen to everything we do and say. I guess I am thankful that at least she is not concerned about what people say about her being “skinny.” I think, for the most part, she has a positive image of herself and I will do my part to reassure her.
This post was actually inspired by the body shaming of an 8-month-old, my 8-month-old. Charli was born 6lb 14oz. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that the average child will have tripled their birth weight by their first birthday. She had her 9 month visit today and is 12lb 4oz meaning she has 3 months to gain 8lb, NOT HAPPENING and I’m okay with that because she’s healthy and developing fine. DISCLAIMER: If you have concerns about your Childs weight, please speak with their healthcare provider so they can review your Childs rate of growth.
Yesterday in the grocery store a woman asked me, “how old is she?” and I knew why she was asking, the same reason everyone else inquired. Here is this baby who looks 3-4 months but is sitting up in a shopping cart, talking, clapping, and so attentive. My response, “take a guess,” she guessed 6 months, and when I told her 9, her response was “she’s so tiny.”
The past few months, I’ve continuously heard how tiny my baby is, how she needs more than just breast milk, etc. that I was actually trying to beat people to the punch when it comes to saying it. Then I thought about it, what the hell am I doing? Why am I doing the exact thing that angers me when others do it? My child may be small, tiny or whatever word you may use to describe her, but most importantly she is healthy, meeting all of her milestones and then some, gaining weight not losing weight, and peeing and pooping just fine. Clearly, genetics play a huge factor in my having small children.
Be Stingy With Your Opinion
You ever had something special and decided to share it with someone only to find out they do not appreciate it the way you do and wish you’d just kept it to yourself and not shared it after all? Well, that is precisely what I would like for you to do with your opinions. Keep them to yourself, be stingy with them sis because we don’t appreciate it, nor do we receive it. Your opinion is yours, so do yourself and us a favor and just keep it. You’re entitled to have it and while I am advising it be kept within, if you decide to share it, just know that you may not get the reaction you expect. We are all human and with any action a reaction follows, so please just mind your own body to avoid a rebuttal about your own.
Instead of expressing an opinion about someone’s body image, whether your opinion is that they are skinny or fat, try promoting health and fitness through your actions. Let’s avoid the body shaming and shift the energy to celebrating women no matter the shape or size. Because beauty is not defined by looks but rather a state of mind. Now please do not confuse this post because there is certainly a such thing as unhealthy weight on both ends of the spectrum.
Body Shaming and Your Mental Space
We just closed out Mental health month last month but let me just say how overly important it is to protect your mental space. Having a negative body image can increase your risk of mental health problems such as depression or even eating disorders. It is so important to have a positive image of your body. This means feeling comfortable in your body and how you look to yourself, not how everyone else sees you. According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, negative body image is a predictor of suicidal thoughts among college students, especially young women. Parents talk with your children about having a positive body image, their self-esteem, and their mental space. Always keep an open line of communication when it comes to situations such as this because they may need your support. If you or anyone you know ever has thoughts of suicide due to negative body image or for any reason, call the national suicide hotline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room. You are not alone. I am here to talk if are in need, click the Lets Go Places tab and complete the form.