Today I’m going to address a topic that none of us are strangers to. I’m going to shed some light on it because it’s an issue that I’m really passionate about putting an end to. Body shaming happens everyday all over the world. While it is very prominent in the fashion world, the industry is not the only culprit of body shaming. Girls and guys do it to each other everyday. A lot of people think that body shaming only affects women but the truth is, it is a problem with men as well. Men feel like they have to be all bulk and muscle and it takes a toll on their self esteem when they can’t build muscle fast enough or can’t manipulate their bodies to meet unrealistic standards. When they can’t meet other people’s expectations of “fit” they’re written off and called lazy or told they’re not trying hard enough.
While men do experience body shaming, women are more susceptible to it. We are told everyday that we need to be thinner or more fit or need to try this new “super food”(which to me seems like another fad, but I digress) or that new diet. We’re bombarded with hundreds of commercials advertising weight loss supplements and clothes to make us look thinner. Studies show that girls begin to have body image issues at the age of 10! That is disgusting. Eating disorders have escalated exponentially over the past few years and continue to do so. Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents. In some drastic cases, body shaming has even led to suicide. It’s devastating, but it’s the harsh reality.
The fashion industry can be blamed for a lot of body shaming and setting standards for modern beauty but the root of the problem is that we buy into it! We can’t blame the fashion industry for setting unrealistic standards when we try to abide by those standards. We look down on people who don’t have perfectly toned arms, legs, and abs and aren’t cellulite free (psssst, news flash, even models have cellulite). We make backhanded comments about people’s weight and large clothing sizes and we tear each other down to make ourselves feel better about our own insecurities.
Body shaming isn’t just an issue for curvy girls. It also affects thinner girls. Sometimes, you can actually be too thin! How’s that for a plot twist. We just can’t win! I used to be called anorexic when I was younger and teased because I was “too thin”. I was told I needed to put some meat on my bones and it really bothered me. People don’t realize that that’s body shaming too. Just because I wasn’t being called fat doesn’t mean it didn’t sting and it affected my body image. It’s a vicious cycle.
We can’t put an end to body shaming if we let our own actions be driven by other people’s standards. The first step to diminishing this awful issue is loving ourselves the way we were made. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but people are all kinds of shapes and builds and there is no one ideal look or shape. We are all beautiful human beings and were created to be exactly the way we are. We don’t need to be models or movie stars. Even models aren’t being models anymore in France! This news gave me so much joy. France has made it illegal for models to be unhealthily (is that a word?) thin. Models must present a doctor’s note verifying that they are a healthy weight when applying for modeling jobs. Employers who break the law could be subject to a fine of 75,000 euros ($82,000) and six months in jail. France has taken a step in the right direction to protect models from eating disorders and trying to put an end to an unrealistic body image.
I’ll leave you with this verse,
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
We were made just the way God wants us to be. No changes necessary. Go out there and be your gorgeous selves!!!