This post is written by our ambassador Laura!
Body Shaming. A phrase that you might have seen being branded around in the media. Most frequently the term has been adopted as defence strategy by young female celebs who have been attacked by the mass media for being ‘too thin’. But also the complete opposite – for being too big, having too much cellulite and so on. I mean we all remember when Kim Kardashian was compared to a killer whale on the front cover of almost every newspaper and website known to man don’t we? And when Cheryl Cole was compared to human remains after her X Factor return. The list goes on. “It’s body shaming”, they say in defence.
But worryingly, body shaming is not just experienced by celebrities but by everyday people too. A few weeks ago I heard someone I knew talk about my body in a negative way. These comments had stemmed from them seeing my holiday bikini snaps on Facebook. I immediately became defensive. And then of course, feelings of self-doubt and self-consciousness took over. I began to look at myself in a different way, immediately scrolling through my holiday snaps and deleting any I thought could provoke a similar reaction.
A couple of days later I was watching a reality TV programme with a group of my girl mates. As girls do when they get together for “chill night”, we were watching the programme in between gossiping and prolific Instagram scrolling. “Oooh her boobs are too big for her body”, “She really shouldn’t be wearing that dress with that figure”, “her knees are weird”, “Oh she’s pretty but way too skinny” we said in chorus. Between us, we had criticised nearly every girl’s body on the programme. Then it dawned on me, we have such a casual blasé attitude towards criticising other women’s bodies. For every time we blast someone for their “chubby thighs” and in the next breath praise someone for their “six pack”, we are making it culturally acceptable to put people in categories of good/bad, ugly/pretty, skinny/fat. We see the media do the same thing and then continue ourselves. It’s a vicious cycle. Body shaming is so culturally normal in our society and engrained in our everyday conversations that we don’t even realise we do it.
I guess what I am trying to say is we should be celebrating diversity – women come in all shapes and sizes – and we shouldn’t be made to feel like we aren’t good enough and we certainly shouldn’t make others feel that way. Yes, the media will always promote unhealthy, negative messages about weight and appearance and we will always come across those girls with the perfect bodies on Instagram. But, if we promote body love rather than body shaming amongst each other then I can’t help but think we would all have a lot more self-love and accept ourselves as we are. Compliment rather than criticise other girls, support each other rather than make judgements and most importantly think before you speak (or post). At the end of the day, there is way too much hate out there in the world for us to be adding to it.
Lots of love,