The body shaming discussion is well and truly open, isn't it? Although there are positives from this (an opportunity for society to promote health, the reminder that we can and should help our loved ones [and others too] out if they need to take a better route down the Health Road, and the confirmation that if we want or need to kindly sit our loved ones down or kindly suggest to the world that their health must improve, we totally can!), the discussion has turned quite violent. There seems to be two big, big "sides" to the discussion. The "No Body Shaming Ever" side and the "Let's Body Shame if it Helps." The latter I think really has other segments where it is ignorantly okay (it is not okay) to actually use the discussion to be "funny" (it will never be funny to use someone's weight, appearance and health to "get a laugh." Never.) or to categorise people in one bracket, make a bunch of ignorant assumptions and also apparently it gives people the "right" to appear so much better than others that they can rudely let everyone know what they're doing badly. Maybe you could say another side is that people fear healthily suggesting to others that they should make a change... This isn't good either. Either way, body shaming... It needs to stop.
If it's not obvious already, I'm on the "No Body Shaming Ever" side so you're getting, today, a very bias post. I will never apologise for this. I can't encapsulate all of my thoughts into this post because it will become too long and the only point (with a few reasons why I believe this) I want to be taken away from this is this:
Body shaming is not okay. It is bad to shame someone if they are overweight; it is bad to shame someone if they are underweight; it is bad to shame someone if they are anywhere in between. There will always be a massive difference between kindly suggesting and encouraging (with the appropriate amount of urgency) someone to change their lifestyle and shaming someone for whatever it is that they need to change for better health.
Okay, that turned out to be a lot longer than I thought. There's more to it, sure. But that is the main point. And here are some thoughts lacking coherency but here we go.
Sadly, too many of us have had or are having or will have times (whether they stay for a short amount of time or much longer) where we don't like our appearance- for the sake of this post, our weight and our body shapes and all of the bits and bobs in between that relate to this side of the appearance thing.* There are still times when I get a bit "meh" but I currently have a very good mindset that means I can attack any problems appropriately and know that I can always change in a healthy way. At times I could feel really rubbishy. And do you know the last thing I would have needed? To have this "fat shaming" thing even to have existed quite as much as it does now when I was insecure, and worst of all, have it directly affect my life (i.e. someone to call me out on anything). Luckily I never did experience this and I always had the knowledge in my mind that I was healthy. This is always the first thought that comforts my "meh" times. But the world is cruel and I've watched perfectly healthy people (really healthy people) be affected by all sorts of phenomena that fall under this "fat shaming" thing. And that doesn't make it right for unhealthy people to be attacked by this ugly movement. It makes it equally as wrong because you know what, we are trying so hard to be equals, aren't we? Whilst I was healthy, there were parts of my tummy I didn't like and could healthily change - maybe like some of the people I have just mentioned - and had I been called out on it in an aggressive way, it would have destroyed my mindset and my confidence and being protective of younger me, I feel angry for all of the comments other people get (whether they are healthy or not). Why? We are people! We have feelings! We get things wrong and for some people that is lifestyle. It doesn't mean that we, as humans, ever need to be violently attacked with words because "fat shaming is okay." It is not okay.
The consequences of body shaming are ones I know without any research are dangerous- tragic. Unnecessary. A girl at school is "too skinny" so she deserves to know, right? That person is overweight and so we should remind them by staring and whispering, right? Oh my gosh, no, no, no! I don't think people think before they speak in situations like this. What if the consequences are much worse than you could ever imagine? Whether the slim girl at school is healthy or not, or whether the man (the human, not the person defined by their weight) has genuine health issues, it is no one's place to growl cruel words into the world that could end with a girl or a man (or anyone) becoming conscious and alone and scared and sad and oh my gosh, suicidal? Why is that any human's righteous responsibility to cause such distress and utter tragedy?
Body shaming should not exist because there are much more approachable ways to deal with the issue. More importantly, this new thing where it is apparently okay to make jokes on a bigger scale on the internet and such things is just wrong. Jokes to the internet about people's weight (even if they really are supposed to "help"); to a bunch of people you don't know... do I need to spell out what is wrong? We can never even know how even the closest people to us will react, let alone a bunch of people taking in content from the internet. If a hundred people read someone's aggressive body shaming views (if they use jokes or not), it may not bother some at all, it may trigger unnecessary insecurities (and all insecurities suck) and it may attack the vulnerable and make them feel worse than they did before taking in ignorant views. I can't think about every scenario ever (maybe a wife and kids joking with care about the dad's weight will kick start an awesome change of life) but in general everything can be approached with care, especially when it involves people- which all of us are worthy of respect in this area! And it is never acceptable to body shame aggressively and with the attempt to make one look "bigger and better" because it ends up showing the very ugly side of those people.
Granted, this post is a massive "BLAH HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS PLEASE LISTEN I DON'T WANT TO RANT BUT THIS WORLD IS NOT HAPPY AND THIS WORLD IS NOT ACCEPTING AND LOVING PLEASE LISTEN" kind of post and there is much more to say- facts and figures and ways to approach the issues above but here we are. I'm not sure that I've phrased everything how I exactly want but I started this post knowing it is never going to be perfect- as long as my point is put across, I am happy.
So there we go. This is not my most coherent piece but they we have it. Don't body shame; talk kindly and healthily if action needs or should be taken.
Care & Motivation,
The Girl in the Moonlight.
*All I want is for the whole world to become more accepting of ourselves- to compliment ourselves when we should and take appropriate and healthy action when we need to!