by Megan Stubbs
With so much entertainment and advertising showing us a reality that few have or can come by, it’s no wonder that only 24 percent of American women feel confident in their bodies. But it might be surprising to note that one of the most significant contributing factors to fat-shaming comes from those closest to them: friends and family. Fat shaming is the action or practice of humiliating someone judged to be overweight by making critical comments about their size.
Do you ever recall hearing clothing rules like “Don’t go sleeveless if you have big arms?”, “Crop tops aren’t for fat people?”, or “Strapless is for people with C cups and smaller?” These fashion “rules” and more have been perpetuated in our society for years.
Many times our fear doesn’t come from the clothing itself but rather from an insecurity or self-perceived flaw. In a world that is already asking us to take up less space, not allowing us to wear what we want is going too far. Your body is not an apology, and you deserve to show as much or as little as you want.
We are often our own harshest critics, and our inner monologue can get pretty loud. Silence that inner critic and revel in all that you are. If the language in your head isn’t kind, imagine that voice speaking to your best friend. Would you allow those kinds of comments to be said about them? Chances are, no, so keep the same standard for yourself.
And is fat really the worst thing you can be? J.K. Rowling doesn’t think so: “’Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her. I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.”
Happiness, success and sexuality are not things that only skinny people get to experience. If we hold physical form (a thin one) and the qualification of the right kind of body, we are alienating a gigantic portion of the population from believing that they deserve the fundamental human rights mentioned above. And surprise, everyone is worthy and deserving regardless of what they look like.
Become a critical viewer of advertisements and slogans targeted toward you. For example, consider the ridiculous “get a bikini body” promotions. Do you have a body? Good, then you have a bikini body! If you don’t like what the company is trying to advertise to you, say something. With the power of social media and the connectedness we have from the Internet, chances are there is someone, or a group of people out there who feel the same way.
Be mindful about the way you talk about your body to others. This is essential for women. We are often the most critical of ourselves and seem to have no problem saying negative statements that degrade our looks. Regardless of whether it is a sarcastic statement, you never know who is listening, and the most affected listeners are younger women. You may not know all of the people who look up to you, and to a young admirer, phrases like that can be damaging.
Surround yourself with supportive and loving people. It can sometimes be a daunting task to live up to what we think society is asking from us, and having a great support system will help put you at ease. The people around you love and support you because they see the things that strangers can’t with only their eyes.
Once you start to unlearn the messages you have been fed by society, you will find yourself more confident and happy; and your happiness is more important than what other people think about