Even though tons of us rebels maintain that live-and-let-live mentality, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that we’re all guilty of judging and body shaming someone at least once in our lifetime. Whether you’ve cackled with your girlfriend about someone’s “crazy” party dress or you keep all of your critical remarks in your head and laugh about a stranger’s look to yourself, let’s knock it off….finally. Body shaming is uncool and wrong.
But first – in order for us to get to the root of the problem – we need to understand why we are obsessed with having a "perfect" body. And why we feel the need to be an authority on someone else’s choices.
The media is a major source of our altered perspective on beauty – entertainment media to be exact. The celebrity phenomenon of our country has influenced our minds to a point that our view of beauty and style is becoming more and more based on superficiality. We not only put extra pressure on ourselves to look perfect, we are holding other women we don’t even know to unrealistic expectations. That’s pretty nutty when you truly think about it!
Who are you to judge a heavy-set woman who wears skintight leather leggings? Do you really have the authority to look at an extra-thin women and assume she has an eating disorder simply because she is much smaller than you?
The problem is that, as a whole, we seem to feel that there is some sort of justification for body shaming another woman simply because we believe she used poor judgment in her outfit. To judge another person’s choice in style, based on her size/ shape and how she carries herself, is actually unjustifiable. Then there’s that whole “Well, why would she dare wear that outfit to a baby shower?!? I mean, have some class.” Sure, the concept of “dressing appropriately” to an occasion does hold merit, because it is more of an issue with understanding the rules of etiquette and fashion. That can be learned.
But as a whole, we value the concept of perfectionism way too much. Why are we collectively obsessed with the concept of being the perfect size and shape? What is that anyway? And why do we assume that everyone wants to make the same statement when they walk in the room?
In order for women to accept and support one another’s differences, we must understand that words are powerful in every type of environment. Because ultimately, how you praise another chick or how you put her down is only a reflection of your own insecurity or jealousy:
You do not need to throw negatives onto someone in order for your positives to shine – and that lesson needs to be learned not only in corporate fashion offices – but in bars, and on streets, and on the internet. Stop comparing yourself to others. Accept what you have, do the best with it – and help others to do the same. Lift other women up and you will be lifted up in the process.
We live in a world that often feels unbalanced and unequal. From racism and sexism to ageism and homophobia, is there really room for petty criticism and body shaming in our society?! Just because you don’t necessarily “agree” with another woman’s appearance, fashion choice, shape, and/or size – and how she works in everything together – doesn’t mean you are the know-all regarding what is “right” or “soooo wrong.”
Remember: We all have unique tastes and the right to express ourselves as we wish. So let’s live and let live – and do so in kindness.
Have you ever experienced body shaming? What was your experience like? Feel free to share in a comment below!
Cover image courtesy of: www.buzzfeed.com