Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Body Shaming

I recently came across an article entitled "How Your Body Image Affects Your Daughter's Self-Esteem" . The article mentions this Dove commercial:

Both are worth checking out (especially the commercial... kids with British accents sound so cute), but for you lazies out there: The way you talk about and treat yourself has an influence on the way those who look up to you view themselves.

Now, let's talk about the recent onslaught of nude celebrity photographs that have popped up all over the internet. Kim Kardashian's butt, her sister Kourtney's pregnant body, and Madonna's topless photos. If you haven't seen these pictures... I'm not posting them here, so you can use The Google to look them up yourself.

What I would like you to do, if you do view them, is look at the comments in the articles where the pictures can be found. I guarantee you will see comments along the lines of, "EW gross," "Nobody wants to see old lady boobs," "Her ass is way too big," "She looks way better than her sister," and "I don't know why anyone would show that off."

Can we all PLEASE STOP BODY SHAMING? Stop shaming your own body, stop shaming the bodies of celebrities, stop shaming the bodies of your children. I am not telling you to be okay with nude pictures being plastered for the world to see. If you think that is inappropriate or immoral, okay. But if you think telling Kim Kardshian that her huge ass is disgusting is only affecting Kim, or no one at all, you are sorely mistaken.

The things we say about each other's bodies, and our own bodies, have a much bigger impact on children than you might realize, and it can create a life-long cycle of self-esteem issues. I can still remember the first time I ever heard the term "husky" used to mean chunky. I was in first grade. A mom had said it to her other mom friend about a little girl. I am sure the mom never realized the impact her gossip had on the children who could overhear her, but the next week, one of the boys called ME husky. I wonder where he learned that? I cried. As silly as it might sound to you, that moment was probably the first time I ever looked at myself and saw something wrong with my body instead of just seeing legs that danced and arms that threw footballs. Add the media's increasing influence as I got older, plus other girls and women body shaming themselves, and you have a recipe for body-image disaster. Sadly, I am far from being the only one who has a story like this to tell.

Idealizing any one type of body can have a horrible affect on the kids who see and hear about it. Many people believe it is inappropriate to call someone fat, but calling someone "too skinny" can be just as hurtful. Saying Kim's butt is huge and disgusting sends this message: "Your butt is ugly if you have a butt that looks like Kim Kardashian's." Saying that Kourtney's pregnant body is gross sends the message that women look gross when they are pregnant. Saying that no one wants to see Madonna's old boobs sends a message that you can't be beautiful when you reach a certain age. Now, if you are a woman reading this, are YOU okay with that? Don't YOU still want to feel beautiful, even if your body is starting to age? You should, because you CAN be beautiful at any age, weight, and shape. You don't need to be completely ripped, or curvy, or NOT curvy. You just need to be you.

I try to stay away from provocative topics, because I really am not trying to stir up trouble. I just think it is very important for people to be kinder to each other. The internet is a scary place, and it is easy to hide behind a screen and fling insults at each other. It is also easy to criticize ourselves, because we see the flaws that other people don't see in us. But these words and actions have an impact on the people who look up to us, even if your criticism has nothing to do with them. I am going to make an extra effort to stop body shaming myself. The cycle needs to end here and now.

Keep the future generations in mind in all that you do. If you want the world to change, it needs to start with you.

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