13 Body-Shaming Behaviors We All Need To Stop

13 Body-Shaming Behaviors We All Need To Stop

My body may be a temple, but I am the god to whom it is devoted; do not presume to tell me how I may decorate my alter.

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It's 2019, are we seriously still body shaming each other? The answer is yes, body shaming is everywhere both in discreet and obvious forms. While things like body positivity and self love are on the rise, we still have not left the negative opinions and ingrained shaming behaviors behind. Body shaming involves humiliating someone for how they look or judging someone based on their appearance, and while we have stopped the obvious forms such as calling someone "fat" or telling someone they're "ugly," there are many other ways of body shaming that plague us.

1. Skinny-shaming

There are many reasons a person could be skinny; they could have a fast metabolism, be super athletic, have suffered from an illness, or have an eating disorder, among other things. There are so many different body types out there, it would be insane for us to think that we can all look like each other. Just like you should not shame someone for being a little on the heavier side, you shouldn't shame someone for being on the lighter side either. You never know what the reason for how someone looks, so keep your negative opinions on it to yourself.

2. Indulgence-shaming

The amount of times I have heard women in my family say "a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips" is absurd. Or the way we admire someone for refusing desert as if that makes them a better person. There is nothing wrong with having a slice of cake, or a glass of wine, or an ice cream cone; anything is okay within moderation. There's nothing wrong with refusing desert, that is a person's own choice, but do not frown upon someone who decides they want a cookie after dinner.

3. "Real women have curves"

I know that this is meant to be body positive towards women who are curvier, and there is nothing wrong with trying to promote that, but saying it like this disregards every other body type there is. All women are real women; there is no one specific image that encompasses that. There are better ways to promote a body positive movement.

4. Wearing makeup vs. not wearing makeup

There's nothing wrong with wearing make up and there's nothing wrong with choosing to not wear makeup; it's a personal choice. People wear makeup for all different kinds of reasons: for fun, they like how it looks, etc. Wearing makeup does not make someone more or less professional looking and not wearing make up does not make someone a better or worse person. This is entirely up to the person wearing (or not wearing) the makeup; they are the only person who is allowed to have an opinion on what goes on their face.

5. "You're hot for a ______ "

This form of body shaming really needs to stop. Telling someone they're hot for a certain ethnicity, height, weight, or any other trait is not seen as a compliment. You're telling a person that they are only attractive when compared to a specific group of people and that because they are a member of that group, you were expecting them to be unattractive. Instead of this, tell someone they look great or that they're beautiful.

6. Idolizing specific body types

It's estimated that only 5% of people have body types similar to those often portrayed in the media; that leaves 95% of people unrepresented in the public eye. Idolizing a certain body type is nothing new; it has been occurring for centuries. During the renaissance, a fuller figure with pale skin was idolized as a symbol of wealth and beauty, in the 1920s, having a "boyish" androgynous look was in style, in the 1940s, Marilyn Monroe's hourglass figure took the world by storm, and then there was the "heroin chic" of the 1990s. We have to stop doing this because it tells anyone who does not fit the mold of the ideal that they are not as significant.

7. Judging others for "conforming" to societal norms regarding appearance

Pressure to conform to society's norms when it comes to appearance is immense, however, we need to stop shaming those who do. If the media says that today's trend is to get a bob haircut with blond highlights and your friend decides to do just that, tell her it looks good and leave her be. Maybe she likes her hair like that but had never thought of it before she saw it in the media. Conforming to societal norms does not make someone a bad person; there's a reason trends like the "lob" and beach waves are popular: people like how they look. What does it matter to you what someone else chooses to do with their appearance?

8. Defining beauty as a look rather than a state of mind

You could get all the plastic surgery in the world and have the closet of a queen, but if you don't feel beautiful on the inside, none of that is going to help you. Beauty is a state of mind; it is being comfortable and happy with yourself. Beautiful has no specific look; but it does have a specific feeling; the feeling of loving yourself, and if getting a nose job will make you feel good on the inside as well as the outside then go for it. We need to start promoting beauty as a state of being rather than as an outer appearance.

9. Comparing someone's body to a food item

Calling someone's stomach area a "muffin top" implies that it is round and puffy, and telling someone that they're body is pear-shaped immediately puts them into a box that will feel stuck in. Abs are fantastic and great for you if you have them, but just because you don't doesn't mean you should be reduced to the description of a baked good. We often times do this to ourselves, we call our midsections a "muffin top" or say that we look like a potato or a puffy donut; not only should we stop comparing other people's bodies to food items, we should stop comparing ourselves to them too.

10. Spreading "body trends" on social media

Thigh gap, ab crack, bikini bridge, toblerone tunnels, a4 paper craze, ribcage bragging--it all needs to stop. There is nothing wrong with showing off your body in whatever way you choose to, but do not promote certain "trends." On instagram there are over 50K posts with #thighgap tagged and over 35K with #bikinibridge tagged. There is no one specific type of body that we should all be conforming to, don't start a following for trends that could be potentially dangerous for some people to achieve. The only "trend" we should be spreading is #bodypositivity which shows love for all bodies.

11. Judging someone based on what they are wearing

Just because a person chooses to show no skin does not make them a "prude" or "no fun" just as showing skin does not make someone a "slut" or "asking for it" or "need to cover up." If someone is aroused by a shoulder or a foot or a mid drift, that is something they need to address within themselves; that is not the fault of the person wearing the article of clothing that shows that body part. A person wanting to show off their body does not make them any less of a person than someone who chooses to cover their body entirely and vice versa. My body may be a temple, but I am the god to whom it is devoted; do not presume to tell me how I may decorate my alter.

12. Criticizing someone for having plastic surgery done

If getting a nose job or a boob job or a face lift makes someone else feel better about themselves, then let them be. The only reason to stop someone from getting plastic surgery is if they are doing it to please anyone other than themselves. Just like with makeup, it is entirely an individual's choice with if they want to have none, a little, or a lot. Some people go their whole life without plastic surgery and they are beautiful and some people go under the knife yearly and they are beautiful too. Stop shaming those that choose to alter their appearance for their own personal reasons.

13. The pressure for women to stay in shape while pregnant and the concept of "pre-baby bodies"

Exercise is great during pregnancy, it keeps you and your baby healthy, but within moderation. Women--particularly those in the third trimester--are not supposed to be doing heavy activity while pregnant. Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal and in fact healthy; it means that you are taking in enough nutrients for yourself and your baby and that you are growing a healthy child. Staying fit while pregnant is perfectly fine, but it also okay to kick back on the couch with a burrito. You are growing a tiny human inside of you, you're not expected to have a six pack while your body is under that much stress. Also, the expectations that women must return completely to how they looked before pregnancy is absurd. The female body is under extreme amounts of stress and undergoes extraordinary changes during pregnancy, it will likely never be completely the same after giving birth which makes this "pre-baby body" standard all the more insane.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Celebrating 1 Year Sober

Self-harm free is a better me.

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This has truly been a challenging year for me. I have literally hit my rock bottom and tried to end it all. Eventually, I found my way out of the dark side through a week-long stay in a psychiatric unit.

This year has made me feel weak, small, empty, forgotten, unloved, and immensely broken.

But I made it.

I didn't try to end my life nor make myself feel pain for one whole year. Before this breakdown, I hadn't self-harmed in nearly six years, but sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom to realize you need help.

Getting better and keeping myself safe from me was not an easy job. The first six months, I literally fooled myself into thinking that I was doing better. I got out of the hospital and said, "I'm healed. I'm better. I don't need the medicine, and I don't need the therapy. I'm fixed."

I had convinced myself that a week-long stay in the hospital was a fix-all.

I was wrong.

Fighting mental illness is not something that can be solved in a day, week, month, or even a year. This is going to be a battle that I will have for the rest of my life. I will need a therapist for most of my life if I want to stay on the wagon, and I've finally accepted it.

I'm very thankful for my support system, the people who stayed there and continued to help me understand why I deserved to feel better about myself. While the people who only cared for a day thought they were helping, it really made me feel more alone once they left again.

So, a true extra thank you to the people that were amazing enough to stay by my side through the worst times of my life.

I strongly encourage anyone struggling with self-harm to seek the help they need. One of the biggest motivators for me was that I didn't want my younger siblings or cousins to have to attend a memorial or funeral for me. I try to set an example for them, and the best example I've done so far is getting the help I desperately needed.

One year self-harm free and many more to come.

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