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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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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I Don't Have To Wear Makeup To Be Beautiful

You don't have to, either.

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For about as long as modern makeup/cosmetics/skincare brands have been around, the notion that women have to use any of these cosmetic products to be considered "beautiful" has also been around.

(If you've read my earlier article about red lipstick giving me my confidence back, you would know that I absolutely adore certain skincare/makeup products.)

However, I personally don't believe that I need to wear any kind of makeup to be considered "beautiful." And you don't, either.

I think that we, as a society, have seriously overvalued aesthetic beauty and undervalued the beauty that comes from being a decent, honest, genuine, and kind person. I believe that while makeup has an incredible and transformation-giving effect on women, (and men too, just for the record), that none of us honestly should depend on x, y, and z products to make us feel that we are beautiful, or that our self worth and sense of self should be tied up in how many likes a selfie of us in a full face of makeup get.

And quite frankly, there is so much to love about our makeup free, naturally glowing skin that so many of us hide, simply because society would love to tell us that we're not beautiful, or pretty, or worth very much at all if we don't use [insert new trendy skincare product here].

Well, excuse my French, but I'm calling bull.

It's not okay for any of us to think of ourselves as less than, simply because we're not following those crazy and crappy societal trends. In a culture where "Instagram perfect" pictures are the ideal that every woman, or man, is expected to look up to, I'd say it's pretty revolutionary to dare to bare a fresh-faced look.

No one has to ever feel the need to compulsively put on makeup to be considered "beautiful."

Because, in all reality, makeup can't measure the kind of person you are.

Makeup/skincare products can't measure your kindness, your generosity, your bravery in the face of adversity, or any other kickass quality that you might have. Makeup can't do that; only what's inside of you, if brought out for the world to see, can do that. And yes, I'm well aware of how cliché and "junior high preachy" that sounds.

So, I hope this article will possibly spark some introspective thoughts on what beauty means to you. I hope you start to think about the fact that who you are as a person is not defined by how "attractive" or "beautiful" someone else might tell you you are.

You define who you are as a person, nobody else has that power.

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