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.
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.
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.