"She should not be wearing that." "Her ass is too big." "You can see her stomach rolls, ew." "She's too thin she should eat a cheeseburger." "She's too fat she should eat a salad." "Why is she working out, she's literally anorexic." "Her boobs make her outfit inappropriate."
The list goes on and on.
Body shaming. It's when people think they have the right to pick apart and criticize other people's bodies. It's something that both men and women deal with, though to be honest, it's more geared towards women, as our bodies have always been and likely always will be objectified and sexualized by society. We are either too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too straight-cut, too curvy, blah blah blah.
I can't name one woman I know who hasn't been body shamed. I can't name one woman I know who hasn't felt insecure about her body. I, too, am one of these women.
The media is largely to blame for all this. It puts out a false, photo-shopped image of what "ideal" women are supposed to look like. This makes men start to believe that women are only attractive if they look like these media pawns and it makes women feel like they have to change themselves to look like these media pawns in order to be beautiful. The standards for women have always been evolving.
Finally, we are seeing voluptuous, curvy, "regular" women gracing magazine covers and runways. We are seeing clothing companies use "untouched" photos of normal-sized women as their models (Aerie, Hollister, Forever 21.) And yet these body-types still receive criticism.
I am sick and tired of hearing other women nitpick themselves and other women. I am sick of reading statuses from so many other women about how much they want to look like one of the millions of Instagram model-bots or the most current "it" celeb. I loathe how curvy women in the media are told to lose weight and if God forbid a woman has a little cellulite or stomach fat it's the end of the world.
If you think real women need to look like the Kardashians or Instagram models, or be twig thin with perfect make-up free skin, or be tan and fit, I have news for you.
You're wrong. It's hurting us.
No body is spared of body shaming. Personally, I have been body shamed countless times. I have a curvy, tall figure that I used to loathe but now embrace. I no longer want to hide it behind baggy, dark clothes like when I was 16. I no longer resort to only wearing flat shoes and now embrace 6 inch stiletto heels. But still, I am criticized. I've been told my butt is too big and to stop wearing skinny jeans/short shorts, I've been told I'm too tall and to stop wearing heels, I've been told my hips are too wide and to wear shapeless clothes so as not to give off the "wrong impression" (oh because that's all I am, a walking sex object, right?).
I've been told my stomach's too fat because God forbid I have a roll when I sit down and my thighs touch.
I could go on, but I'm not. I'm not going to let anyone tell me how I should look. I can't change my body. This is the body I was given and by all means, I will continue to take proper care of it and love it for how it is. I was given this body and I will love this body for the rest of my life.
I blame the over-sexualization of women's bodies for this current plague of unjust criticism. My body is not a sex object or a conversation starter, it's the vessel that will carry me until the day I die. I will dress how I want because what matters is how I feel. I don't dress to please others. I dress to please myself. Every woman should be ignoring these body shaming critics and putting their energy towards loving themselves.
What we need to realize is that these shamers are not us. They don't see the behind-the-scenes footage of our lives. They don't see our bodies naked or bloated from a big meal. They don't feel our hunger or pains. They don't experience our anxieties in the dressing room or nerves when debuting that new swimsuit at a party.
They are not us, thus they don't have the right to say anything.
Women, remember this:
You owe nothing to society. You don't owe the world a "perfect" physical picture. Your body is yours, no one else's. Ignoring shamers is hard, but one ear and out the other. Live for yourself, dress for yourself, eat for yourself. And most of all,
For if we as women can't love ourselves, how can we inspire future generations of women to do so and end the era of body shaming once and for all?