Have you ever wondered how often we are told to change our appearances?
Social media and magazines offer daily tips on how to lose weight “instantly” and hide our “flaws”. And if we don’t conform to this habit of weight losing and getting rid of our “imperfections” we ourselves become a target of body shaming because our society prefers individuals with slimmer, thinner, and well sculpted bodies. Surfing the net for this topic I found different definitions and meanings…some will just complicate the topic itself so I’ll just use my definition ( similar to others tho) which I got through my experience with body shaming. Body shaming is making mockery of people’s body size…making them feel less beautiful and not too good to appear in the public. Or better still when our body sizes do not match the society’s idea of a perfect body shape.
Another type of body shaming is when people look at themselves in the mirror and say, ” Look how fat my thighs are”, or “I hate my broad shoulders” or “I’m so thin and I hate my slender neck”. In this regard no one criticizes us but we choose to look down on ourselves searching for “imperfections” in our body sizes.
I was preparing for my post utme exams in OAU, so I stayed with my cousin. She lived in one of the popular and posh hostels around Oau campus then….I could say I was chubby then…pretty face and all but my beautiful face didn’t stop a friend’s boyfriend from referring to me as “fat and round”. This made me so sad and I became ashamed of myself and I had to hide myself from him, his supermodel girlfriend and the other hostel mates…I couldn’t even make friend with ‘Toni the guy I admired so much then. I thought everyone sees me as the “fat and round” girl….the others didn’t actually bother about it then. I met another girl there too, a bit big, and we become “reading partners” and friends too-we ended up studying the same course tho. It’s funny now that my friend turned out bigger than me. Getting into Uni life’s got easier and nicer….no more body shaming. Not in my presence anyways…it could have happened behind my back. My Uni days were normal and I didn’t even try working on the said “fat and round” me. Maybe I felt threatened a bit then. I just lost the weight as I moved on with life.
I found out recently that my experience with body shaming isn’t that “deep” or serious when a friend told me all she’s been through. She’s really on the big side… she told me how she’ll have to stay indoor and refuse to step out to avoid being looked at by both the young and old in the streets…they’ll even point at her and make dirty jokes about her body and size… She said they saw her as an ugly art piece which can only be “dirtied” and I know people can do unspeakable and disgusting things to such art piece. Secondary school students threw stones at her… Why is humiliating people funny?
Then she saw herself as a “heated mass”. Conforming to the society’s push she would gladly and eagerly throw all that curvy body of hers away and assume a slimmer body. She determined ever since then that losing the weight will make her acceptable.
For me I never for once criticized my size. No! I did not lock myself up in my room or cry behind closed doors and cut myself. I have my mum and a very close person to me to thank for that. They taught me to love my body shape no matter what.
But then it’s always funny to me how the “slim” people who body shamed me then turned out more “fat” than me now….
People who mocked my body shape then now envy my shape and they still prefer to imagine me in my “then-body size”.
I would share a short story of Snow White and Red shoes…
A normal girl born with extraordinary circumstances.
A princess who doesn’t fit
into the celebrity world of princesses-or their dress size.
She wants to stay true to herself
but Fairy Tale Island is all about looks,
so it makes it hard not to want to be like the others.
In her search for her lost father,
she learns not only to accept herself
but to celebrate who she is, inside and out.
And to let the beauty within-the beauty Prince Merlin falls in love with -shine brighter than anyone else in the land.
Never let a scale define you or someone else!
Till the next…..