Shame on YOU, Body Shamers!

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art by Isaiah Stephens

Body shaming seems to have become a national pastime and I just don’t get it. On one end of the spectrum, we are celebrating the bodies of all kinds of different women, all walks of life, all ages: “Lumps, Bumps and Wrinkles don’t scare us!!” On the other end, we are shaming women for being fit during pregnancy. And now men are not safe. Let’s take a look at this more closely. I’ll be using the “F-Word” (fat), so you’ve been warned!

I think we’re familiar with medieval art where women were allowed to have soft, lumpy bodies. In an age when you literally grew everything you ate and did farm work from sunup to sundown, there probably wasn’t a lot of opportunity for the women outside of the royal palace to “put on a few” with feast after feast. I think it’s possible that fat-ish women of that time were considered desirable, because they looked healthy and represented affluence.

Now we live an age where we can literally eat pounds and pounds of food that we did not produce with our own hands. In just a few hundred years, things have really changed: we don’t grow our own food, the food that is grown and sold is mostly not good for us (think GMO’s, pesticides, etc.) and now we have to go out of our way to workout and be fit.

The irony is that in medieval times, looking fat was celebrated because it was relatively hard to achieve. Now, in times of plenty, the body that is celebrated is that one that borderlines on emaciated. And no matter where your body is at the moment, it seems to be a spectator sport that calls for body shaming.

Ashley Graham is a plus-size model (why do we need that label, please??) who has been praised for representing gorgeous ‘fat’ women everywhere. This photo shows a bit of what I’m talking about. Is she fat? By no means. In fact, if my body looked like hers I’d celebrate it by wearing two-piece bathing suits as well. She recently came under fire by her fans because she was looking noticeably slimmer in this photo.

On the other end of the skinny spectrum, we have uber fit moms catching shade for looking too fit just before giving birth, like this mom, Sarah Stage at 9 months pregnant.

Now, men are not allowed to hide under the radar either. “Dad Bods“, anyone?

Why do we do this? Why do we care? Being obese creates a lot of health issues, but so does being emaciated. I think we have to change our entire focus from body shaming/body celebrating to allowing every individual to figure out on his or her own what will work for them. Instead of aesthetics, we need to focus on health. A skinny person can have more illness than a fat one. And the journey an obese person has to take to shed extra pounds can be a long and tedious one, and that’s without certain ailments and diseases that make weightloss nearly impossible.

I’d like for all of us to see past the skin and outward appearance. We all have talents we need to pursue and we out to do that instead of wasting time trying to see how skinny we can get. We have more to offer society than that, don’t we?


Writer Bio

CJ Heath is probably in the middle of the spectrum, just fat enough to not be cyber-bullied about being too fit. Yes, she would like to shed weight to relieve pressure on her back. She would like to not be bullied as the pounds start to drop. She’d like us to celebrate each other for we are, not what we look like.

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