Give me a compelling reason why it is absolutely necessary to body shame someone’s weight or appearance and I will show you someone genuinely misinformed.
There are very few things that are as unproductive as body shaming. Off of the top of my head, a few would be:
- going up a down escalator
- trying to write with a cucumber
- buying a Pitbull CD
- taking Donald Trump on vacation to Mexico or the Middle East
- explaining the “Damn Daniel” vine to your grandparents
Now that we’re on the same page about how utterly unnecessary it is to body shame anyone at any point in time EVER, let’s talk about how we can all make sure that we are not intentionally or unintentionally body shaming others.
1) Don’t make health claims
Not if you’re a registered dietician. Not if you served as a general practitioner for the Dalai Lama. Not if you have “World’s Most Knowledgable Health Professional” stamped on your ass. Comments like, “Being that overweight is unhealthy,” or, “That amount of sugar is why you have belly fat,” or even the not so obvious, “You look great but you’d look even leaner / better / (insert condescending adjective here) if you did X or Y,” are not helpful.
They do not effective positive change, or weight loss, or healthier habits. Shame and pain are not long term motivating factors, but they can cause long term mental or emotional damage.
2) Don’t use the obesity epidemic to justify being an ass
Those who are making health claims to justify their body shaming often like to cite how obesity kills to make them feel better about being an absolute ass. Yes, obesity and heart disease are real issues – especially in the United States. Obesity can lead to health complications and poorer quality of life. But guess what? Someone else being obese has no impact on your health or your quality of life. So don’t start rattling off statistics or telling someone how fearful you are for your children’s future with obesity rates as they are. Worry about yourself, your family, and leave it at that. A statistic is just a statistic. Don’t want to be part of it? Don’t.
3) Don’t force your idea of beauty on anyone else
Just because you don’t find a certain person attractive, doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same. Has it ever occurred to you that the person you’re suggesting needs improvement already loves the way they look in the mirror? If it hasn’t, I suggest you get on board because the self love moment has been long overdue, and now it’s coming fast and strong. Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder; body image is under the jurisdiction of the individual.
4). Don’t forget that the first three apply to you also
No good can come from making yourself feel less than. You deserve more than that. Your body is home to a heart, a soul, and a brain capable of changing the world. Don’t let your emotions trick your perception into body shaming yourself, because it’s not worth the while. Spend your time building poitive body image and committing to self love instead. When self love is there, health follows. Happy and sustainable exercise follows. A healthy relationship with food and diet follows. Positivity breeds positivity. Make your life and heart so full that there’s no room for body shame!