9to5musings

Muses about everything from MECM20003 to hipster glasses and hot chocolate

Stop it with the body-shaming: social media for social change

I’m sitting before staring at the ‘Add New Post’ on WordPress, sitting before a blank page, and I’m wondering: what the hell am I doing?

KONY2012 might have been a big social media flop, but at least it reached thousands around the world. Heck, it reached me, and trust me, I am as woefully ignorant of current affairs as the hobo on the street.

If this doesn’t demonstrate the power of social media to reach masses, to mobilize people, to promote a social cause, and to effect social change, then I don’t know what will.

(Okay, maybe not the social change part; we haven’t unlocked that achievement yet.)

But what am I doing to effect change, to not fade away into the white noise of the cyberworld, the chunk of meaningless words that you will skim over?

This week, I decided to write about body-shaming, something still prevalent in today’s society. Something I’m sure every one of us has undergone at least once.

Isn’t it high time body-shaming, the criticism and denigration of people based on their body image, should stop?

Body-shaming is body-shaming, whether it is about your acne, your hair, your facial features, your physical size, what clothes you wear, or your the size of your butt.

And guess what, body-shaming is hurtful.

It is going to cause people to rethink what they wear, how they act, or their physical features.

It is going to result in people questioning, even for one split second, the worth of their self-esteem.

Don’t say you haven’t done it. We’ve all done it at one point in our lives. We’ve looked at celebrities on magazines, gasped at the sudden weight gain as evidenced by high definition DSLR photos.

We’ve told a friend that her freckles look disgusting. That she’s fat. That she seriously needs to lose weight. That her nose looks terrible. That she won’t get a boyfriend. That her hair is really dry. That her butt jiggles.

I’ve done it before, and I’m sure you’ve done it before. But it’s our choice as to whether to continue erring down the wayward road that matters.

And, if your choice is undermining a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem by every subliminal, body-shaming comment that comes out of your mouth, then shame on you.

Stop telling young girls that they should be like the skinny, polished, photoshopped models whose ribs protrude from their skin. There’s nothing to be idolized about that.

Stop telling people that their bodies are not good enough, that there is something they should change, and they would be lacking and undeserving until they do so.

Stop resorting to the cheapest, most shallow, and sadly overused comment in the book: “fat”, or “ugly”, to insult someone.

Stop it with the subliminal shaming, the “Don’t you think you should eat a little less?”, the “I think that shirt would flatter your fuller figure more”, the “Have you weighed yourself recently?”.

Just stop it.

 

People are more than the digits on the scale, they are more than the clothes that they put on, and they are definitely more than their flyaway hair, the acne on their face, or their uneven teeth.

Stop perpetuating hate.

Start perpetuating positive feeling. Start embracing all body types. Start seeing that it is other’s lives to live, and not yours. Start recognizing that your comments and actions will cause a reaction, whether positive or negative. Start loving your body, and other’s bodies.

Just stop with the body-shaming already.

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2 comments on “Stop it with the body-shaming: social media for social change

  1. Daniella Raniti
    October 6, 2012

    It disgusts me that our culture’s idea of mainstream ‘beauty’ is determined by the hollowness of your cheekbones, the visibility of your collarbone & the non-existent width of your thighs. As you’ve said, it’s “nothing to be idolized…” !!

    You only have to look at the adverts in our media & the models on our runways to notice that we are immersed in a society that prides itself on malnutrition. Our warped relationship with food has caused an even more distorted & petty outlook on the way we view our bodies and, in turn, the bodies of other’s. Whyyy are we trying so hard to literally mould our bodies into conformity? Health is the only thing that should be relevant, not weight. A healthy body is an alive body.

    We’re constantly preaching that no human being is the same. At what point will we actually start listening to our own words?

    Ugh. Body-shaming needs to stop.

  2. 9to5musings
    October 7, 2012

    “A healthy body is an alive body.” Precisely. The fact that this is still continuing in a society that valorizes equality between all is confounding.

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