I’m not a big fan of social media, but I must admit that Instagram has a special place in my heart. I love following accounts that post about health and motivation. Instagram posts have inspired me to be more accepting of myself and others. For instance, I have seen many accounts of overweight people who not only accept themselves as they are, but are not ashamed to share that with the world.
I’ve always wished to be as confident as those people, but that has changed. I no longer see them as powerful or inspiring because they do not practice what they preach. They talk about acceptance but spend an awful lot of time judging others who look different.
In a way, I understand their behavior, but I can’t support it. People who have weight issues have to endure pain, ridicule and j u d g m e n t . Many were bullied when they were in school. Many were even bullied by their families. I remember how a close friend of mine was often made fun of by her own mother. Once, my friend decided to wear a tight purple dress, which prompted her mother to ask her to change her clothes. “You look like a huge grape,” she said as she laughed.
Like many people, my friend’s mom failed to realize that fat shaming hurts. People lose their confidence, have trouble interacting with others and become isolated. Some become frustrated and full of hate toward their aggressors. So, I can see how making fun of others could help them cope with their pain.
However, being a victim of body shaming does not give anyone the right to put other people down. And those who claim to be in love with their curves are often the ones who make fun of lean people.
If you are skinny, you have been told that you are nothing but skin and bones. You have been told that you should eat more. You’ve heard that men like their women with a little meat, and watched how society focuses on the beauty of having curves. There’s a commercial that claims that real women have curves. So what does that make you? Are you not a real woman if you are slim?
Men are affected by it as well. They are told that they look sick or like they are on drugs if they are too skinny. They are told that women will not like them because of their looks. Women want strong guys; that seems to be the message.
If we want to change society’s views, we need to start by changing our attitudes toward the topic. We need to understand that body type does not define a person’s worth. We need to stop body shaming of all kinds. Otherwise, we are just hypocrites.
To me, the plus-sized woman who laughs at the skinny woman is a great charlatan. She cannot talk about respect if she needs to put others down to feel better about herself. Real self-love does not develop from criticizing others because they are thinner, bigger, darker, or whatever.
Everybody is fighting their own battle which we know nothing about, so we must be kind. An obese person may be battling with depression, binge-eating disorder, or hormonal imbalances. In the same way, a lean person may be struggling with bulimia, anorexia, or other health issues. Or, perhaps, the skinny person just likes to work out; who are we to judge?
Change starts with the individual, and the world is in desperate need of change. Let’s focus on building each other up and embracing our differences. Whether a grape or a skeleton, love yourself and respect others.