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VO5 Summer of Love Series: Body Shaming

SophiASophiA Posts: 59 The answer to life, the universe, and everything
edited June 2019 in Sex & Relationships

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As the VO5 series continues, this weeks theme is all about body image and in particular I wanted to explore the issue of body shaming. 

 

I believe that this is a topic that effects absolutely everyone, no matter on your shape, weight, height, colour orrr the size of your big toe. People always seem to have something to say about someone and unfortunately many of these people experience the highly unnecessary, burning desire to voice their negative opinions to the person it concerns.

 

As highlighted in The Mix’s article, ‘How to handle body shaming’, body shaming not only comes from internet trolls and strangers in the street but can also come from those closest to you such as: friends, family and partners, people you would expect to make you feel good. 

 

After reading the article I realised that in fact I too have been a victim of body shaming, often being called ‘too tall’ and ‘lanky’ by friends, usually in a jokey way (especially in secondary school). At the time I was able to laugh it off, however looking back I realise that it never made me feel good about myself and above all the comments were completely unnecessary. 

 

Its important to be aware that body shaming can have very damaging effects on individuals, especially if you’re picking up on a insecurity a person already has.

 

I would be interested in hearing whether any of you have been/ are body shamed and what was your reaction to this? Do you have any advice for people who may be going through similar experiences?

 

In todays society everyone finds it very easy to criticise people, so I challenge you guys to compliment someone, whether it be a stranger on the street or your bestie while you’re getting ready.

Post edited by TheMix on

Comments

  • chubbydumplingchubbydumpling DurhamPosts: 487 Moderator
    edited June 2019
    Great thread! I think it's so important to talk about body shaming, especially since a lot of the time negativity comes from people close to you. 

    When I hit puberty, my stepmother took it upon herself to wage a one-woman war against my self-esteem. Every little thing was picked over. I couldn't have dinner without hearing that I wasn't eating enough, and eventually the thought of eating at the table opposite her made me too nauseous to eat. Yet, absurdly, she commented on the size of my thighs constantly. She pressured me into wearing makeup. She admonished me for daring to have cellulite. The list goes on. Thankfully, she's no longer in my life and I'm an adult now but I still have to deal with the impact her abusive behaviour had on me. Luckily, I have a kick-ass therapist and a more positive mindset than I ever did as a teenager.

    Right now, I'm at a place where I'm pretty comfortable with my body. My only desire is for it to be healthy, after so long neglecting it. I no longer exercise to look a certain way, just to maintain a level of strength and stamina. I don't dress for other people, just for myself, my style and comfort. I don't punish myself for eating something I enjoy or missing a day at the gym. I still have the occasional criticism of my body but those are no longer so overwhelming and anxiety inducing that I stop living my life.

    What really helped me was getting to the root of why I felt so ashamed of my body. There isn't anything wrong with having scars or stretchmarks or going barefaced. I was made to feel like all of those things were my fault, even though they were perfectly natural and inoffensive. Once I realised that I wasn't to blame, I tried to get more comfortable with the body I was given rather than wishing for another one that wasn't me. There were a few things that helped me:

    1. I spent at least half an hour per day naked, other than for sex or bathing. It sounds silly but standing in front of a mirror every day instead of avoiding the parts of myself I thought I hated really helped me realise...
    2. I like more than I hate. After a while, I tried to alter my thinking so that, instead of pointing out all my flaws, I came up with at least one positive thing to say about my body every day. I like my shoulders, my hips, my weird looking surgery scars that look like bullet wounds :#
    3. I started following a lot of body positive influencers and activists. It really really helps to know that you're not alone.

    [edited on request]
    Post edited by TheMix on
    alice123
  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 939 Part of The Mix Family
    Hi @SophiA. Great thread idea - and so important to talk about! 

    I have never experienced overt body shaming, however I have definitely shamed myself before. I had a terrible habit of looking back at photos when I was younger and wondering why I wasn't that small anymore, ignoring the fact that I am not supposed to be the same shape that I was many years ago. Our body's grow and change shape and that's amazing - and something that we should be proud of. 

    I am now quite body confident and I think the way I got around this was by paying close attention to the clothes I wear, dressing in a way that makes me feel good. I have an hourglass figure which means I have a small waist and bigger hips. Rather than dressing to hide my hips altogether, I now wear clothes that accentuate the shape that I have. And actually, I wouldn't change this shape for the world and I enjoy finding clothes that work for me. 

    It can be really difficult when seeing so many different body types on social media, but I think the most important thing is to focus on YOU first. You can't change other people, but you can change the way you see yourself - and we all deserve self love :heart:
  • SophiASophiA Posts: 59 The answer to life, the universe, and everything
    Thank you so much @chubbydumpling and @coc0mac, its great to hear that you’re both at a place where you are able to love your body, i think that is so important.
    Although, it sounds as though it wasn’t always like this and you have both been on a journey learning how to love yourself. It’s been great to hear how both of you have got to where you are now and hopefully there are a few things others can try out if they arent feeling body positive. 
    coc0mac
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