Body shaming in today’s world


Tina Arnold

Columnist


Body shaming is all over the place right now. You can’t help but see it every time you turn on social media. You hear it in conversations when you’re out in public. You can even see it in the stares and glares of passersby. And even though this isn’t really a new issue, it is one that needs to be addressed and changed.

I am that fat girl. But that’s what I am. Not who I am. And I really just don’t like to beat around the bush about it with softer terms that make other people feel comfortable with what I am. Being fat isn’t a shameful thing.

I’m not skinny. I’m also not fluffy or pudgy. I’m not chubby or big boned. My frame is actually quite small. I am not a BBW (Big Beautiful Woman), I mean I am ... but I don’t like that as a description of me. I don’t need these creative and cute abbreviations to help me feel good about my body. They don’t help me feel anything but annoyed actually. These terms were made up by people who were made to feel ashamed of their bodies by other insecure people who couldn’t accept a fat body for it’s beauty and it’s uniqueness. So these terms were started as something to hide behind. A guard if you will, against hurt feelings and humiliations that no one should ever be made to feel in the first place.

We are told from childhood that the word FAT is a bad word. We give the word a hurtful power over us. We have told the world that it’s bad to be fat. We have developed a way of thinking in our society that views fat people as less. They are weak. They are lazy. All of this is wrong.

I eat the same foods as everyone else. Although there are times when I do overeat a bit, so do most smaller people. And believe it or not, I actually eat quite healthy foods. I have educated myself on how to eat. I probably know more than the average person does about proper nutrition.

But I am still fat.

I don’t know if I am genetically predisposed to being fat, there are a lot of overweight people in my family. Or if it’s due to there being more bad bacteria in my gut than there is good? I don’t know if it’s due to my not moving enough, for long enough or eating an extra bite here and there at dinner. I have no idea.

This is what I do know.

My thyroid is okay. I have been a stress eater for most of my life. I probably should exercise more. But I’m not unhealthy. I don’t have diabetes or any other major underlying diseases caused by my being overweight. I rarely ever even see my doctor. So no, I am not stealing anyone’s money with my healthcare.

My family and I mostly eat at home, because we can’t afford to go out to fancy restaurants. I prepare all of my family’s meals myself and I’d say that 98% of those meals are healthy. We try not to eat prepackaged foods as much as possible.

So with all of that said, I am actually here to say this ...

A person’s body is not for anyone else to comment on. Their body is their own. And no one has the right to shame another person for how they look. Whether it’s for being too big or too small, etc. Why people in this world think that it is acceptable to make fun of someone for being different, I will never understand.

A person’s worth is not found in what they look like.

So many base everything on how a person looks, how they dress, what they eat, how much they make, what kind of car they drive, how big their house is. Whatever happened to a person’s worth being based on the real important things, such as their character? When did we stop caring about a person’s heart and their intentions, and start caring more about what they have? Better yet, when did this type of thinking become so widely acceptable? And why?

We should be looking inward more often and not looking at other people’s lives so much that we lose focus on the things we need to be working on ourselves. It’s very easy to point out the flaws of others when we are so lost to our own that we forget that we have them too.

Being fat isn’t a crime. It’s doesn’t mean that someone is lacking as a human being. People are beautiful, intelligent, contributing individuals in every shape. Everyone has worth. Everyone is valuable.

Tina lives in Stockbridge with her husband and four children. She enjoys writing and uses it as her way to relax.