Body Shaming

By Demelza Rose Werrin.21 Apr 2016

It’s always baffled me that people offend and purposefully ignite self-loathing within others by shaming their bodies. The media’s portrayal of what people now believe to be the perfect male and female bodies are illusions that people divert to in an attempt to weaken someone else’s self-confidence. So here’s a quick reminder:

  1. You do not reserve the right to shame someone’s body it is not what you deem aesthetically pleasing.

Unfortunately, it seems as a society, through the media, that we have been conditioned to think of the perfect female body type as a tiny waist and curvaceous hips, and the appealing male body type as one with ripping muscles and a jawline to die for. Unsurprisingly, this bracket is one in which but a few people can fit. We then need to remind people that if you fit into this bracket, that’s okay. But what is also okay is not fitting into it. If you are deemed larger or smaller than the media’s ideal, it does not detract from your beauty, intelligence or potential. The average size of a woman is 10/12 on her hips and 8/10 on her top. I for one, do not fit into either of those expectations, but as I’ve gone shopping, learnt how to buy for my body shape, it’s so much easier for me to happily defy the assumption that the majority of women are averagely sized. Of course, like all girls do, I have moments where I wish I had a different body shape where jeans look better, or I could wear a crop top without revealing too much but I get past it. I try on a different pair of jeans, I find an even nicer top, and I put the two together and feel more empowered.

It seems the same for men. Guys seem to be obsessed with the illusion that they are only attractive to girls if their arms are toned and their torso’s defined. The only reason I like this is because it’s promoting health and keeping an ever-growing obese population to one where there is still a percentage of healthy, fit citizens. Medium is the bracket that encapsulates most men, while the majority of those aim to bulk up in order to fit a large. It seems to me that as we become an ever more judgemental society, people are becoming more and more defined by their looks and their sizes. It’s incredible that the need to be good on the eye is creating a generation of gym junkies but it is also creating a powerful body of people that feel they can shame those with different outlooks on their bodies.

There of course are a number of people, who are on dangerous ends of a spectrum, bordering anorexia and obesity. WE NEED TO STOP SHAMING THEM AS WELL. As a body of people who are united through just being, we need to help those who can’t see their own self-worth by seeing it for them. Shaming people who are two thin or too fat is so incomprehensibly ridiculous. Yes, it’s unsafe, yes, it’s unhealthy and YES, WE SHOULD BE HELPING, THEM NOT MAKING THEM WORSE. There is an element of this where people go too far in order to achieve their ideas of perfection, but once they are gone, it seems to me that they are too far-gone and have been conditioned so much to think that they cannot be society’s idea of perfection until they weigh 5 stone, or society’s idea of repugnant until they are 15 stone. Shaming someone’s decisions is one thing but shaming their decisions about their body is another. The evident desire for men and women to be the media’s archetypal beauty has resulted in the immoderation of self-gratitude in some cases, and the lack of such in others. It’s up to us a body of fellow humans to help those who cannot comprehend their natural aesthetic and inner beauty.

It’s got to point now, in my opinion, where people should know that our bodies are just a shell. As cliche as it sounds, for me it’s always been about what you radiate from within, your body is how other people perceive you, yes, but in no way should it be the reason others treat you in a certain way. Whilst believing you are an astounding piece of art work (which of course, you are), you exude confidence, making others feel what you feel. Now is for the empowerment of one another, not the enforcement of a disillusion on mind of the easily influenced.

‘For all desire for perfection and sophistication, there will always be an element of beauty in the unrefined.’