I weigh 135 pounds give or take a few depending on the day. Like every other person on the face of the planet, I have body hang ups. You will never catch me dead in short shorts or a tube top. I personally think that my best feature is my eyes. When I get stressed out I start to lose large amounts of weight regardless of what I eat. This is incredibly personal information that is usually not plastered across the Internet, so why do I feel the need to share this with you? The answer is simple: I am about to try to convince you to own your body (in all its imperfect glory) as well, though you can do that in a more private way if you prefer. This whole train of thought really started when I read this article:
In case you chose not to read the full article, Kate Orazem is a former anorexic/bulimic who is basically saying that the majority of women in America spend their whole lives fantasizing about being thinner. In a roundabout way, she says that a life centered around being thinner is empty and that we deserve better. I tend to agree with most of what she has to say. I have friends who have whole Pinterest boards devoted to “fitness” that are little more than fat-shaming boards. There are fortunes made on the latest fad diets that leave people physically and mentally worse off than if they had done nothing. I feel like Orazam was courageous in telling her story, but she offers very little concrete other than that.
Rather than talking about our weight obsession as if we are mostly powerless, why don’t we attempt to take action? There are many people who would read this and think, “she’s skinny, what could she possibly know about it?” And these people are part of the problem. I have spent most of my life fielding comments like, “you’re so skinny, you make me sick,” and somehow there is nothing wrong with that…though if I ever presumed to say something so rude as, “you are so fat, you make me sick” I would probably be stoned. The point is that mean girls are mean girls regardless of size.
Society expects people to look a certain way, and not even supermodels live up to these impossibly high standards without photoshop. Why do we as a country spend so much time and money trying to look like someone else? I am not advocating being unhealthy on either extreme of the spectrum, but I think it is about time that we stop weight-shaming ourselves and others. When are we going to stop projecting our insecurities and prejudices on other people?
Body love is an important part of our journey as humans that we as a culture seem to be missing out on. I challenge every one of you (men and women) to start changing your inner-dialogue. When negative thoughts creep in, acknowledge them for the useless abuse that they are and try to replace them with constructive thoughts. I know it’s not an easy task, but it is an important one. Only by changing ourselves mentally can we ever undergo true transformation as people, and as a nation.