Hi, my name is Jessica, and I used to be a body shamer.
Trust me, this came as a shock to me, too. I love writing about confidence and self-love, so how could I do that if I’m a body shamer? Well the truth is that I didn’t even know I was a body shamer until I read a post by Anastasia Amour. After reading that, I realized that I’d contributed to the body shaming movement quite a bit in the past.
I first really started thinking about this last October when my IRL friend Amanda wrote an amazing guest post for me during my body acceptance week of posts. If you haven’t read that, please go do so. It’s a beautiful post about growing up where she was always “the skinny one” and how that affected her life.
Before this, I had never really thought that life could be just as difficult for someone on the lower end of the scale versus the higher end. For some reason, I thought only plus sized people experienced bullying and injustices and other things like that, but then once I forced myself to start thinking about it, it is shocking how much body shaming there is against people who are considered skinny.
When I think of body confidence, I think of loving yourself the way you are: your flaws, your curves, your body, your soul. And for a long time, I was hung up on really promoting one of those more than the others: curves. It’s no secret that plus-size women are discriminated against and made to feel bad about themselves, especially in gossip or beauty magazines, and I just got sick of it.
You’ve heard of that expression, “Real women have curves,” right? I feel like I’ve seen that on Pinterest more times than I could count. I hate to admit it, but I was one of those people who latched on to this expression (and others like it) and shared it all over social media at some point. I thought to myself: “Yes, finally, real women are getting more recognition!”
But wait a minute..
What about those people who don’t have curves?
What about those people who are small or skinny or in between?
Are they not real women?
This is one of the many images I’ve see circulating around Pinterest that I used to really resonate with before I realized that it was body shaming.
Okay. If you don’t have a thigh gap, good for you. Get down with yo’ bad self. Don’t obsess over making your thighs smaller just to achieve some sort of false sense of happiness or beauty.
And if you do have a thigh gap, you shouldn’t feel bad about that. Eating a cupcake won’t change that, and being shamed them into eating one won’t make you any healthier, so don’t listen to it.
Same goes for the phrase “Eat a sandwich!” Again, that won’t change anything about a person’s body, and shaming anyone into eating something is never healthy.
Sure, some people may be following unhealthy eating or diet patterns and they may need to eat or exercise or drink water more/differently, but that certainly isn’t the case for everyone.
We need to stop thinking we know everything about a person based on their size.
I always knew it was wrong when people said demeaning things about those who were plus size, but I admit that I didn’t really think about when people said demeaning things about those who were smaller, and for that I apologize.
We can all get self-conscious sometimes, we can get down on ourselves and we can body shame ourselves like crazy. But what really matters most is that we are all beautiful, we all matter and we are all needed just as we are.
So yes, I used to be a body shamer, and even though I didn’t know it, that doesn’t make it okay. Now I’m stepping up, admitting my past mistakes and moving forward to focusing on body confidence and self-acceptance for everyone from size 0 to 26, anywhere in between, and to infinity and beyond.
This is why I’ve been focusing a lot of my posts lately on body confidence, acceptance and self-love. I need the constant reminder to go easier on myself and love my flaws, and I bet you do, too, sometimes.
Some days are easier than others, but we shouldn’t make it harder on ourselves by constantly putting ourselves or other people down because we think it’ll make us feel better.
It never does.
It’s time to focus on a journey to body acceptance for everyone, and it’ll take all of us to get there.
Hi, my name is Jessica, and I am a reformed body shamer.
Nice to meet you.