I hear what they say about other women, and it makes me a little apprehensive about ever leaving the safe confines of my home.
“She’s so fat.”
“She’s too skinny.”
“She’s so ugly.”
“She looks like such a whore.”
“Why would she even eat that?”
“Someone feed her a cheeseburger!”
These are the not-so-quiet whispers hurled out into the air for women just like me to breathe in. We absorb them, become them. We lower our heads and know we will never be more than a walking culmination of the opinions of others.
People gawk and laugh at a passerby as though they are watching animals in the zoo. These unkind words cut with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel into the heart and brain of those on the receiving end. Never giving a thought to their own imperfections, humans label each other as though it were a paying job.
Women are often the the most judgmental of other women, but some men will toss backhanded comments to women they might even want to date.
“I normally don’t date ‘bigger women,’ but I’d make an exception for you…”
Maybe those guys didn’t get the memo, but this is not a compliment. It isn’t flattering, and women are probably just as hurt as if you had laughed in their faces.
I can only speak as an individual woman, but we must not overlook the fact that men face these same issues. The only difference is that society dictates that men must be manly and ignore or strike back. Women are allowed to be emotional, men aren’t. Regardless, men still feel the pain of body shaming.
It seems quite cliché to say the world just needs more kindness, but it’s true. We often forget that those whom we ridicule are also human beings with thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Moreover, they are human beings who have value. They are worth just as much within society as we are. Body shape and size, style of hair or clothing, age, gender — none of that matter. All that matters is that this human being, whom has become the punch line for bad jokes, has to go home and wear around the disgusting label we have created for them. It’s worse than a punch in the face to hear that others do not believe this person is worthy of more than disdain based on an ankle-deep philosophy regarding body image.
What if the overweight girl who is being made fun of eats to cover up the pain of being molested? What if that guy, whose shirt is too tight revealing part of his stomach, can’t afford new clothing? What if the rail-thin person standing there has tried to gain weight, but can’t? What if the woman being called a whore for the manner in which she dresses is a very happy, healthy individual who has never had sex in her life? For that matter, what if she does have lots of sex? Who are we to judge? There simply is no perfect body.
We see touched up images of supposedly perfect specimens of the human form in the media every day. We don’t see what is behind all those beautiful faces. Being happy based on beauty is a falsehood taught to us directly through the media. It’s all a lie. If it were true, beautiful people would never commit suicide or engage in any other form of self-destructive behavior. Just take a look around Hollywood. How many actors, actresses, musicians, and models have taken their own lives or ended up lost in a world of drug addiction because they were completely unhappy?
Part of living a healthy, happy life is feeling accepted just the way we are. When society tells us we must live up to some false standard, we lose a piece of our personal joy.
I’ve never understood the act of tearing someone else down emotionally. It’s a cowardly act which deserves no respect. There may be underlying reasons behind it, but those issues need to be resolved so no one else suffers. We, as a society, could benefit from a lot more smiling and applauding of others. We should try to celebrate the uniqueness of the human form. Being a unique individual is the greatest part of being alive. Here we all are just little snowflakes, floating around with one another on different paths, yet all traveling to find the same end: happiness.
To rip that happiness away from another person, possibly for life, might be the most horrible crime we can commit. Maybe if instead of looking for perfect, we look for perfectly wonderful and unique, we can all find happy together.
Tammie Niewedde shares her life with 24, 21, and 16 year old sons. She also has a 2 year old grandson whose energy level reminds her exactly how old she is (40, and she owns that proudly!). In her home, you will find a 120 pound fur factory named Dexter and a few cats whom have decided that she is merely their staff. The root of her love for books, writing, and animals comes from being a child whose only siblings were books and her animals. She is a full-time student, mother, coordinator of all that is chaos, and a hopeless list maker. Most of her writing is creative non-fiction that describes her real life adventures. Her acerbic, biting sense of humor may capture your heart, or it may induce rage. Nonetheless what she writes is true to life. You can often find her hanging out with the kiddos, studying, reading, writing, and making lists…of everything! You can find her on Facebook!