You know what really grinds my gears?
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about the Barbie doll and how people don’t like her because she represents an unrealistic female body. While I mostly talked about how it’s ridiculous to put so much significance on a toy, I also mentioned that picking apart every one of Barbie’s flaws wasn’t a good way to promote positive body image. This lead me to write about today’s topic: body shaming.
Every single time I get on Facebook or Instagram, I see images with sayings such as “Guys like meat, not bones” and “You can’t cuddle with a stick.” And there’s always that one girl who captions her photos with something like “Real men like curves” or that one guy who’s constantly posting and commenting about how he prefers his ladies thick.
Now, one of the problems that I see with this is that the people who post these things actually believe that they are doing the world a favor. They think that by “owning their curves” they are making a positive statement. While it’s true that they are creating a positive body image for themselves, what they don’t realize is that in doing so, they are putting down other women. There are two explanations that I came up with to try to understand this behavior. One is that women don’t fully understand the meaning of what they are posting. They’re aware of the stereotype that men like tiny, skinny girls and so when they see stuff that leans towards their side of the spectrum, they embrace it right away, without taking the time to understand how this impacts others. The other excuse I came up with is that “curvy” women are simply jealous of the smaller women, so they post these things in a conscious manner to make skinny girls feel bad about being “too skinny.”
THIS IS NOT OKAY.
Another major problem that I see with spreading these sayings is that most of them refer to what men want. WOMEN, YOU DO NOT NEED VALIDATION FROM A MAN TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL. “Guys like meat, not bones”…really ladies? Really? This is what you feel you need to share to feel beautiful? By spreading these stupid sayings, not only are you are reinforcing the negative stereotype that all men are dogs (because they’re not), but you’re also basing your value and self-worth on what men think is beautiful. Remember ladies….these men that you are letting determine your self-worth are the same men who think that pizza and beer is a balanced meal.
Now, back to picking on us women again. The biggest problem that I noticed with this issue is that women are putting down other women by spreading these negative ideas about what is “beautiful” and what is not. I know I have a lot of feminist ideals and that my “hippie” thoughts of how I envision a perfect world aren’t always practical, but I truly do believe that to live a happy life, we all need to EMPOWER one another rather than letting jealousy take over. We need to stop belittling each other and spend our time doing something that’s much more positive and productive.
Besides, at the end of the day what really matters most is being healthy and loving your body. If you love what you see in the mirror, great! If you don’t, then you can find a positive way to improve your confidence rather than putting down other people.