Shame on the Body Shamers!

I want to go on a little rant today about body shaming. Lately, I’ve been noticing some snarky comments directed at women posting their fitness progress, and I want to address it.

Body shaming includes criticizing your own appearance and/or criticizing someone else’s appearance to their face or behind their back. Body shaming is never acceptable, no matter the shape or size of the person.

I see comments such as, “you’re too skinny,” “you’re too muscular,” “you go to the gym too much,” “you’re too [this],” “you’re too [that],” and so on. If you see someone commenting like this on someone’s post when they’re just trying to keep themselves accountable, SAY SOMETHING.

The longer we let this behavior slide, the more people will do it. All of these comments are just unsolicited opinions. People are more concerned about other people’s progress than their own sometimes. Most of the time, this stems from pure jealously. But that’s the world social media has created. People are brave when sitting behind a computer and think they can say whatever they want to each other. THIS IS BODY SHAMING.

The post that sparked this rant is when a woman posted a picture of herself on her wedding day and got a ton of feedback like, “you’re too skinny” and “you don’t look healthy.” Seriously!? No healthy, fit, respectful person in her right mind would tell this particular girl she was “too skinny” – especially on her wedding day.

I’m not going to mention here who the person was, but trust me, she was NOT too skinny, and she did NOT look unhealthy. In fact, she looked very happy, because it was her wedding day! It’s likely the people subtly shaming here are just unhappy with their own current states and trying to tear down people who are making progress in their own lives.

I want to encourage people, particularly women, to do this: Surround yourself with people who aren’t going to bring you down with comments like the ones I referenced above. This may include deleting people from Facebook or just finding better friends who build you up, not tear you down.

Also, if you’re the victim of these types of comments, I strongly encourage you to find a way to not let these types of remarks force you to question yourself or degrade your self-esteem. You are worth more. No matter the person’s fitness level, this type of lifestyle should be encouraging to those who partake.

Why is body shaming so common? Why, when we are upset or annoyed or intimidated by someone, do we default to body shaming them? The short answer: It’s easier to say or do something hurtful than actually deal with the person’s deeper emotional problems. We need to learn to express real feelings rather than artificial insults.

I want to leave you with some actionable steps you can take to combat body shaming:

  • Practice identifying why you’re upset at the situation if you’re the one who’s body shaming someone else with a snarky comment.
  • Identify the people in your life who are body-positive, and surround yourself with those people more often.
  • Respectfully confront those who are body shaming. Discuss why it bothers you personally, and then acknowledge that it’s hurting them as well.
  • Lastly, pick out the things you love the most about your body. Pick out the things (physical or non-physical) that make you feel confident and celebrate them every single day!

Strong JYM Girls – physically as well as mentally!

Meet JYM Girl Katie Kollath, MS