Earlier this week I saw a post from a dear friend on Facebook and my answer turned into a much bigger post than I intended – which led me to realize that I had something very important to say on the subject.
Here is the post if you want to check it out:
Here is my reply to the challenge to “share about something you wish you could change in the world?
Body shaming! And I don’t just mean weight. Too many people say things in a “teasing” way about height, small stature, eye color, hair color, wearing glasses or braces or hearing aids – and because they are “just teasing” they don’t realize how hurtful their words are, nor how long-lasting the effects of those words can be.
And here is the rest of what I really wanted to post there:
I have only just recently realized that one reason I am overweight (not placing blame elsewhere , just explaining) is because my mother was told constantly that she would be beautiful “if she would just lose a few pounds”.
When she saw that I looked about the same as she had at that point in her own life, she pushed me to lose weight, never really telling me that I was OK the way I was or that she really thought I was beautiful anyway, but that she didn’t want me to gain weight.
If she had made that distinction, I might have been able to see past some of the hurtful things other people said to me during my teen years (things that were disturbingly similar to what she had heard as a young woman).
If I had heard more affirmation and less “teasing”, I might never have felt the need to retreat into my shell, hiding my “ugliness” away from the world.
Today’s teens have an even more difficult time with “teasing”. Social media has both multiplied one-on-one teasing and added an entirely new level of “public” humiliation.
Knowing what I know about muse now, I am not entirely certain that I could survive in the modern high school environment.
And that is truly frightening.
We need to find a way to put a stop to shaming! We need to stand up, as a generation and call for it all to stop. And then we need to educate the younger generations, so that they can begin to understand that just because it’s called teasing, it’s not necessary a good thing.
Then, hopefully we can begin to find a way to truly co-exist!