A How-To Guide
Please Stay Out of Other Folks’ Mirrors….
And Stop Telling People How They Should Look!
Note: This is a continuation of Lesson 1 from my Getting Healthy: A How-To Guide. Click here to start from the beginning 🙂
While information was the biggest factor in regards to other peoples’ food, life experience is the biggest when it comes to physical appearance. But before I get into that, I want to point out a few things about myself that don’t really fit in with “that one standard of beauty” we all face:
I keep my hair super short. It’s also my natural hair texture.
I wear glasses in front of my dark brown eyes.
I have a crooked smile (higher on one side) that reveals crooked teeth.
I have noticeably uneven breasts.
I have jiggly fat on my arms, belly, and back.
I have a big booty that sits between some wide hips and atop some big thighs.
I have cellulite and stretch marks.
I’m black and I’m a woman!
Contrary to what “that one standard of beauty” would have you believe, not a single one of those things makes me (or anyone else) less worthy of breathing. The only thing it makes me (you) is ME (YOU). And I will never apologize for looking like ME (nor should you)! Despite that, this happens:
And by this (that up there), I mean body shaming. So let’s see what Webster n’em have to say about the word shame (noun):
And shaming (verb):
Synonyms (words with similar meaning):
Antonyms (words with opposite meaning):
Notice how shame/shaming and all of its synonyms are NEGATIVE? Notice how all of the antonyms are POSITIVE? That’s because nothing good ever comes from shaming someone. Which also means THERE IS NOTHING GOOD ABOUT BODY SHAMING! NOT NA’AN THANG!
Here’s what I think about those statements:
Both of these statements relate to body shape or size. The woman being shamed here is either not an hourglass/pear or she’s a small framed one. “That one standard of beauty” sometimes says that this is a good thing but I’m black*. This is never meant as a compliment.
You can change your weight and how toned you are. You cannot change your body shape (without surgery). I specifically used the booty because of the extremes some women have gone through to get a bigger booty are DEADLY**. Think about that before you deem someone’s backside unworthy of life.
These are usually aimed at overweight women. The notion that overweight people shouldn’t eat is ridiculous. And the belief that overweight people are somehow disgusting for existing is grounds for someone needing to be slapped. With that said, these same comments are used on skinny women too (also “Girl, you need to eat!”)
In this post I mentioned how Twitter is great motivation to go be productive elsewhere. Here’s an example. Woman posts a photo. People retweet it and adding side-by-sides of things she’s shaped like (#NameThatShape). People go all mob mentality for hours. She deletes her Twitter (and God knows what else she does). I won’t lie like I don’t find some of these bodies unattractive too BUT I’m definitely not going to help hurt these people by sharing it.
These are unique in the way that women are perceived. Each one assumes that all women in that group carry one very specific trait. The first was actually directed at me by a black woman who (fake) whispered it to her black daughter. “That one standard of beauty” has managed to convince folks that curvy women (this includes women with large breasts) are automatically immoral because #swerve***. I’ll go into this more later!
The second one is interesting because it’s often used by curvy and/or overweight women to justify their own bodies. Somehow all women in this group (often very thin, perhaps models) have an eating disorder (and thus are unhappy). A close second is the idea that all women in this group innately hate any woman who is larger than they are.
The third is usually directed at female athletes, dancers, and fitness models (and women with rectangular body shapes). Somehow women in this groups all want to be men and are lesbians.
This one fits in each of the groups above but I still wanted to address it separately. The statement usually goes, “You’re pretty….for a black/dark skin/fat girl.” Look, just because these things aren’t a part of “that one standard of beauty” doesn’t negate that person’s beauty. If you believe that it does, you need to reevaluate your life.
I’m not pretending to be all holier than thou. I think rude things all the time but they stay in my head. In case you’re wondering, the one I think most often is, “I don’t like her shape.” Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you need to say it. I just don’t see the point in being hurtful towards other people’s bodies for two reasons:
How does their body affect mine?
What if someone tried to make me feel bad about something I can’t change? Like my race or being a woman? Or being a woman of that race? Oh……..
In short, I say all that to say:
I’m going to go into each of these in depth in the next few posts, so I won’t do it now. However, it’s important to understand that the inability to accept the differences between yourself and others can negatively affect your goals.
When you can’t accept yourself, you can’t accept the things that make you unique: that allow you to bring a different perspective to a situation. For example, I’m not a fitness/health/wellness expert but I have my own experiences. I don’t try to be an expert, I just share what I’ve learned through research and life.
When you can’t accept others, you aren’t allowing yourself to see a perspective that is different from your own. For more on that, click here!
Do you think there is one accepted standard of beauty? If so, how does it differ from your own body (I listed how it differs from mine above)? Let me know in the comments!
Also, if you enjoyed this post and want to keep up with the series, please subscribe and share!
*I’ll get into how extremes can be just as harmful in upcoming posts.
**Just look up “booty shots”. The injuries and deaths attached because people couldn’t afford to go to a real doctor are heartbreaking.
***I just like to use #Swerve for curves. Pretty sure that’s not what folks mean but I DO WHAT I WANT!!