I believe that one of the main reasons women suffer from anxiety and depression is because of the way they look, or more accurately, the way they feel about their appearance. In my opinion, a huge amount of this negative emotion can be caused by messages in the media and society about women. More specifically, the way women speak about each other's bodies, as well as their own.
Nothing is more disheartening than being unnecessarily ashamed or worried about your appearance. Its a very hard thing to assess objectively (by yourself), especially when we all know that "you are your own biggest critic". Only you notice and hate that one little freckle on your cheek. Everyone else loves it and thinks it's cute. Only you notice the little fault in your fringe, but no one else can see it because they're too busy staring at your beautiful eyes. Only you think that your bum is too flat or too big, that your abs aren't good enough, or your triceps are too flabby. The worst part is the more you think these things in your own mind, the more they become a visual reality for you when you look in the mirror. This doesn't necessarily mean they appear that way, but the more you think it, the more you see it.
So, what is body shaming?
"Body shaming is defined as inappropriate, negative statements and attitudes toward another person's weight or size (or shape)". - www.bodyshaming.org
Racism shaming is defined as inappropriate, negative statements and attitudes toward another person's skin colour or ethnicity”. - www.bodyshaming.org
So, why is it that the shaming of ones skin colour and ethnicity in society is a representation of poor character and ethics, yet the shaming of someones body shape, size or appearance in other ways is not?
Now I understand, skin colour can’t be changed, but in other ways your appearance can. However, the argument here is not what can be changed, its our judgement of appearance regardless. The colour of your face, and the shape of your face are both things that you should not be judged for.
Why do we do it and what does it mean when we do?
Simply speaking, we often put others down because we are insecure about ourself. Also, with social media, it is very easy to comment and become what we describe as the "keyboard warriors". Something important to remember about body shaming is that it doesn't necessarily always need to be intentional. What I mean is, people don't necessarily act or say things while consciously thinking, "I want to make that person upset". I really love this saying:
"What Susan says of Sally, says more of Susan, than of Sally."
What this means is when someone says something negative about you or another individual, it is often a better representation of themselves and their insecurities, than of the person whom they are being negative towards.
Sometimes, they are just voicing their opinion in a short or blunt manner, which comes across the wrong way. I see great examples of this regularly when I upload amazing transformation photos of beautiful women from all over the world who have positively changed their body, lifestyle and mindset. Let me show you below.
How To Stop It ?
Now it's all well and good to have a rant about an issue, but with no solution, there can be no progress. I believe that the only way for us to move past these issues is to do these few things:
- Be aware of body shaming and how it affects people;
- Be conscious of what you say and its effect on others. "If you wouldn't say it to your daughter, or to your best friend, why would you say it to a stranger?"
- Remember your opinion is sometimes not important to others;
- Focus on making one nice comment or compliment about someones appearance each day.
A worldwide change and trend can begin with just one step, so let's unite as women and stop tearing each other down. Let's build each other up. You are all beautiful in your own unique way. Let's tell each other how beautiful we are, and how great our achievements are.
Stop looking at yourself as something that needs to be 'fixed', focus on improvements. Focus on health and focus on happiness. Create goals and smash them. Encourage others to do the same and help build a world we would be proud to have our kids grow up in.
Celebrate being beautiful, celebrate being confident, celebrate being a woman.
Love, Kayla xx