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Cooney Crier

Body Shaming

Alissa Buboltz

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No matter what you are doing right now just stop and think: How many times in the past week have you been told to change? Whether it’s said by magazines, songs, movies, advertisements or the people around you, can you count it all on one hand? Or does it add up to more than five times? Think of all the magazines you see, how many of them have tips on how to lose weight or hide your imperfections? What about songs? Many people seem to like the song All About That Bass due to its positive reflection on image. It’s nice to have someone represent the girls with a little more weight on them. Is it really necessary to put down everyone else though? No one should never put others down to make someone else feel better. How about entertainment? Next time you watch your favorite show, pay attention to how many times someone is put down for how they look.

Body shaming isn’t just something that you do to others. If you pay attention, a lot of us may do it to ourselves. How many of you compare yourselves to others? “I’m so ugly compared to them…” or, “I don’t have a thigh gap like her.” By saying these things and others similar to them, you are body shaming yourself without even realizing it. Even those things you may say as jokes to your friends such as “Hey ugly” and “You’ll never find a date looking like that…” can have an impact. Be careful saying those things, because you never know how much of an effect it will have. Even if you don’t mean them and you think they know that, there’s always at least a little part of them that takes you seriously.

No matter how it happens, body shaming creates comparisons and rips people apart. It perpetuates this idea that it’s what’s on the outside that’s most important. Didn’t our country go through this during the Civil Rights Movement? The appearance of your face, the color of your skin or your weight; none of that truly matters. It’s what’s on the inside that matters. By body shaming others you are showing not only your own insecurities in yourself, but also that you don’t care about others feelings. Let your beauty shine from the inside, out. That’s where it really matters, so remember, you aren’t defined by what you look like. You are your inner thoughts, your conscious, and your heart.

Katherine Brooks, the school’s psychologist, stated “I view body shaming as any negative comment, attitude, or thought about someone’s physical appearance, often specifically relating to weight.” While Max Flanagan admitted “Well to me personally as a guy there is no shame towards me at all. Men have the (ability) to wear just about anything they want, anywhere, and there will be no problem at all. But not on a personal level, I believe women have been terribly body shamed in our society, even though the intentions of setting such dress codes (ie. no shoulders being exposed) are for good…it has been taken (in) the wrong direction.”

When asked if our school has a body shaming problem, Brooks stated, “Adolescents (are) especially struggle with body image, and I would say that there is body shaming at our school.” While Flanagan said, “I believe our school has a slight problem with body shaming and making women feel that they are not allowed to be in their own skin, as there are rules established within our school that they cannot show such skin.” An anonymous senior said “Yes. It does not matter if it is inside or outside of school, body shaming is a large problem in the ‘teenage world’ today. I see people, mostly girls, receiving rude comments in the hallway from people they don’t even know; things like ‘she’s too fat to wear that outfit.’ ‘Oh my god look at her legs they look like sausages’ and even ‘They look anorexic what the f*ck’ followed by laughter.”

When asked how we body shame each other Flanagan commented. “In relation to our school doing so, I believe society does as well. A lot seems to depend on what a woman is wearing and if they are ‘prude’ or are ‘asking for it’ while they are simply expressing themselves through apparel.” The anonymous senior said “Most of the time people may not even realize what they are doing is body shaming. One of the most common forms of body shaming is commenting on how much or little someone eats, because it insinuates an irregular body weight/shape/type. But there are also more serious and blatant forms. Like in my last example, people tend to target (others) for their weight and connect it with the types of clothes they wear. As a society we mostly target overweight people. But it doesn’t stop at the weight, we also target people with stretch marks and scars. Most of the body shaming is due to the ingrained idea from media that people should be skinny, smooth, and free of cellulite and marks. But in reality, every single human on earth has at least a little bit of that.” He continued and said, “The media often uses unrealistic or airbrushed models, so society puts immense stress on people to look a certain way. It gives the impression that in order to be beautiful, one’s body needs to be a certain shape or size. Magazines feature many stories about how to lose weight. Kids may say that a person is ‘fat’ or ‘too skinny’.”

All three individuals interviewed agreed that body shaming is not okay. Flanagan expressed “I believe confidence is everything and if schools are teaching their students not to be comfortable showing who they really are then that is not what school should be teaching!” While the anonymous senior expressed “Everyone has the right to feel confident no matter how short, tall, large, small, scarred, smooth, etc. they are!”

When asked why they think people body shame others Flanagan verbalized “I’m not exactly sure why such a thing exists. Maybe it is just human instinct; if someone is prettier or skinnier than us we put up a defense mechanism, although it is not always in the right way. However, we should not be striving for such a thing to happen which is currently happening with our education systems across the country.” Our anonymous senior commented “Because media and society has taught us to look down upon people that do not fit our society’s beauty standards.”

Brooks declared “They may be insecure about themselves. They may have biases against people who are a certain weight, for example they may think that an overweight person is lazy.” Why do you think people choose to body shame? Do you think we can work together to stop it in it’s tracks?

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Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Extraordinary
Body Shaming