Goodbye Fat Shaming

Recently, there have been a lot of songs and videos coming out about natural beauty.  There’s also been a push toward acceptance of larger body types.  Part of what concerns me though, is that the discussion seems polarizing.  When we say that bigger is okay, we don’t just say it’s okay, but better.

Like this!

Like this!

This is the kind of thing I see on Facebook all the time.  It takes the shaming from the fat girls and transfers it to the bony girls.  I had a friend in high school who was super skinny, and the truth is, she was just built that way.  I don’t know if her body knows how to build fat.  But she was a pretty girl, and more importantly, one of the kindest, most interesting people I’ve ever met.  When I think of her, I don’t think about her body type first, because it’s not the most interesting or important thing about her.  The same way that my extra weight isn’t the most interesting or important thing about me.

I did an experiment in my group.  We were talking about body type and how weight gain can lead to relapse on drugs.  I asked the group members what comes to mind when they think of me.  They said things like “kind,” “smart,” “teacher,” etc.  Then I asked, “Does anyone care about my weight?  When you thought about that, did the fact that I’m fat come first?”  The room fell dead silent.  One of the people in my group whispered, “I never thought about it that way.”  We place so much weight (pun intended) on body type, but not on what’s really important.

In All About That Base, Meghan Trainor declares “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.”  Here’s the thing.  Skinny isn’t better.  “Curvy” isn’t better.  They both just are.  I’m overweight, and I’ve pretty much always been.  But I was also pretty gorgeous at one point, and looking back, I’ve realized that I should have celebrated my body type instead of envying my skinnier friends.  When I look in the mirror now, I try to see the things I like about me instead of picking out the flaws.  I need to lose a few (dozen) pounds now as I am way too overweight, but I’m never going to “thin.”  My BMI is never going to be in the range it’s “supposed” to be.  I have hips and a large chest, and I’m okay with that.  I focus on eating fruits and vegetables, hiking, and playing with my dogs.  That’s what healthy is for me.  I’d like to lose weight more for health reasons than aesthetic ones (mostly).

For you skinny ladies out there: your shape is your shape too, and you shouldn’t have to be ashamed of being naturally thin or athletic.  You don’t need a diet (you’re not fat) and you don’t need to put on weight (unless your doctor said so, in which case then do what your doctor says.)  You look great the way you are.  All different body types make the world an interesting and beautiful place.  We need to celebrate our differences, not say that one is better or worse.  Sure, some people find one type more attractive than the other, but one person likes chocolate, another person likes vanilla, and a third person likes Rocky Road.  My point being that my love of mint chocolate chip doesn’t mean that cherry vanilla is bad; it’s just not my thing.

Focus on improving your mind and your character.  Be giving and loving.  We like looking at gift wrap and bows, but at the end of the day, no one cares about that.  You’re a gift, and it doesn’t matter what you’re wrapped in… it really is what’s on the inside that counts.

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