Can you think of the last time you were body shamed? Because I can, it was three months ago at a fashion shop. I was trying out some skirts to buy when a lady came up to me and said, “Baby girl, I don’t think you should buy this skirt. It needs someone thicker to bring out the beauty in it.” What’s worse is that some other girls agreed with her, and they offered to help me find something more “suitable” for me. At first, I was upset and mortified. Did that just happen? Did I just get body shamed by a group of women? Then I started fighting back tears and then, for some reason completely beyond me, I tried justifying what they did. Quietly, I left the shop, feeling guilty for being so sensitive about someone’s negative comment.
Body shaming is inescapable, it is in magazines, newspapers, TV shows, and conversation with friends. According to an article published by WCNC.com, studies have proven that 90-94% of teenage girls around the globe have been shamed for the way their bodies look. Yes, that means nearly every woman has experienced body shaming before finishing high school. The shame many women face throughout their lives can have a lasting and potentially draining effect on their self-esteem. As a result, only 10% (or less) of women consider themselves beautiful. Body shaming sometimes comes from strangers and sometimes from someone you know well—a relative, friend, or classmate. There is always a critic, and our bodies are apparently always open to critique. Studies have shown that most of the people body shaming others are highly insecure beings, so they’d rather make others feel bad, so they’ll feel good about themselves. It’s disgusting.
As much as we can’t control other people’s actions, we can surely learn to control how we respond to them. There are millions of bullies in the world, and the last one you would want to deal with is your inner bully. It may begin as a small voice in your head today, but before you know it, it has grown into something large and dangerous. Accepting our bodies and embracing our flaws is the best thing we could do for ourselves. Because body shaming ourselves will only give others the audacity to make us feel insecure about how we look. One important thing The Woman Boss taught me during the training held in our schools is that “I am the pace-setter in my life and only my opinion matters.” This short but fundamental piece of advice made me and many other girls in my school see ourselves differently. We were taught to love our bodies and accept our flaws; nobody is perfect, and we shouldn’t try to be. Of course, people will have different versions of us in their heads, but that’s on them because we are the best versions of ourselves, and pleasing others shouldn’t be a priority.
The rate at which body shaming is increasing in our society is alarming, and what’s worse is the fact that it is very normalized nowadays. Thankfully, the notion is being brought up more and more – and on a greater scale. Organizations like our very own Woman Boss are helping girls throughout the country speak up and stand up for themselves. At the end of the day, here’s one thing we know for sure: women are strong.
Written by : Jainaba Mendy -Intern
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.