Why You Shouldn’t Shame Bodies

By: Sierra Watts/Co-editor-in-Chief

Body shaming has been a problem throughout all time. Women and men both have struggled with one person taking their insecurities out on another. After interviewing three girls from Blue Ridge School District, three out of the three say they have been shamed for their bodies.They claim the accuser believes their body is subpar from the perpetrator’s standards. Why they feel their standards of beauty need to be enforced upon others is tragic.  

According to Social Issues Research Centre’s website, “Concern with appearance is not just an aberration of Modern Western culture. Every period of history has had its own standards of what is and is not beautiful, and every contemporary society has its own distinctive concept of the ideal physical attributes. In the 19th Century being beautiful meant wearing a corset – causing breathing and digestive problems. Now we try to diet and exercise ourselves into the fashionable shape – often with even more serious consequences.

According to Blue Ridge Student, Sabrina Smith, “I’ve been called a variety of names when it comes to my weight; from fat and pudgy all the way to anorexic.”

Although it is heinous to treat someone in this manner. It shows that all people have different standards, body types and bone structures.

Why should people be shamed for their originality? And honestly, who has the right to judge your body?

When I asked Sabrina this question she even stated, “ No one really has the right to.”

In my opinion, logically, the only person to judge someone’s appearance, weight or body type is if they are a doctor or professional concerned about your physical or mental health.  

Another student, Allison Hewitt also responded to this question saying, “I feel the person themselves and professionals [can judge you]. If you’re confident work it. If you are hurting your body you need help to change.”

Often students can struggle with anorexia, bulimia or another type of eating disorder. Even two of the three students that were interviewed admitted to being tempted to over eat and/or under eat because of the shame they faced about their bodies.

Both disorders are not just a physical disorder but a mental disorder. Often caused by being tormented and oppressed as an effect it causes insecurity about their body. And insecurities then advance to possible eating disorders.

According to NAMI.org( National Alliance on Mental Illness), “Eating disorders are a group of related conditions that cause serious emotional and physical problems. Each condition involves extreme food and weight issues; however, each has unique symptoms that separate it from the others.”

Smith gives insight on the feeling of both spectrums.

She conveys, “I’ve struggled with eating problems before. I think I went three weeks once barely eating anything, I knew it wasn’t healthy but I didn’t really feel like I had a choice to eat a lot or not. It’s weird how that works.”

An additional student, Summer Bledsoe, was asked about the difference between skinny and fat shaming.

She states, “ I actually do not [believe there is a difference between the two]. I look at those two terms as one, just plain old body shaming. People, women and men, are always being constantly shamed. We’re all one, so there really is no difference… Body shaming is just body shaming and it is wrong to do [so].”

Sabrina also responded similarly, “No, there isn’t a difference [between skinny and fat shaming]…they both sting the same.”

On the other hand, Allison believes that, ”… fat shaming seems to lead to more self esteem problems.”

While it is true that fat shaming seems to lead to more self esteem problems on the other hand, any kind of body shame has the same effect as any other kind.

Ultimately, it is important for all who have shamed and have been shamed to understand this one idea body positivity is important.

Summer captures this idea very well by saying, “I cannot express how important [it is] for all sexes, and body shapes to love themselves.”

For those of you who are insecure about your bodies and take it out on other people, learn to love yourself and encourage those around you.