I Bodyshame Myself To Fit In
We all know that scene from Mean Girls in which Karen, Regina and Gretchen examine themselves in the mirror, ridiculing their flaws. Then clueless Li-Lo chimes in with something dumb that renders the others into disgusted speechlessness.
Well, this is the scene that happens in my office all too regularly. These stunning, average-sized girls, of all different shapes and styles stand in the lift as we go for lunch, face the mirror and start the slaying ritual.
“Urgh, my thighs are ginormous.”
“My tits are so small.”
“At least you guys can wear cropped jeans, I’ve got cankles.”
Now, I’ve always tried to fit in ever since I was a young’n, but it’s just not for me. I’m far too strange, and the quicker I realized this the more I embraced my truly weird self and started to actually be me a lot more. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to fit in. It’s the human way – we want to be loved and accepted by others. It’s natural. We’ve all done it: smoking behind the youth group building after school, swearing to look cooler, and the clothes – oh, the hideous apparel choices we made just to get a ‘wow, groovy jacket’ from the Stacy Popular of the class. So still in times like these I nod along and add, “I know what you mean, Pilates is needed this week, my tummy feels massive.”
Silence. They look at me with the same look that Kady got. The same disgust but it’s not one of disdain, just disbelief that I’ve even uttered such a remark.
This is mainly because of two reasons. The first is that I’m a bit on the stick-thin side. This is through no fault of my own, I might add. I’ve got a metabolism that’s so quick it’s in one end and out the other before you can say ‘quinoa’. The second is that I’m tall. 6 foot, to be exact. I like to think of my shape as ‘stretched out’ but really I just look a bit like an olive-skinned avatar with an eating disorder. I’ve been body-shamed just as much as someone with exactly the opposite problem, but because it’s skinniness rather than obesity, people are a lot more brazen about commenting on it. I was called ‘skinny malinky long legs’ until I was about 12, when the bulimia, anorexia and depression rumours started. Anyone who knows me however understands that I can happily eat more than you and your dad put together and still easily put away dessert – yup, I’m one of those bitches. It’s just the way I’m built and I actually love it, so why am I in a lift telling these girls that I want to change it?
I don’t fool any one of them. They’ve seen what I eat and they’ve seen it goes nowhere. My dietary differences and elongated body shape put me outside the norm, shunning me from the hope of being one of the body-shaming gang. And that’s exactly where I should want to be. Emma Thompson recently said in an interview, “Any woman who says, ‘I hate my bum, I hate my body,’ is essentially expressing a kind of misogyny. All women who come up with that need to think very carefully about what it is they’re saying.”
So I thought carefully, and realized I shouldn’t be agreeing with these girls, wishing I had a different body. I should be the one telling them to get a grip and start loving themselves. Body-shaming is a huge problem, and it’s going to be pretty difficult to banish it if we keep yammering on about our insecurities; we’re here to help each other and offer one-on-one girl advice, not to go around collectively hating on ourselves. So, stop fishing and start loving. This bodyshaming train has left the station.
What do you think about body-shaming in today’s society? Let us know in the comments.