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Support, Don’t Shame


The other day I was taking a walk through Facebook. I came across a disturbing post. The short of it went like this.
‘Jane’ was walking through Wal-Mart and overheard ‘Sally’ complaining to her companion that he should stop buying cookies because she is on a diet. Jane eyerolls hard because she feels Sally is already too thin. Jane then proceeds to step in front of Sally to grab cookies for herself. Sally proceeds to make snide remark about Jane’s weight and Jane retaliates making a comment about how Sally doesn’t live up to men’s ideals of women’s bodies.
I’ll be honest here. I [insert expletive here] hate everything about this scenario. There is absolutely nothing OK with anything that happened here. But you know what’s worse? The comments on Jane’s story. Jane’s friends praised her response. Told her she was awesome for insulting and debasing a woman based on her weight (or lack there of). Now, don’t get me wrong, Sally was just as wrong in this case and I’m not debating that, but when did we decide that we get to be judge and jury regarding someone else’s body?
It’s not OK to call someone fat, or skinny, or anything else. Know why? Because, quite frankly, it’s none of your dang business. But more than that? We as people, but especially women, have enough to overcome and deal with as far as positive body image and unrealistic standards of beauty without trashing each other. Especially strangers and in public no less!
So what is the solution? First and foremost we — again especially women — have got to stop shaming and comparing. No, your body doesn’t look like mine and mine doesn’t look like yours, but different isn’t bad.
Some women have curves, some women don’t. Some are tall, short, fair skinned, dark skinned, blonde, brunette. None of that should be compared to someone else — you are who you are and your only goal should be to be the best version of you. Inside and out. One surefire way to not be the best version of you is by trash-talking someone else because you don’t think they live up to your ideals.
Don’t the young women of the world have enough to deal with without having to be constantly concerned about whether or not their bodies (which are still developing and changing BTW) are going to be judged and commented on?
We live in a society where women often make less money for the same work.
We live in a world where women have to worry about being shamed for staying home with their families, or choosing to forego families in order to pursue their careers, or doing both.
We live in a world, that according to a 2013 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), found that 31 million girls of primary school age were not in school, and about one out of every four young women in developing countries had never completed their primary school education. That’s right, while you are worrying about someone else’s weight there are girls across the world struggling to get a basic education.
We live in a world where millions of women are fighting for health and reproductive rights.
We live in a country where women’s health care and reproductive rights are being threatened every day.
We live in a world where it is estimated that between 2011 and 2020 140 million girls will become child brides. Let me put that in perspective for you — that’s more than the population of France and the UK combined.
And let’s not even get started on the trafficking issues running rampant across the globe.
Climate change, unemployment, crippling budget deficits, astronomical college costs, hunger, homelessness, LGBTQ equality, political transparency…the list is endless…
These are the causes we should be championing. These are the issues that should be going viral on social media. Certainly not whether or not ‘real’ women have curves or if men prefer women with more or less ‘meat on their bones’ (Spoiler alert! They like both!)
I am so over the idea that we have the right to speak to anyone anyway we please — be it in person or hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. What are we teaching our young girls when we speak to fellow women (or people in general) with such vitriol and venom?
It’s time to start thinking of the young women of the world who just want clean water, a safe place to sleep, or something as simple as a book to read.