A few months ago, I went to a store with a few friends. It was a store that I have never been to, and was looking forward to some girl time with my friends since we’d been on lockdown for so long. When we got to the store and began browsing, I noticed that there wasn’t a huge selection of sizes. Needless to say, I wasn’t having much luck.
While shopping, a woman who worked there noticed that I wasn’t really interested in much. And I just said that I am on the larger side of things, and didn’t really see my size. She then said “you’re not my clientele.” My friends tried stuff on, and they found amazing things. And, while they were checking out, she complimented my friend’s body (who is much tinier than me). Then, she turned to me and said “oh, don’t worry, I have something that you can take to lose weight.”
I had never felt so insulted and uncomfortable in my life.
Now, I am going to be real with you. I am a size 10-12 and wear a large/ extra large depending on where I am shopping. According to an article on Vox entitled Why Retailers Overlook Women Who Aren’t Quite Plus or straight size, the average American woman wears a size 16-18. So, I’m technically below that average.
I’d like to think that we are moving past the times where the only size that was deemed beautiful was a size two. I’ve noticed so much media messages in recent years about body positivity. For example, in the movie/book Dumplin’, the whole message was about feeling beautiful and confident in your own skin. Meghan Trainer wrote about body positivity in some of her songs as well.
But, it’s sad to say that this still exists. And, it’s not okay.
While this is the most extreme version of body shaming, it does exist in so many different formats — both internal and external. Body shaming can exist internally when you hate your own body because of where it’s at. And, of course, it can exist externally when you point out to your friend that they have gained weight to their face or insult someone when they eat something that is not so healthy by asking them if they want to eat that.
And, it’s not okay. I can not say that enough.
Calling someone fat is actually horrible — no matter how you do that. I will admit that I had a hard time with getting time to workout since I began working full-time. This caused me to gain weight. My goals since my physical was to try to work out regularly and to eat better. Both of which I am doing and am on my way to being at a healthy weight.
Lindsay Lohan said it best — calling someone fat doesn’t make you any skinnier. And, it’s true. What does someone gain when they say something like that to someone? It doesn’t make them feel good about themselves whatsoever. Chances are, it shows their insecurities, but that is besides the point.
I would like to propose something. I would like to ban body shaming. Wishful thinking, of course, but one could try. The truth is everyone is built differently. Some people are short, others are tall. And, having rolls in our stomach, stretch marks, and sometimes gaining weight is inevitable. I want to normalize it. I want to own that. No one is built like a Cosmo girl!
And that is okay.
At the end of the day, I think it’s important to encourage others to be healthy and happy. After all, I feel as though it’s important to be that than a size zero. Body shaming doesn’t encourage any of that.
And, if you catch yourself body shaming someone just remember the golden rule: if you don’t have anything nice to say to anyone, don’t say it at all.