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There’s More We can Talk About than My Body!
I recently experienced an excessive amount of what I would call passive body shaming over a weekend of meeting friends and family and it left me feeling extremely self conscious about my body. I’ve always struggled with “body positivity” being more on the heavier side and it’s something that I’ve always taken on with a smile working every day to show love and respect to it regardless of where I am.
That being said, I still want to talk about it, because I know I’m not alone. Coming from a family of three daughters we all come in different shapes and sizes and have all experienced different forms of passive and active body shaming.
Growing up in the community it was normalised to point out an individual's weight… obviously in a playful manner. If you were to speak up to address the inappropriate behaviour the response was always that it was a joke and you should take it lightly… because there was no harm in having some fun banter.
The reality is that there is harm. Choosing to comment on someone's body is extremely harmful. We don’t know what the other person is experiencing at that moment. A simple “joke” could be triggering and have adverse effects on their mental health.
We are all learning to love ourselves on this journey we call life. We need more compassion, we don’t need to bring others down. Remember to think about how you would feel if someone said something to you. If that is not enough here are a few examples of subtle ways you may be body shaming:
- Comparing your total steps for the day or encouraging them to take more steps during the day
- Making comments about the food they are eating or suggesting something “lighter”
- Comparing their body with someone else's
- Asking them if they even eat anything
- Comparing them to objects (i.e. twig, couch)
- Asking if they have some sort of medical condition
If you’re still not sure… that should be an indicator on its own. Simply just don’t say anything.
A conversation can be about more interesting things when you first meet someone. You could talk about the weather, about your favourite colour or even what makes you smile.
Simran is the Youth Liaison at mindyourmind and has a background in mental health and addictions. She enjoys painting/drawing mandala patterns and spending time outdoors.
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