I love scrolling down Instagram, checking out what celebrities are doing and often even reading other people’s comments. I am amazed by how hostile people can be when they comment on their favorite celebrities. They really take it upon themselves to defend these people as if they know them personally and I just find that a bit hypocritical and funny. But one thing that surely hits home is body shaming.
I am personally not a fan of looks that seems to be trending on internet: skinny waste and huge bottoms, lips that scream of botox and ironed out faces to avoid the inevitable getting older. Maybe I am old school, I can own that, but I am not a fan. That said, I will not go to any of these accounts to shame any of these women for finding these things beautiful and then featuring it themselves. It is their choice to do so, I find, and I can choose to follow them and see it or unfollow them and keep my corner of the world free of things I don’t find aesthetically pleasing.
Last night as I scrolled down my Instagram pages, I saw new photos of Meghan Markle (the Duchess of Sussex) and I couldn’t help but read the comments on the page. While many comments were complimenting her audacity to wear a mini skirt, to preserve her Hollywood style while embarking on a Royal journey, there were many comments talking about her being too skinny, her legs looking like those of a chicken and remarks that she should never show her legs again given what they look like. I am personally not a fan of the Duchess’ style, but I imagine there is a nicer way to express the dislike. It’s one thing to comment on liking her choice of wardrobe and perhaps how it fits but entirely another to shame her for how her body looks. Is it because she is now a “princess” and perhaps better off than most of us that gives us permission to judge so harshly feeling that maybe the Duchess herself would not care? I am sure she doesn’t, I surely hope she doesn’t read random Instagram comments, but the energy of what we as the audience allow ourselves to do is disturbing at best.
I grew up mostly having a few more pounds than I wanted to have. In summer months, I would shred those with ease as I would spend 3 months in my beautiful summer home being in water or on the run non stop. However, as the winter approached, I would gain a few pounds and while in retrospect I think I looked just fine, I know I was struggling with accepting myself the way I was. I longed for having a little less curvy body, the one usually women who were very athletic had. And yes, believe me, people around me shamed me for every one of those extra pounds, often commenting their view on my body whether it was to say I lost weight and looked fine or that I had a few more pounds and should probably take the bread out of my diet. All in all, everyone, without asking permission, felt entitled to tell me what they felt. In fact, this atmosphere continued as I grew older and even though my eating disorder, except now people thought I was too skinny and my bones were showing. What hurt about this the most was not what people said but how blind they were at the pain I was enduring at that time and shame that I inflicted upon myself because I could never find myself right and find my body right exactly as it was at any given time.
As women, we all know people feel justified to comment on something that in so many ways, we don’t have much of a choice about. Sure, some people are fat because they eat a lot, but some have issues with their thyroid or have been grieving a loved one and have put on the pounds to protect themselves from the pain. Similarly, some people are skinny because they just don’t like to eat or are afraid to eat or simply, they are having a tough time. Yes, there is what God gave us and then what we do with that, but in general, without asking a permission to speak about our bodies, none of these remarks are appreciated. To go back to the Duchess, I was shocked to see how many hateful comments she received because she opted for a mini dress last night to the performance of Hamilton. It’s one thing to express that perhaps mini dress goes against royal protocol or a dress code (even though one should ask her/himself, what really makes you an expert on this subject) but another to shame her body in any way shape or form just because it’s not your personal preference.
I will tell you the truth, I don’t find so many things aesthetically pleasing and the inner commentary surely comes up for me too – I am likewise human. But here is the deal, at least for those of us who are adults: clear that thought before you go run with it and especially before you post it on social media for everyone to witness. This world doesn’t need opinions on someone’s legs but compassion for the work that is being done. The event last night was a charity event for children effected by HIV. The Duchess got there with the only pair of legs she had, skinny or not. Please lets put our attention on the things that really matter and stop the body shaming once and for all. We have the legs that we have, it has nothing to do with who we are.
And lastly, after having 2 children, I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight and I am proud of it. I have been back to practicing yoga and my body, even though not as strong as it ones was, is slowly getting back in a shape I knew it to be in. I received comments on looking great given that I went through 2 pregnancies both last summer and this. These comments made me just as uncomfortable as some in the past commenting the extra pounds or the most recent ones that I could be looking too skinny. Here is the deal, don’t share your opinion on mine or anyone else’s body. This is not up to discussion unless someone puts it up for discussion. It’s is frankly a sexual harassment to talk about someone’s body in any way. I get it that none of us are blind, we see things we deem pleasing and things that displease us. You can’t change the inner commentary but you can stop putting it on a loud speaker and even worse, spewing it out in people’s face. It’s not your place. Mind your own body and work on your own self instead.