Sunday, 7 December 2014

THE BODY SHAMING DEBATE



I feel like these images are going to either be celebrated or shamed, depending on your opinion of my online personality. That is why I leave this text post under the above images. I say online personality, because I haven't really let you get to know the real me, but I hope you will catch more of a glimpse into my mind and what I feel by reading this. The matter of fact is, it has taken 18 years of my life to even get remotely comfortable with myself, so here is my "new beginnings" post I guess...

I started filming this as a youtube video, but I started crying halfway through because this is an issue that has really affected me growing up. I don’t feel like I’m ready to show you that EXTREMELY vulnerable side of me just yet, and I couldn’t even get what I was saying in a tangible order- I just have a lot to say on the matter. I want to write about this as a "curvy" person, who for once, isn't sticking up for her "own" side of the argument. The argument shouldn't even exist. It’s an issue that’s affected me since I was about 13, and still does now (I’m working to try and change that), and unfortunately it probably will still affect my own children. I wanted to talk about this on my blog, because I feel like this is a space where I can share things like this with you all now. 

I’m going to be turning 18 in a couple of months, and I guess it’s time for me to make that really scary jump from teen to adult- unfortunately I feel like I’m making the jump from child to adult instead. That’s honestly how I see myself. There’s two sides to me, there’s one that’s blogging and running a business, but there’s also the side of me that’s set a toaster on fire (don’t ask), has a really messy bedroom sometimes, and likes to get a lift from my parents when I’m going out. That’s just it though; whilst I feel like I’m still emotionally maturing, I have to be reminded every day that my body has fully matured, and has been for several years. That shouldn’t upset me, but the way that I (and other curvy women) get treated is really quite appalling.  At the same time, the way non curvy women get treated is horrible too.

One issue was sparked by this dove "real women have curves" campaign, and there was a huge fight on twitter where people were throwing all kind of silly insults at each other. One side was fighting for (what the industry depicts as) curvy girls, whilst the other was fighting for slimmer girls. What I was completely thrown by were the comments such as “Well I’m going to go and eat chocolate cake now, does that offend you” and “Just because I bother to exercise and eat well doesn’t make me fake”. I was baffled, because this really shouldn’t be a two sided argument anymore! Both fat shaming and skinny shaming is wrong, and in no way is it fair to make one party feel bad in order to make one side feel better. I do agree, the campaign is so badly worded. In no way does having curves make me, or any other curvy girl any more "real" than anybody else. We aren't meant to look the same. Nobody has any right to tell anybody how they should look.

This goes back to the "all about that bass" debate too. It's great that someone's finally trying to push body positivity in curvy girls in mainstream media, but the "skinny bitches" lyric...? Why Meghan?! To quote Tyra Banks, we were ROOTING FOR YOU! We were ALL ROOTING FOR YOU! Why did you have to go and put down other people to make one group feel better? You can argue once again that there's a whole fashion industry which puts so much emphasis on being thin, so why should one song matter? It matters because every single girl that watches or sees just one song or video can or could be affected. It doesn't matter if it's one picture, or one tweet, or a few words. TOO FAT. TOO SKINNY. You're still hurting somebody. And it's the reason why us teenage girls have had to suffer through being brainwashed into thinking that there is a certain way that we have to look. 

Just as it's offensive to call somebody fat, I've now learnt from some of my friends that they hate being called skinny! I've been told they find it hard to cope with some of the things that people point out to them, by telling them they have "no ass" or "no tits" (once again, thanks to a certain few people, you're brill (!!!!)). I just think people need to understand how to cater for other people's feelings. Our generation has become so out of touch with this- We only text and tweet each other, we have relationships forming over iMessage, and snapchat, and can barely hold conversations face to face. I feel bad for agreeing with my grandmother, but we really are losing our substance. I also feel like I can say this because I grew more and more anxious as I got older. I became more of an introvert, I grew socially anxious and awkward, and all because of the internet and lack of real human contact. I'd have long meaningful conversations on iMessage and then be scared to speak to the same person face to face.That being said, the whole anonymity of the internet has led to people saying things without even thinking. For my graphics work, I've been able to do research into the psychology behind twitter, and why people say the things they do. Whilst you can click on a celebrity's tweet and see "MOM" "SLAY ME" which are compliments, just as often you can see the words "kill yourself" "get aids and die", "ur a thot" or "delete it fat". Call me boring, but I don't understand how that is funny at all. I think in the past I may have said things or done things whilst being insensitive and, at the time I was probably really unapologetic, but I'm sorry now. I've had it happen to me, where one tweet turns into hundreds of ill-vibed, rude comments, and it all builds up! Think about what you say before you say it, because it could hurt you if it was you in that person's position... no matter how thick skinned you say you are.

Lastly, (and this may be slightly controversial, but we are all girls here!) I don't feel like I should have to be apologetic for having boobs. Just as I don't think anyone should be apologetic for not having any-or being right in between. It's sometimes heartbreaking to be discriminated against by brands (see my bikini review, update: they've taken down the only bikini which fits bigger boobed ladies ARGH) and other people. I can once again only write about what I've experienced growing up, and currently. I have had such a nightmare trying to find a dress for an event that I have coming up. That mainly because sites don't seem to cater for small waisted, big chested girls- and I often end up wearing something that fits my waist but exaggerates my boobs, or a something that hangs off my boobs like a cliff making me look wider all round. If that's not annoying enough, I either get the "you're a slut" comment, for showing cleavage, or "why are you wearing that, your boobs look weird" when I'm wearing a turtleneck top. Why is it that most bralets are made for people with smaller cup sizes, and when I finally find one that fits, I get judged for wearing it?

Why can't we just celebrate that people's bodies are different, and how much they have on show has no correlation with their personality or how many people they've been with? I often get gasps of surprise when people ask me about my past relationships, as if people expect me to have been with more people than I have... all because of the way my body looks. That to me, is unfair. We should be allowed to express ourselves (dressing yourself is an art in my opinion) and not have to worry what other people think of us. Yes there are social norms to be adhered to (i.e. people will look at you funny if you go to sainsbury's in a bra, knickers, scarf and ugg boots) but dress yourself how you like! I will not be on my deathbed thinking "man I wish I wore that bralette instead of that strangely fitting crop top" because I was too worried about being judged. Whilst I may appear to be on that one side of the argument, I'm also well aware of some of my friends who feel like they have to wear a push up bra to enhance their cleavage. The bottom line is, if girls who are a 34FF or 32AAA are all having to wear push up bras... then (sorry guys) boobs just don't look like that normally, and we are all (once again) trying to achieve the exact same look, which might even be unobtainable. And for what?

Another example of spite that struck me, is the image of a girl floating around the internet as a meme, with the caption “When you LMAO”, and clearly the person who took the picture was making fun of her bum. That girl had no idea the picture was being taken, and was just going about her day normally. What would you do if you were the one who was being made fun of? It’s all genetics- things that we sometimes can, and sometimes can’t change, but why should we be making people feel bad because of the way they look? The bottom line is, there is somebody out there for everybody, and just because someone isn’t the shape, or size that you’d like them to be, doesn’t mean you should make them feel bad for it. That’s just who they are.

So thats it I guess, some of my inner most thoughts on body image. I do hope that I make sense. Leave a comment and let me know what your opinion is on some of this stuff, I'd love to hear what you guys think!

Joksie
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3 comments

  1. I have seen so many girls talk about body image on here lately it seems this meghan lady has caused some up roar. first of let me say.. you said your going to be 18.. your body is still changing and will change till your 21 at least.. even then you never know what could happen. trust me. im 24 and im constantly putting on and losing weight. I work out i try to eat healthy but its not about trying to be skinny its about trying to be healthy. imo every body is beautiful and its gone from being a cry for curvier girls to just a massive argument about whats right. I have been through some of the things you speak about here but find yourself.. find your voice off social media, be confident in your skin even when you dont feel confident. be real with yourself before anybody else. sorry for the rant, but young girls like you shouldnt be ashamed of your body or any aspect of your life. as you get older life gets harder.. so enjoy yourself now before the real hard shit comes about!!

    bonitarochelle.co.uk

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    1. She really caused an uproar, I agree! And that's what this post is, I'm accepting myself and the way that I look and I no longer care what anyone thinks! And Also I know what you mean about the body changing thing, for the past two years I've been (consciously) trying to lose weight and I really struggle with it. I dropped a noticeable amount at the beginning, and then I fell ill and since then I go through cycles of working out loads and eating well to not being able to work out because of how unwell I felt. To me it seems unfair that people put us all in categories, and that I'm the weight that I am "because of lack of effort". People fail to realise its not only a physical thing, its also an emotional problem and it's very difficult to lose weight for some people. It's also difficult for people to put on weight if need be. It seems that the issues are people want to tell other people what weight they should be or what they look like, when they should be telling them they need to be emotionally AND physically healthy. I think that's what's important!

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  2. While i wish the men in this world would stop reducing women to their bodysize and general looks i wish women would also stop doing it. Actually i heard a version of "All about that bass" sung by men as a joke and half way through i realized that it appeared funny because we do not expect men to talk that much about their bodies. Now there is nothing wrong with talking about your body or celebrating it as you see fit but i do not like that the body is seen as such an integral part of a womans personality which it is not. Your body does not define you.
    Obviously also men face body shaming but you rarely hear a man going on that much about their body as women do. Even women which are rather confident with their appearance seem to have it as a focus of their mind a bit part of their time and i do not exclude myself. Obviously this is fueled by society and not the individual persons fault.
    I wish i could step away from this. I am not a curvy girl. I am Mica and i happen to have a curvy body. I am a beauty blogger and obviously looking pretty is kind of the goal of cosmetics and fashion but i try to aim to not look pretty as a curvy girl but to look pretty full stop.
    The term "real woman" makes me really uncomfortable because it implies that beeing a woman has anything to do with outer appearance. If you think you are a woman, you are a real woman to me. Independent of your looks or even of your gender.
    I have the feeling all the hate is generated because there is an imense amount of hurt in most of us. All women i know have dealt with body issues and i feel in this internet debate we start to lash out because we feel we can relieve our pain that way. I hope we can move on in the future so that one day there will be a generation of women which does not grow up with collective resentment of aspects of their body.
    God i am rambling way to long for a comment. My appologies but this issue gets to me. The pictures are stunning by the way :)
    http://sciencekoekje.blogspot.be/

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