• Correcting Casual Body Shaming

    Some former (current? I don’t know.) Playboy playmate snapchatted a picture of a naked/overweight lady from the gym with a caption something like “If I can’t unsee this you can’t either” and we can all agree that is terrible, right? I mean – that’s a no-brainer. You don’t take or share out naked pictures of someone without their permission. It’s a sign you’re a mean person AND it’s illegal by some definitions. (Most, in my opinion.) We are all on the same page. TERRIBLE. HORRIBLE. NO GOOD, VERY BAD BEHAVIOR.

    But. You know what else is terrible? Doing that same type of stuff just between your friends. Which is what she thought she was doing, not quite “getting” snapchat, supposedly. And you know what else is terrible? Posting pictures of outfits you don’t approve of and mocking them on your social media. And you know what else is terrible? When you think you’re being funny and you make comments about people who should and should not be in bikinis. Or spandex. Or leggings.

    What that model did is way worse, but let’s not act like there aren’t friends of ours doing it around us in smaller (and legal) ways regularly.

    I have one seen someone post a headless picture of a couple, making fun of their outfit at a special event. I have seen someone post pictures of people in public making fun of their hair, or their shoes or something. I don’t see it often (I credit having an amazing group of friends) but once in a while it jumps out at my from my Facebook feed. Or maybe someone says something casually in conversation, “Ug, some people need friends to tell them that outfit does not work.” Once I actually heard someone make fun of someone in a tri suit. JEEZUS, people. We all hate our bodies in tri suits, but they’re necessary to do triathlons…GIVE EVERYONE A BREAK. Also? I’ve heard people have comments on which men should and should not be able to go shirtless while they run. So I’ve been around the body shaming of men as well as women.

    AND I DID NOTHING.

    NONE OF THE TIMES.

    I catalogued it in my head and reminded myself I said shitty things like that in my 20s (none of these people were/are in their 20s) and I give them a pass.

    But you know what? Giving that a pass leads to 25-year old models somehow thinking it’s acceptable behavior to make fun of a woman’s naked body at the gym.

    I’m noticing my daughter is calling her friends out when they do stuff like use the r-word or making fun of people. And this is exactly what I tell her to do. But I’m a big ole chicken shit when it comes to doing that to people I know. When it comes to calling them out. I’m not talking about trying to changes someone’s political views, I’m talking about how do you point out behavior you think may be causing systematic problems with body image? Where is the line because we can’t enforce our opinions on behavior on people like we’re their parents, but I would like friends to know I’m concerned that our casual relationship with hiding body shame in conversation does not help our children grow up to love themselves.

    What are your thoughts? Do you just lead by example? Or do you find loving ways to maybe point out that some changes need to be made in the way we treat people when we’re talking about them with friends?