Body shaming is a huge issue within our society, where beauty has become such a popular topic it has lead to more judgemental views on what it means to be “beautiful”.
The truth of the matter is, everyone is beautiful in their own way. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Sadly, some people don’t want to acknowledge this as judging others is too much fun for them.
What a lot of our society doesn’t seem to notice is body shaming happens to a lot more people than they realise. For example, calling someone who is on the larger side a derogatory name tends to understandably get the blood boiling in record time. But what about calling a skinnier person ‘skeletor’ or any other insult that is passed off as a ‘joke’. That seems to be more widely accepted and treated like a game.
Why is this acceptable behaviour?
I have always been a size 6-8 (UK SIZES) I have spent my entire life being laughed at because I am so skinny.
The list goes on. 6 years ago I fell ill I was diagnosed with incurable health conditions, I looked drawn and sickly, people began commenting on my weight more and more. Something I will never forget is something a lady said to me once, “you might think you look good but only a dog wants a bone”. This hurt, I didn’t feel like I looked good to begin with, that was her unfair assumption. I felt hideous, disgusting, I was crying regularly, looking in the mirror made me feel sick.
My family would tell me how beautiful I am and how strong I was to go through my health problems at such a young age. You see, it doesn’t matter what other people saw when they looked at me what mattered was what I saw. I hated my Body.
After all the apparent ‘jokes’ and the derogatory terms I saw exactly what they was telling me to see. A bag of bones that only a dog would find appealing.
I saw no womanly shape, a flat chest, no thighs or bum, I couldn’t find one part of my body I was happy with, no attractive qualities. I was vile.
I had developed body disphormia
I started to wear layers of clothes, 3 t-shirts 2 jumpers. Tights, 1-2 pairs of leggings and then jeans over the top.
When it was warm weather I’d get so hot I’d start to feel dizzy and light headed, the migraines would come and sometimes I’d even get sick. But I daren’t take any of my layers off and show the world how awful I looked underneath my clothes.
The stress of my negative body image made me feel constantly sick which meant I couldn’t eat properly, this of course, caused me to lose even more weight. Then I would gorge myself in the hope to gain weight.
This created a very vicious cycle, I wouldn’t eat properly for days on end and my stomach would shrink. I’d then panic eat and gorge myself. The worst part was I was only eating food that I thought would make me gain weight, fast. Chocolate, cakes, crisps basically anything that was unhealthy, which often resulted in me being physically sick.
I am 5’10 (1.78m) in height at my worst, I weighed 38kg (just under 6 stone) for my height that is a dangerous weight.
My social anxiety hit the roof and my self esteem plummeted. I had hit a new low in every sense of the word. I stopped seeing friends, even leaving the house unless I absolutely had to. I once went an entire month without stepping one foot out of my front door.
But I’m skinny right? Why should I be complaining?
I will tell you why, I have struggled for years with my size and my body, broken and degraded for looking like “skeletor” as it’s often so elegantly put, all because I couldn’t gain weight because of incurable health issues.
Why are my body insecurities less important because I am skinny?
Why are other people encouraged to be body positive when others aren’t?
Why are people allowed to tell me,
“You have nothing to be insecure about!”
“You need to more burgers”
“Only a dog wants a bone”
“Don’t walk over a drain you’ll fall down it!”
“You don’t understand what it means to be unhappy with your body”
“You’re pathetic you need to grow up and appreciate how lucky you are”
So please tell me, a skinny woman who has been to hell and back because of her body, why its socially acceptable to mock my figure. To put me down to build yourself up.
Why can’t I speak out because I supposedly have a popular body size. A body, might I add, that suffers with psoriasis, covered in, burns and scars from numerous operations where surgeons battled for hours in theatres multiple times to save my life.
My so called “ideal” figure looks like a massacre and it’s all hidden under my clothes, I don’t even wear bikinis. So yes explain to me why I am penalised and not included here. Because I really cannot understand.
Please do tell me why I am less important in this body positivity matter.
Body shaming comes in many different forms. For some reason ‘skinny shaming’ isn’t taken seriously. I have shared my story because I want to see a change. I refuse to stand back and wait for that change to happen. I am a firm believer in being the change you want to see.
No one with body issues is more important than another, I am not less important because I am skinny and you are not less important because you are not. More people need to realise this because from where I’m standing, all I’m witnessing is outright bullying and victimising. You cannot pick and choose who you support when we are all suffering.
We are all unfairly judged, just because you are of the opinion that someone fits into “societies standards” that doesn’t mean they aren’t bullied and it certainly doesn’t mean they are happy with themselves.
In your mind you may only be ‘cracking a joke’ but just because you see it like that, doesn’t mean the person who is at the end of your jokes will too, no matter what size a person is. We all have a choice, we can choose to degrade another human being because of their appearance or we can choose to build them up.
We are not defined by the way we look, no matter our race, religion, hair colour, body shape, height no physical attribute changes the fact that we all bleed red. We are all in this together. We are all equal. Tearing or holding another human being down is classless and unbecoming. It’s beneath us.
I stopped wearing crop tops and bikinis a long time ago, hiding away under my clothes. Too scared to show the real me. I am ashamed of myself for not having the courage to stand up and be counted on this before.
My body positivity is for us all, we all matter. So here is my campaign,
#donthideshine it matches my slogan, why hide when you can shine. If anyone wants to join me, male or female, please do so! I’d also love to be tagged in your photos, I would love to see you all and give you the words of encouragement you deserve. You can tag me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, I will link them below.
Facebook: Sarah Jayne