If it seems like body-shaming is a new phenomenon, it’s really not.
The extra awareness is a good thing, but the truth is that this kind of weight- and beauty-based bullying has been happening to( mainly) women for as long as anyone cares to remember.
Twitter user Sally Bergesen lately called on wives to share their own recollections using the hashtag #TheySaid .
She recalled her dad alerting her not to feed too much when she was only 12 years old. 12!
Though the comment was likely signified as a playful taunt, it left a deep marker on Bergesen. And she’s not alone.
An avalanche of responses followed, proving that our body-shaming problem is deep, rampant, and highly damaging.
Fat or thin, young or age-old, it seems almost every woman who’s ever lived has had to deal with other people’s verbal rulings about her body.
As narratives ran in, it became clear daughters are being told from a frighteningly young age that their bodies aren’t good enough.
Women shared horrible things their parents, pals, and siblings said to them when they were 8 years old, or even 5.
5-year-olds can scarcely construct themselves a sandwich, but we expect them to reel in their calories in order to keep a flat tummy.
The narratives also served as a powerful reminder that body-shaming can take a lot of different forms.
It’s not ever meant to hurt feelings. In reality, it’s often disguised as fear or helpful advice. But the potential impact is almost always the same.
The narratives wives shared were enraging and heartbreaking.
As hard as specific comments are to read, it’s extremely important we do so.
It sometimes feels like we’ve come a long way as national societies in terms of accepting people of various body forms as they are and in a lot of ways, we have.
But you can’t read through the thousands of responses to #TheySaid without recognizing this remains a huge problem, particularly for women and girls. To move forward as a culture, we need to be brutally honest about how severely we’ve let many of our daughters down, face the problem chief on, and make a change.