Proud2Bme | Body Hate – NSFW

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Body Hate – NSFW

By Catherine Mhloyi 

Imagine – You walk into the office at your workplace and as you’re making price signs for the oil-free moisturizer in your department. You hear one of your managers talking about how they’ve put on some weight lately. She then proceeds to call herself fat, chubby, a whale, etc., whilst pinching her belly fat. Naturally, she’s not talking to herself.

The other manager, to whom the rant was directed, joins in, explaining how she’s actually the one who needs to lose weight. She drums her stomach along to the cheery tune of self-deprecation and they both laugh. As if you weren’t already cringing, they’re both looking at you now, waiting for you to jump in. “Call yourself fat! Pinch your stomach! Swear off chocolate forever! Do something!” they seem to say. You get the hint and you do just as instructed, not wanting to raise any eyebrows. “Yeah, I probably should hit the gym, too. All these store brand candies and our 25% off discount is not helping.” End scene.

Remember that part in Mean Girls when they’re all in Regina George’s bedroom standing in front of the mirror and talking about what they think is wrong with them? – I do. Now, every time I watch that movie, which, let’s be honest, is pretty often, the scene seems less exaggerated and more like a scene torn straight out of everyday life.

Why do we do this? So many women and girls struggle with issues of body image, yet it’s not abnormal to discuss our deepest insecurities amongst co-workers, classmates, and even strangers, like it’s no big deal. Why is body hate as suitable of a topic for small talk as the weather or sports? “Hi. My name is Catherine and I hate my thighs. Nice to meet you.”

It wasn’t until I started to become body-positive that I became cognizant of how common and destructive the cultural norm of public self-criticism is amongst women. This sad reality is what plagued me when I had to leave my summer of seclusion and return to the real world when I started school in the fall.

Over the summer, I had taken many steps and made a lot of progress in changing the way I feel about myself and my body, but once I had to start being around so many other people again, conversations of this variety made the road a bit rockier. The fact of the matter is that, it’s so much harder to be positive when there is constant societal pressure to be negative.

Too many of us are all too willing to partake in this brand of girl-on-girl violence – yes, I said violence, because these conversations happen with little to no regard for what could be triggering for some women, including ourselves.

So how about changing the conversation? How about refusing to play a game that isn’t even fun in the first place? If we do play along we risk contributing to other people’s issues with their body image as well as take away from any progress we may have made concerning our own. The negative effects of such casual and public body-bashing vastly outweigh the small benefit of a smooth conversation. So, maybe next time we get those looks from others encouraging us to hop onto the self-effacement train, we might save ourselves the nasty trip by saying something positive or talking about the weather instead.

About this blogger: Catherine is a Fashion Design student at the Art Institute of New York City. She is passionate about fashion, art, music, and poetry. An avid feminist, her mission in the fashion world is to change the way we sell our products to women. She believes that the fashion industry as it stands now plays a major role in the negative influences out there that damage the way people perceive themselves. She hopes to one day become a designer for plus-sized women and an advocate for body-positive marketing in the fashion world.

Also by Catherine:

Haters Gonna Hate: Body Positive Superstar Nadia Afkhami

Check out this piece on battling body hate:

How About a Name Change for Fat-Talk Free Week?

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