It’s Time to Shred the Shame
By Zoe Ross-Nash--“Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama and doll t*ts...” – Tina Fey, Bossypants
I stumbled upon this quote while scrolling through Instagram, procrastinating doing the assigned reading for the Eating Disorder, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention class I was enrolled in (Sorry, Professor Herman!).
The quote pinpoints the distorted concept of the “ideal body” society has constructed. It is unrealistic, unobtainable and insurmountable. It influences us in deeper ways than we realize. I am an advocate of body love and acceptance, yet I had two friends come over to help me find an outfit that was the most slimming for a movie date.
Young girls think they’re “only pretty when skinny” because we have applications on our phones to whiten our teeth, clear our skin and slim our waistline. Women are afraid to go to swimming pools, fearful of wearing a bathing suit. Men won’t go to public gyms, terrified of judgment and comparison. Young women and girls are subjected to such scrutiny about appearance during a transitional period; it can be incredibly detrimental to their self-esteem and mental health.
It affects each and every one of us; it’s become ingrained in our thoughts through Fitspo or Thinspo Instagram accounts and photos of models that are only printed after two hours of digital editing. These insecurities do not discriminate against age, weight, sexuality, ethnicity or socioeconomic class. So why do we hold ourselves to these unobtainable standards? Why do we torment ourselves when we can’t reach them?
Why are we shameful when we are so deserving of acceptance?
With the help of a few classmates and a phenomenal mentor and teacher, I founded Shred the Shame to end the taboo topic of body insecurity. A similar concept to the ALS bucket challenge, #shredtheshame encourages courageous individuals to write an insecurity about their body on a piece of paper. They then post a video of them ripping up the paper, symbolizing breaking free from negative stereotypes and thoughts. Not only does this allow others to see that everyone, no matter their body type, is subject to insecurities but also the project also promotes self-love and acceptance. The individual is then encouraged to tag three others and like the Shred the Shame page. The page offers daily facts about eating disorders that encourages more awareness and connects people with the NEDA website.
The response was immense. Videos using the hashtag poured in. Men and women posted videos and were radiant in their decision to #shredtheshame. Over 4,000 people engaged with our page. Silent strugglers found their voice, those who were unaware of the magnitude of the effect of an eating disorder were enlightened when we posted facts, such as eating disorders claim the lives of eight times more people than breast cancer and is the single most deadly mental disease.
Check out the video here. Join the movement, Shred the Shame.