It’s easy to point fingers when it comes to body-shaming. Magazines can be guilty of overly Photoshopping their subjects. Tabloids frequently ask if a celebrity is pregnant with a food baby or an actual baby. Social media is a minefield of before and after pictures. If you’ve ever wondered if body-shaming is a real thing, the comments section will attest to its realness in a jiffy.
Body-shaming certainly has no shortage of occasions to rear its ugly little head. But, what if the culprit hits closer to home? There are times when even the most well-meaning of individuals, including yourself, can fall into the trap of judging another because of weight.
In lieu, how do you do?
In the Philippines, there seems to be a tacit agreement that commenting on weight is an acceptable way to greet someone. It’s a recurring joke that everyone has that one tita who always says that you gained weight before asking when you’re getting married or having kids. But, it’s not just the older generations who can be guilty of this. Instead of commenting on how much weight a friend has gained or lost—even if it’s meant as a compliment—try a more traditional greeting instead. There’s a reason why “How are you doing?” has been around for so long. It works wonders.
Passive Aggressive Moves
A chunk of food sits on the plate, beckoning those around it with its deliciousness. But it's the last piece, so there’s a bit of back and forth before it's decided who gets the final bite. You nudge it towards a friend who you have always thought of as having a big appetite. Generous deed of the day? More like a presumptuous move. Food can be a sensitive issue, especially when there are other people around. When we take it upon ourselves to make decisions for others on what they eat, or where, or how much, it can put them in an embarrassing situation.
Aggressive Aggressive Moves
You know that calling someone fat to their face is rude. But, do you roll your eyes when you see someone wearing denim cutoff shorts that you think are too short for her build? Are you dismissive of yoga instructors who are not long and lithe and choose to take another class instead? Body-shaming isn’t all about words. In fact, its most severe form is when it’s translated into action. Body language, such as smirks or shrugs, are never as subtle as you think and often, they are far more hurtful.
Body-shaming is a form of prejudice. If you can't see past arm circumference or the presence/absence of abs, it’s true that shame is in order. But no, the shame should not come from their end. Sorry, but not sorry to say, it’s all on you.