I am pleased to have the opportunity to share my friend Moni’s words with you today. She is a fellow blogger I respect and appreciate very much.  

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Let’s get something straight: Body shaming is body shaming no matter what size the person wears.

Being “naturally thin” means that people think it’s appropriate to chide me about what I am or am not eating, being a “skinny bitch” they “hate,”  how my pants are fitting today, or how uncomfortable it must be to rest on such a bony ass.

As a teen, I just wished everyone would stop looking at my body. Grown women would lament about how everything must fit so perfect (naturally if things didn’t fit, I assumed something was wrong with me), and how it “must be so nice.” Family members would pinch my stomach and laugh at the “fat.” Fellow students called me a toothpick with balloon boobs.

By 16, I caved to the pressure of remaining thin and I took medication to suppress my appetite and began a medically unsustainable  diet. The best thing that came of that was fainting at school, which scared me into stopping.

A blood test in my late twenties revealed that I had extremely high triglycerides and cholesterol. My numbers were so off the charts, I was in imminent danger of having a stroke. Finally, I began taking care of myself.

By 29, I was in the best shape of my life, and pregnant. I felt amazing and continued using the gym until my doctor stopped me at eight months. I didn’t worry about gaining weight, despite several comments about how I would finally be “fat like the rest of us.”

I gained double the doctor’s recommended healthy pregnancy weight, which still didn’t bother me until after my daughter was born. Here I had a perfect baby girl and some suggested that regaining my thin physique was what I should be most concerned with.

Shamed, I fell into bad habits. I ate so little that I was temporarily unable to breastfeed. I started eating again but remained ruthless in my self-image. I regret wasting time as a new mom worrying about weight.

With the last of the pounds refusing to budge, I started doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a form of grappling martial arts. This is where I learned the value of physical strength, regardless of body shape or size. It didn’t matter how “hot” some women’s bodies were off the mat if they couldn’t hold an opponent in guard. Strong women became my heroes instead of entertainers.

Your body will never be what society thinks it should be. From “heroin chic,” to MMA muscled mamas, to Kardashian curves, your body type will never please everyone.

I could go into clichés about your body image being all about how you feel, but really it’s about what it can do: Are you healthy enough to walk as far as you desire, compete at the level you want, breastfeed if you choose, carry your children and their bags, swim one hundred miles, stand all day at your job, or enjoy an entire weekend on the couch? If your body can keep up with whatever your mind sets out to accomplish, stop giving a damn about size. The numbers are fucking meaningless. We all have our gifts, and the package doesn’t matter.

Moni Barrette is a full-time librarian, full-time mommy and part-time crazy person. Whatever other time she has, she spends blogging about parenting and lifestyle over at Rebel Mony. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

9 Comments

  1. Pingback: [Guest Post] The Skinny On Body Shaming - Rebel Mony: Life, Amplified!

  2. Thank you, Moni. I confess to looking at smaller people and thinking that they have it so easy, when I know that is not the case. We spend so much time looking at the package, like you said. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Thank you for reading, Lynne! I admit I’m guilty of the package thing too-I was coveting my daughter’s beautiful long legs (she is going to be TALL) but I kept myself from mentioning it to her. IF she chooses to play sports, then I will just say “good thing you have strong running legs” and try to leave it at that.

  3. YES YES YES. I am so glad you wrote this, Moni. I have been this girl for much of my life as well–someone whose body is often the topic of discussion simply because I’m considered by some to be “thin.” That intense focus on my physical appearance also had horrible repercussions for me–I was bulimic for 6 years, believing that being thin was my best, if not only, redeeming quality. With the help of counseling and Crossfit where I learned to see my body as strong and capable rather than weak and useless, I finally got to a point where I’m happy with my body and myself. I’m so glad you did as well. I think this is hard for women who are considered thin to talk about–I’ve written about it a couple times (One of the posts from many many years ago was titled, “Why I Don’t Consider ‘Skinny Bitch’ a Compliment..so I had to nod my head when I read that line in this post) but I always worry that it’ll be taken the wrong way and that people don’t feel I deserve to complain about their seemingly well-meaning comments. Thanks for writing such a thought-provoking piece…clearly I have a lot to say about it!!

  4. I’m so sorry you had to go through all this, but happy to hear you made it out the other side! I would so LOVE to try Crossfit, it seems like such a community. And you’re right, it’s hard to put this out there when there are so many women who think thin is the best body type. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  5. First of all, I LOVE Moni!
    Second, this is something that needs to be said and shared. It is not okay to make comments about someone’s body, no matter what size they come in. Great post.

    • OMG Jill loves me (fans self)! You are absolutely awesome, and thank you for reading!

  6. You’re Smashley! I’ve heard so many great things about you. Thank you for reading, and I will be checking out your blog too!

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