Am I the right size?

Friday, October 23, 2015

By Maryleigh Sharp

A report on body image prepared by a United Kingdom parliamentary subcommittee states, “70 percent of adult women and 40 percent of adult men have felt pressure from television and magazines to have a perfect body.”

These statistics should not be a surprise when the media pressures us to be this “certain” image.

Nearly every magazine, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest promise the results of a flat tummy or perfect skin. They are portraying something is wrong with the way we look and that we are supposed to have Taylor Swift’s legs, Kim Kardashian’s butt, and Jennifer Aniston’s arms.

Since the early 19th century, we have been trying to achieve a certain image of what society deems beautiful, yet it has become an uproar now more than ever.

Body shaming, according to the Macmillan Dictionary, is the practice of criticizing people publicly for being too fat, or less frequently, too thin.

I engage in body shaming on a daily basis.

I feel pressured every time I look in the mirror to see if I am too curvy, ugly, or unfashionable because of the ideal or unrealistic images social media portrays.

I go to the gym and lift just to make sure this “curvy” look does not make me a statistic, but a resolution.

This is a problem I struggle with and others do too.

According to WebMD journalist Denise Mann, “The next time one of your friends asks if he or she looks like they put on some weight, you may want to consider being honest with them — even if the answer is yes.”

I understand that gaining and losing weight can have health risks, yet I don’t agree with Mann at all. You can be a confident, 250-pound male or female. You can still go out on a date and be who you want to be.

It’s okay to eat a donut and five McDonald’s double cheeseburgers in the same day.

Even though this is considered unhealthy, as long as you aren’t doing the same thing everyday I think you are okay to have a cheat day.

I want to feel confident and beautiful in my body.

The way I accomplished this was by following the advice in a Huffington Post article titled “7 Ways to Deal with Body-Negative People in your Life.” And I would like to share those tips now.

First, opt out of the gossip. It’s easy to get tangled up in a cycle of gossip about body shaming when it’s a daily activity in your circle of friends. But

instead of spreading cruel words about friends, because of the way we look at school or even in their new Facebook profile picture, spread compassionate words about each other. Even if you are not too comfortable telling your friends to stop, you have the option to walk out of the conversation.

Second, surround yourself with positive people. The best thing about having friends is that they can be helpful and make you happy. If you can compliment your friend once a day and tell them that are beautiful or look nice, imagine how much better they can feel.

Third, tell someone how you feel. Feelings are always hard to tell someone, especially when you can’t find the right words to say. But, like in any relationship, honesty is the key to holding everything together.

Fourth, remember that body shaming is a form of bullying. Making fun of someone because of what they’re wearing, how they look, or how much they weigh is a form of bullying. Be a part of something much bigger and stop the problem before it even gets started.

Fifth, embrace your body and choose your own path. The most important thing to remember everyday is that you have the power to decide what you want to do with your life. You have to love yourself first before you can let anyone else love you. So it’s important to make others feel loved so that we don’t get lost in all the flaws that we think we have. Remember: no one can take away your pride unless you allow it.

Sixth, distance yourself from the world, if necessary. I have locked myself in my room and turned off all electronics just to get some time to myself. If your friends keep making youfeelbadaboutnotjoininginonthe gossip, maybe you need to rethink your friends.

Finally, if you see someone developing a disorder, get them help or tell an adult. If someone starts to care a lot about his or her weight and you notice him or her not eating, call the Eating Disorder Hotline 1-855- 585-3146.Ifsomeoneisthinkingabout suicide or has depression, call 1-800- 273-TALK.

Since following these steps, I have been getting better about body shaming myself or others. It’s not easy to stop, but by pulling back a little each day, you can achieve it.

After all, “You don’t encourage people to take care of their body by telling them to hate it,” said Laci Green, a partner with Planned Parenthood and MTV.

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