November 10 2017
When you think of a healthy person, what do you picture? Glowing skin, bright eyes, athletic and thin of course! One common theme in that image is that the person is definitely slender. One has to question whether this image is more realistic or idealistic and those two things could get mixed up very easily. So I am going to guess that this probably makes you associate anyone who is overweight, chubby or fat to be unhealthy right? While in many ways living an unhealthy lifestyle can result in gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, to assume that healthy people look rather homogeneous is actually more than just a bit harmful. Truth be told, there is no right or wrong way to be healthy. Some people are big, some people are small, a lot of people fall in between as well, if they are healthy and that is how they look, they need to be respected.
I am sure a lot of you readers have heard of and/or experienced body shaming or have even done it yourselves and it needs to stop. For those of you who are not sure of what I am talking about, body shaming is making critical, typically negative and generally unwarranted and unwanted comments about a person’s body size, shape and/or weight. It is so easy to assume that a large person is just lazy or gluttonous, or that a really athletic woman cannot be feminine or is on steroids, or that a man with a bit of a gut is lazy and weak, or that a really thin person is starving away their insecurities without much thought that it is wrong to do this; especially since the society we live in encourages this behaviour. Research would strongly suggest that people of vastly varying body sizes and weight can be perfectly healthy and even athletic. If you do not have a heart problem, circulation problem, digestive problem or something along those lines, your size does not really matter.
There is also the cultural impact that comes with body shaming. Probably one of the most common forms of body shaming would be fat shaming. For an incredibly long time (especially in Judeo-Christian culture) being big has always been seen as synonymous with gluttony and laziness. So many people take it upon themselves to just assume a person’s health without even knowing them just based on how they look which is based on societal conditioning that dictates that we should judge a person at surface value if they do not meet some sort of unrealistic societal expectation. Here is a little advice from one friend to another, stop judging a body that is not yours. Not only do you come off as incredibly mean and shallow but it is a total waste of your energy and mental capacity. Maybe rather than assume who a person is based off of physical appearance, you could question your need to pass judgement on someone else’s body. In the end, body shaming is another unhealthy habit that society really needs to do away with, it will take time to break the mentality but once we do, we will become a healthier people.