‘Do you even eat?’
No, I live off air.
‘Have a second cupcake. It’s okay to have them occasionally.’ Sorry, do you know me? ‘Actually, you should eat all the cupcakes.’
Yes, because that’s sensible.
And, the last one.
‘You have an eating disorder’.
Where has common decency gone?
When did it become okay to comment freely on someone else’s body?
This is not a new thing, I know that. Anyone with access to any form of media knows that. But seriously, no one has the right to comment on another person’s body shape or appearance. Especially a stranger.
You have absolutely no idea about a person’s circumstances. Do you think asking me if I eat makes me feel good? Telling me to eat all these cupcakes? Not the slightest. I didn’t want to have a second cupcake, god forbid, because I’d eaten so much delicious treats the day prior and I didn’t feel like it. It had nothing to do with thinking I was going to get fat. This person who actually knows me clearly doesn’t know me. Anyway, do I have issues with my body? Absolutely. But can you really blame me?
In society today there is a lot of fat shaming and stigma against those with larger body weights. Hell, that happened to me and really, I wasn’t even that large. And now I’m experiencing the other end of the scale. Then, I’m a dietitian, so like, I must be skinny and never eat cake. But please, don’t get me started on the stigmas on professions.
I was speaking to my colleague Jess about this yesterday. It is something we speak about frequently and are both passionate about. In her words, what do I have to look like to receive no negative comments about my body shape?
Honestly, I have no idea. There is no ideal. ‘Ideal’ to some is not ‘ideal’ to others. We are all individuals after all.
Earlier this year, Ellen Page ‘came out’ at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s inaugural Time to Thrive conference. If you have not seen her speech, I suggest you take the time to listen or read the transcript. It was very, very good. One quote stood out to me, and has been saved in my phone since February.
“This world would be a whole lot better if we just made the effort to be less horrible to each other.”
Amen, girl. Amen.
Seriously. Our right to freedom of speech has been embraced and used successfully to do fabulous things. But I think we’ve also abused it. Instead of using it to advocate and impart our opinions and ideas on those who are willing to listen, many of us are guilty of using it to belittle others. Both unintentionally and intentionally. And quite frankly, it has to stop.
Australia’s 2007 national survey found that in Australians aged 11-24 years old, approximately 28% of males and 35% of females are dissatisfied with their appearance. The Australian Longitudinal study on women’s health found that only 22% of women within the healthy weight range were happy with their weight. 74% desired to weigh less, including 68% of healthy weight and 25% underweight women. And these body image concerns are even happening in children. Children. This is not good. But really with society today, it’s no bloody wonder it’s happening.
But I can’t tackle the magazine or television industry.
So I’m tackling you.
Because if you stop the criticism, maybe your friends will too and then it will have a domino effect. Yes, maybe high expectations but whatever, I don’t care. Let’s make this culture of judging another’s appearance not okay.
So, it’s time to go back to those age-old quotes we all know.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
You have absolutely no idea where a person is in their health and fitness journey.
You have no idea what that one meal is in the context of their overall diet either.
You just can’t.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it all.
You have the right to remain silent.