Body shaming doesn’t just happen to overweight people, and it’s never okay.
Most of my clients are female, so this is something I’ve encountered quite a bit in my 13 years as a personal trainer and this issue has always made me pretty furious.
Today I’m going to explain why it’s complete bulls**t.
We live in a society which tells us if somebody is overweight and/or unhealthy we must hail them as a “real woman”. But if someone is slim? Or goes to the gym on a regular basis?
She’s a stick insect. A fitness freak.
Have you encountered this before? Let me know in the comments.
The social media comments and the barrage of magazine articles declaring a weight loss crisis, or asking “What’s wrong with her?” has been f**king ridiculous.
- OMG! Why has she lost all of her curves!?!
- She must have an eating disorder!
- She’s too skinny now, she doesn’t look like a ‘real’ woman anymore!
Ironically, this type of nonsense is the exact bullying mentality that gives people eating disorders.
If you offend really easily, stop reading at this point.
It seems we live in a society which tells us to cheer unhealthy people and boo fit people, so we can all hide behind our insecurities.
But imagine how insulting it feels to go to work, give birth to kids, and look after your health, only to be told you are “not a real woman..”
The girls I train in the gym are total beasts, and they can out-work most of the guys! Heck, take a look at the leaderboard for my latest rowing machine challenge (women more than hold their own).
So at what stage does she lose her “real woman” card?
And is it around the same stage you gained your “insecure asshole” card?
F**k you and your attitude.
Who the hell gets to decide what a so-called real woman looks like anyway?
Is it that friend we all have, who sits there acting smug while passing out judgement on other people’s appearances because she’s so so happy with how she looks?
Let me tell you, despite the bravado, those people are the most insecure of the bunch! Constantly posting bitchy comments online and needing ‘likes’ to get through the day.
A woman isn’t determined by her looks. A real woman has character, resolve, kindness and drive. Absolutely nothing to do with what size dress she wears.
But it tells you a lot about the person saying it.
What are we supposed call this phenomenon of shaming people who wanted to lose weight and, God forbid, went out and did it?
Is it “reverse body shaming”?
No. Let’s not dress it up any other way, the fact is it’s body shaming coming from people who would be double-quick to cry foul if they were ever the targets.
Make no mistake, telling someone “You look ill, you should eat more” is just as bad (and just as douche-y) as “You’ve piled on the pounds, haven’t you?”
Because everyone is going through their own private bulls**t, and in an age where words come easier than ever thanks to our thumbs being in constant contact with a touch screen, it makes sense to take a few seconds to consider our words before we totally ruin someone’s day.
Female fitness pro’s (and bodybuilders) are another easy target in this area.
They are so often subjected to ridicule for the way they look (despite the crazy work ethic it takes to get there, which is often lacking in the people doing the criticizing), and rather than stoop to the same level as their haters, they fill their social media feeds with motivational content encouraging their followers to strive to reach their goals. This should be admired, not mocked.
Body shaming is wrong regardless of whether it happens to a slim lady or an overweight lady, and it is most certainly still body shaming regardless of what the intended target looks like.
It really baffles me that we will put out this false representation of ourselves saying “Accept who you are, just be yourself, everything is OK” if you are overweight and happy (it is, by the way), but so easily attack somebody for making a decision to lose weight.
Because at the end of the day, it’s nobody else’s damn business!
Being confident in your body is not directly about being overweight or slim. It’s all about your own happiness. If you are not happy with how you look, and want to make changes, I don’t see the point in playing some silly charade of pretending to be happy and jolly. Just go to work on your goals.
Screw the haters.
If you are starting out on your own journey, get ready to encounter this nonsense along the way. It’s part of our culture, even though it’s wrong. And, ironically, these negative comments will probably be sent your way by people who are the first ones to cry “discrimination!” if someone says anything bad about their physique.
The people who say you call themselves a “real woman” while putting others down are usually so tied up in their own self-importance that they don’t really deserve your time anyway.
There is nothing wrong with building a great body and living a healthy lifestyle, no matter what anybody claims. Learn to stop giving a f**k what people think about you.
Don’t post memes about it on Facebook, though.
That’s a sure sign that you absolutely do give a f**k.
If you enjoyed this article, share it! And if you maybe like my teaching style, jump on my free email list in the box below for more training tips!