Body-shaming: What gives people the right to judge?

Body-shaming: What gives people the right to judge?

I am in the business of upsetting people. I like controversial topics – breast-feeding, feminism, religion, you name it and I’ll run with it.
As a word in itself, controversy – like feminism – denotes a negative connotation, but to me, that’s not the case.
Controversy doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. It starts conversations, sparks discussions and encourages learning – whether people choose to do these things in a rational and constructive manner is entirely up to them.
Another topic to add to my list of fun things to talk about is physical appearance, specifically weight. This one isn’t so much controversial as it is fueled by people who have self-righteous opinions about other people.
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day and I came across a Buzzfeed article about the first plus-sized model on the front cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition.
Being a plus-sized woman myself, I was curious so I read the article and like I do after I read any article, I began to scroll through the comments – you can find some pretty entertaining stuff down there.
Unsurprisingly, most of the commenters were upset or confused by the magazine’s decision to feature a size-16 model.
I’ve heard all the same arguments that the commenters – many of whom were women – were spewing. “It’s funny that everybody thinks this fat chick is beautiful,” “I can’t believe they’re glorifying obesity like this,” “This is disgusting. Why are they putting her on the cover?”
It’s amazing how much people genuinely think they know just by looking at you.
These days, it seems like you can’t feel good about yourself without somebody coming in to rain on your metaphorical parade of body-image positivity.
Here’s where I get to put my fun little feminist spin on things. A few days later I was reading an article about one of the first plus-sized male models to be signed to a major modeling agency.
It’s actually really disappointing to see the difference between the comments on each article. On this article, commenters had entirely different opinions.
“Nothing wrong with a little extra to love,” “He’s perfect just the way he is,” “It’s so refreshing to see an average man as a model.”
The majority of people were happy about the male model, while the majority of people were outraged by the Sports Illustrated magazine cover. It’s actually sickening to see such blatant differences in the way men and women are treated for their appearances.
Newsflash – we’re all human beings. We all deserve to be accepted for who we are and what we look like. We shouldn’t have to please everybody with our appearances.
After a lifetime of constant bullying, body-shaming and weight lectures by school nurses, I’m finally getting to a place where I am comfortable with looking at myself in a mirror.
Yes, I’m plus-sized. If you don’t like it, don’t look at me. My health or appearance is really none of your concern anyway.

SAMANTHA GRISWOLD
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