What is beauty?

Beauty isn’t physical. Judging a person on their outside features is like judging a book by its cover. What is on the outside doesn’t reflect the true beauty of a person. True beauty is about having a kind heart and beautiful mind.

I remember working in a warehouse as a teenager, looking at this guy I thought was handsome. One day, we ended up eating at the same table. The more he spoke the uglier he became. My view of his physical beauty changed with each idiotic word that came out of his mouth.

Fat-Shaming is Abuse

For decades now, society has had an obsession with weight. From early childhood and throughout life, women receive a lot of pressure to be thin and this pressure comes from so many directions (Family, Friends, Teachers, Advertisement, Media, etc.).

Fat women on the internet endure systemic prejudice, bias, violent and abusive comments simply because of their size. Fat-shaming is deep, rampant and extremely damaging.

“You should stop eating. Anorexia could be good for you. Being slim is the best body type. No ones like fat girls.” – Anonymous trolls.

“Obesity is extraordinarily unattractive to 99% of the population. You are visually repulsive.” – Anonymous troll

Of course, being beautiful according to society standard is primordial and failing to follow the rules makes it okay for every stranger hiding behind their keyboards to send you to hate, abusive messages and threats of violence or death. (heavy on sarcasm)

These inappropriate comments start from a frighteningly your age and then we wonder why so many women hate their bodies.

“Your breasts aren’t real. They’re just fat.” – Ramanda Rox recounts what she was told when she was 8 years old.

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Fat-shaming often comes disguised as a concern or helpful advice, but the impact is always the same. For those who use the excuse that they are simply looking out for the individual’s personal health and well-being, health is incredibly complex and individual. It certainly not up for discussion with strangers on the internet. A thin person might look healthy but it doesn’t mean they are. You may assume that a fat person is unhealthy, but you may be wrong.

When I got diagnosed with Graves’ Disease (a genetic autoimmune illness) and Hyperthyroidism (caused by Graves’ Disease), the first thing the doctor told me is that my weight was a symptom of the illness, not the cause. Some will argue that Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism makes you thin, not fat. Unfortunately, that’s not quite true for everyone. Approximately 80% of sufferers do lose weight as a result, the other 20% gain weight. Neither side is good. Both are still struggling with the same illness. Weight has nothing to do with the illness.

In both cases, drinking water and eating healthy isn’t going to change a thing when it comes to weight.

My own mother inquired if the lower limb weakness and pain I felt was caused by weight issues. Even after relating the information I received from the doctors, she still thought losing 10-20 pounds would magically solve all my issues because that’s what she has learned from childhood. I do not remember my mother not hating her body or not being on a diet. She is forever worried of what people will think. It’s not healthy.

She is still holding on to an old picture of me during a very difficult period of my life when I was eating 5 carbohydrates a day. I wasn’t healthy at all, yet that’s the image that people liked the most. Granted, my eating habits to get that thin isn’t something I shared with anyone. The point is no one knew I was sick. You can’t tell from looking at someone.

“Go fuck yourself you fugly. You’re the worst kind of peice of shit. You’re fucking pathetic. I hope you die. I hope someone stabs you in the throat while you sleep. I legitimately hope someone murders you in your sleep. I hope that happens. I truly do. I want it to.” – Anonymous

Nobody deserves those types of comments and nobody should have to tolerate it. The shame and stigma directed toward a larger individual aren’t justified.

We should all reflect on how our words and our actions affect people. We need to ask ourselves whether our opinion is relevant, especially when no one asked for it.

Body Mass Index – Poor Indicator of Health

As recently confirmed by one of my doctors, fat isn’t the synonym for unhealthy. When it comes to defining what body weight is considered healthy, one type of measurement does not fit all. There are too many factors that will determine health: genetics, race, gender, environment, etc. The Body Mass Index is simply not a very accurate measure.

For one person, weight can cause health issues and in another, it will not. Ever heard the expression: “Here’s another one who will die healthy.”? Being thin or fit doesn’t mean you won’t have heart disease or cancer.

Research has shown that obesity can be a major risk for diabetes type 2, heart disease and death, yet, research has also shown that being overweight can improve survival of heart failure, kidney failure and other chronic diseases.

Having a great metabolism and being able to eat whatever you want without gaining weight is usually a sign that you have health issues and should have your doctor do a complete check up.

There are lots of reasons why someone gains weight, it’s not always all about food choices.

running-498257_1920Telling someone to exercise can be dangerous. I was a full year under strict instruction not to exercise at all due to heart and muscle issues that would have killed me if I tried to exercise like a healthy person. You cannot know what is good for someone simply by looking at them. There is no one “size” fit all when it comes to health.

Any stranger who will pass comments or judgement on someone because of their weight is being an asshole. Do not tell me you are doing it over “concern” for their health. Are you mean to thin people eating junk? First of all, the health of a stranger is none of your concern. I’m pretty sure that if we were to look at your lifestyle we would find unhealthy habits there.

As a person who has experience both extreme in health. I can tell you that I was at my unhealthiest at a time where most people were giving me compliments on my weight. I wasn’t eating, but people didn’t care because I looked good according to society standard. I am now overweight (not obese yet), but I also don’t have a functioning thyroid anymore and still not on replacement medication. So you could say that I’m fat and unhealthy. The problem is the being fat wasn’t the cause of the unhealthy. It was genetics and race that got me. Fat is the temporary effect of the illness, which will go away once I am on the proper medication.

Beauty Standards

audience-1840941_1920Beauty standards are ridiculous and completely invented by a beauty industry who doesn’t care about the women it sells to as long as they are making profit and people are falling for it.

In January they started selling tape so that women will tape the back of their necks and look like they just had a neck lift. It’s supposed to make you look thinner and younger. I laughed when I first saw it and shook my head wondering who would actually do this, but the website shows that they are actually sold out and have been doing quite a profit with this new idea on the backs of women who feel bad in their own skin.

“To all the girls that thing you’re fat because you’re not a size zero. You’re the beautiful one. It’s society who’s ugly.” – Marilyn Monroe

Are we so fixated on body image that we would actually do this to ourselves? Is creating an illusion better than living with what we have? Why can’t we just love our bodies the way we are? Why do we keep buying into these fake fashion/beauty standards?

Can you imagine how much money the beauty industry would stand to lose if we stopped letting them make us feel inadequate?

“Beauty is how you feel inside and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” – Sophia Loren

Beauty Magazines are laughing at us

Beauty magazines are filled with much more advertising pages than with actual content. There is very little substance to those type of magazine and yet, they make so much money. They have companies paying them to put ads in their magazines and people purchasing their magazines. Yet, a very little budget is put on writing actual articles.

adult-1868049_1920The ads are filled with pictures of women and men that have been ridiculously modified with airbrushing and Photoshop setting an unrealistic standard of beauty instead of catering to individuals of all shape, sizes and colours.

A Bradley University study has shown that the majority of women and teenage girls looking at these magazines feel worst about themselves afterwards.

Sadly, there is an enormous industry built on fostering self-hate in girls and women. We are continually told that we need to change ourselves. This industry creates and profits from our self-dislike.

For example, fashion magazines use slender models and present them as plus size.  This should not only piss off women. Any man on the planet who has had to reassure his perfectly healthy and proportioned woman she’s not fat because fashion magazines perpetuate this idea in her head that she’s plus size should also be taking offence.

Waist Trainers (Corsets) – History Repeating

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Maybe it’s because I studied history in school, but corset was a fashion trend that killed women. Why are we bringing them back? Shouldn’t we know better?!

The act of donning a waist trainer / corset because they squeeze the organs inside your body like you squeeze toothpaste from the tube. This means it can cause internal bleeding. Is beauty more important than health? Is it worth causing internal damage?

They also had deformed babies, or couldn’t carry them to term because their organs got all malformed. Waist trainers are just stupidly dangerous. For me the most discouraging part of this story is that history is repeating once again. As a society, we haven’t learned from our mistakes. This is truly depressing.

Body Positivity

encourage-866734_1920I’m posting this in January because numerous people make New Year’s resolution to lose weight or shape up. Most of us do so for the wrong reasons.

Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colour. This is why representation is so important. We need to see a greater variety of beautiful women and men.

Don’t let society label you.

Everyone going around judging people on their weight using the “it’s not healthy for you” argument unless you are that person’s doctor, you don’t know nothing about that person’s health and well-being. Being fat or thin isn’t an indicator for being unhealthy or assurance of good health either. Even if a person is fat and unhealthy, they still deserve to be treated with the same level of decency as anyone else, healthy or otherwise. They are still human beings with thoughts and feelings. Respect shouldn’t be elitist.

“You can judge my body all you want, but at the end of the day it’s MY body.I love it & I’m comfortable in my skin.” – Simone Biles, Olympic Champion

My parents raised me to be respectful of others, not to judge and to keep quiet if you don’t have anything good to say. It seems that more and more individuals think that it’s perfectly acceptable to criticise others freely and openly. A woman like Simone Biles has achieved more than most of us have and her accomplishments apparently mean nothing to certain people unless she is also their kind of “pretty”.

adult-1869430_1920I saw my mother struggle with body acceptance all of her life. I struggled with it for a long time and I want to make sure that my kids grow up feeling positive about their bodies. Let us remember that children are listening to all of the post-holiday fat talks and absorbing our body hating moments.

I want us to stop punishing ourselves for a body that doesn’t look like the ones we are told we should have.

I remember shopping with a friend who is on the opposite scale as me and we both hated walking into clothing boutique because neither of us could find clothes that fit properly. It was then that I realise that much of the industry is built around one body shape and we are all trying to fit the mould, instead of fashion companies doing their jobs and creating clothes for every shape and size. In fact, fashion, beauty and diet industries make billions off physical insecurities.

Here’s a list of song I really like that promote body positivism:

 

A Mighty Girl also has a list of books on body positivism from childhood to teenage years.

 

 

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