Is Body Shaming Ever OK?


If you don’t know who Lizzo is, you should. Her music has been all over the radio for the last few years. She is famous for her “truthful” (pun intended) lyrics, videos, and her flute. Look her up on Youtube and see for yourself.

Lizzo has recently come under attack for her body. Whether she is flaunting her frame in a thong at a Laker’s game or just in general, the media has thrown around some harsh criticisms. If she were just a regular person, would we even care? 

Reading these cruel articles makes me wonder, is body shaming ever okay? 

I believe that body-shaming begins with how we view our own bodies. 

My Body Image Story

As a woman who came of age in the ’80s and ’90s, I was hard-pressed to find any celebrity role models who looked like me. So rather than focus on fashion, I listened to music. I loved and (still love) Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Heart. These female artists’ confident lyrics gave me a little kick in my step. 

Still, I couldn’t ignore the bikini bodies featured on my daytime soaps and nighttime dramas like the original Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. These shows, along with ABC’s “after school dramas” about the dangers of bulimia and anorexia and the pressing social and cultural stigmas about bodyweight all became too much for me to manage.

The culmination of all this conflicting imagery and messaging coupled with having eczema made for a warped body image. For years, I hid under a mostly black wardrobe, because I was not confident about how my body looked. It wasn’t until I hit my thirties that I started embracing my body and dressing for me. 

Why Body-Shaming Is Never OK

If we can’t reconcile our own body image issues, how do we expect our children to? How do we stop the cycle? Let’s start by not body shaming others.

Before we say something negative, let’s think about whether it’s right to shame another person for how their body looks. Body-shaming others does not make us feel better about ourselves. It won’t make those last ten pounds disappear, regrow our thinning, or make our sagging breasts perky again. It’s a waste of time and energy. 

Rather than tearing others down, let’s lift each other up. Let’s encourage each other to be the best versions of ourselves. It’s so easy to be mean, but it takes gumption to be kind. Let’s be the examples of kind humans we want and expect our children to be. Let’s begin by being kind to ourselves. 

Let’s take our inspiration from our children, who accept us as we are, flaws and all. 

As for me, I am going to do as Lizzo sings: I am going to “feel good as hell” about me and make sure my two daughters do the same too.  

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