Em-URGE-ing Voices

Your urgent thoughts, urging action

Body Shaming One Ad at a Time

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March 11, 2014

While much of the country is still covered in snow and ice, here in the Sunshine State the temperatures are slowly on the rise. And with summer already looming in the distance, there is excitement as well as nervousness in the air. As people push the idea of “summer beach bodies,” a lot of heavier people, like myself, are much more keen to slip on t-shirt before we go swimming.

I understand the fear. The fear of showing your body because you aren’t comfortable with it sometimes overshadows our desire to have fun doing things we enjoy. And we allow ourselves to become slaves of a mindset that tells us that only certain body types can wear this or that, and only certain body types are good enough to be seen. And with seemingly every company photoshopping their bathing suit models, morale is a hard thing to keep up.

In the image above we can see just how far it has gone. The woman in the photo has been made disproportionate and unrealistic by a company meant to sell clothing. The bodies being presented as ideal to the population don’t actually exist. Meanwhile young girls are looking at their own thighs in the mirror and wondering why they can’t be beautiful.

This has to stop.

Clothing chains are engaged in a game of controlling women, whether they realize it or not.  They play a game of ownership with the bodies of young women, as well as young men. The bodies deemed acceptable, indeed bodies that do not actually exist outside of photoshop, are displayed with perfectly-fitting, stylish clothes. While bodies deemed unacceptable are forced into clothing not meant for their bodies. There is virtually no understanding of what makes overweight people, as well as trans people, comfortable with their own bodies. And as a result of this we are raised to believe we are wrong. And those who are comfortable in their bodies are met with a slew of attacks on our confidence and persons.

I just want to take a moment to tell readers who may not be comfortable with their bodies this: you are you and you are the one who gets to decide if you love your body or not. It is not a bad thing to love your body and it is certainly not a bad thing want to change it. You control your body, not some marketing team.

Our bodies have been ruled by others for hundreds of years. They have been judged, bared for all to see, covered up to hide from the world, called filthy, called temples, and so much more. Our bodies have not been ours for very long, in the grand scheme of recorded history. And to take our bodies back is a challenge. It starts with our own minds. I really encourage everyone to wake up one day and decide that you are the hottest shit to hit the streets. That decision is so much more about your own self-worth than it is about how beautiful or attractive you are to others.

And I firmly believe we are worth so much more than the message the image above sends to young women, cisgender and transgender alike.

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