Sunday, February 26, 2012

Don't shame thin bodies, duh

You do not empower one person by oppressing another person. In the body acceptance movement - all bodies are accepted, period. 

This is NOT the answer. 
Sometimes in an attempt to empower people with fatter bodies, thinner bodies are put down. I have seen memes similar to the one above circulating Facebook and Tumblr. Memes like this are counterproductive to the body acceptance movement. I was glad to see this refute a few days later.

Phew, that is better.
Lets travel back to visit high school Ashley to learn more about accepting all bodies. 

 In high school I attended an event called Challenge Day. I know many schools around the country host these events, and it was even featured on MTV. This was a really powerful event for me, and I am glad more students get to have this experience.

Pink-haired 15 year old Ashley 
Challenge Day at my school included a "cross the line" activity. Statements were proposed and if you identified with the statement, you "crossed the line" by taking a step forward. The question was asked, have you ever been teased because of the the size or shape of your body?

The words stung as memories of being taunted on playgrounds, boys mockingly flirting with me to get a rise out of their friends, and being pelted with crab apples while walking home from school flooded my mind. I took a big step forward. I then looked from side to side and was suprised to see who had also crossed the line with me. A thin, blonde cheerleader stood on the other side of the line, tears streaming down her face. I had always thought she was so beautiful, how could she have possibly experienced the shaming that I did? There had even been times I assumed that if I had her body, all the pain I had felt from bullying would disappear. But then I remembered boys mocking her flat chest, height, and thin "boney" legs in the school hallways. I guess our experiences with our bodies were more similar than I thought.

I wanted to hug her that day but I never did. Therefore, I dedicate this post to anyone who has ever felt shamed about their body. This blog post is like an "internet hug" to all those who have ever felt like either of us did not that day. Be reminded no one should be shamed for being too big, too small, for having too many rolls, not enough breasts or the excess/absence of any other body part. This is an internet hug to any person who has ever felt devalued because of the treatment of others in response to their body.

Be reminded, ALL people and all bodies are valuable.

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