Imagine stepping off an airplane and the first familiar face that you see pinches your tummy and says “Wow, you’ve gained weight.” OR walking into an office to greet a former coworker who exclaims “You’ve really put on.” OR visiting the grandma who ALWAYS makes it a point to tell you, your sisters & nieces that y’all are big… (mind you, NONE of these folks are “small”)
When I saw a post that said: “Dear black people, ‘you have gained weight’ is not a greeting.” It really resonated in my spirit because those scenarios above have been my life. Let me start by saying that I have never been a skinny chick, but my athletic body type does have some fat layers in addition to the muscles. Those who know me know that I am consistently active (running, weightlifting, kickboxing, etc.) and nutritiously I try to limit junk food, fast food, and all that other nonfood crap people around me seem to enjoy. In fact, I’m somewhere around a vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan depending on my mood for that day although personally I know I could do better. BUT honestly, none of this matters because your unsolicited comments about my body are none of your damn business. I said what I said.
The dictionary defines body shaming as “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.” In my experience with body shamers, let’s just call them BSers from here, they are usually just projecting their insecurities on me and you. But wait, don’t get this confused with people who are genuinely concerned if we have gained a bunch a weight! These people do not shame us. These are the friends who know our story/life and will have real come to Jesus talks with us. Here, I’m specifically talking about the folks who don’t know us like that and have the audacity to speak on something that does not concern them. The BSers don’t know our emotional struggles and how we couldn’t keep it together long enough to make it to the gym for a while. The BSers don’t know our health issues and how things could be out-of-whack internally causing the appearance of weight issues. The BSers don’t know our mental struggles and how that food kept us from suicide long enough for us to seek professional help. The BSers don’t know our physical struggles and how laying in the bed or Netflix ’n chilling on the couch was all that we could do because the pain was so bad. It’s simply. The BSers don’t know B.S. about us and our struggles and they ain’t here to offer a helping hand to us because if they were, then they would not be trying to shame us.
So if you’re a BSer, guilty of body shaming others, I’m asking you to change your ways. It is not your responsibility to tell others that they have gained weight…in fact, first take the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly that commenting on other people’s body shape or size ain’t none of your business (Matthew 7:5 stassi’s translation).
This is MY body.
You can NOT shame me.