Fat or skinny, short or tall, athletic or squishy, in 2016 there is little chance that you will be able to escape the running commentary that is ‘bodies’. Your body is the only one to be concerned about. The only one. But that’s not the way it is for most people. So today, I want to talk to you about how you deal with other people talking about your body. Talking about it, weighing in and giving opinions like they own it or something. Which collectively, I think they do.
But they don’t.
Let’s get clear about that now. You are the owner of your body. The way it looks, gets used, exists and the things it does are all up to you. You’re the boss. The ONLY boss. Your body is not a democracy; it’s a dictatorship and you, my friend, are the all-powerful dictator of things. There is no one external to you that has any say over your body. No one.
The question about dealing with other people’s conversation about your body came to be framed as how to handle fat-shaming. But these tips will work for fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, body shaming in general, slut-shaming and a whole raft of other things. Shame man, let’s kick its ass.
Which brings me to point number one; you cannot be swayed by the unsolicited opinion of others.
Know in your gut that YOU are in charge of your body and can use it in whatever way you see fit. You are the boss. And if you are the boss, why are you letting people tell you what to do? Be a boss. Stand proudly for who you are and embrace that you don’t have to change a thing about you to be worthy of respect and space to exist.
When dealing with the conversation about your body, my next tip is to be blunt, be direct and be a smart-ass. You don’t owe anyone a ‘nice’ reaction to others conversation about your body. While I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, we can all be awkward and say stupid things sometimes; I like to call people out too. Tell them, or remind them in an indirect way, that my body is MY business, not theirs.
When a stranger said I was tall, I entered sassy mode and asked too tall for what?
A large man once asked if I was going to fit in an aeroplane seat, I stood up to my full height, squared my shoulders and said, are you? When my nephew called me fat to get a reaction out of the congregated group of adults, I told him he was NOT entitled to talk about my body. I mean, you can’t (can you?) tell a kid to fuck off, right?
When you start to believe that you have the right to exist in your body, you will find it easier to stand up for yourself. Even in a situation where you may not hold power (at work, in a professional setting or with your darn elders). Remember, when it comes to your body, you do. You always do.
But you know what, maybe you won’t always be great and champion your body. Sometimes you might want to cry, actually yell fuck off, or just stand there with your mouth open. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t react the way you wanted to at the moment. Comments can catch you off guard and shock you, especially in a professional or service based setting.
So be upset if you want to be. Honour your feelings.
Whatever it is, let it out and don’t hold it as moooore evidence that your body is wrong. It’s the world that’s wrong. A world constructed entirely of the one idea of what is healthy, attractive or even suitable that sucks. People who buy into this idea and shove it down the throats of others are wrong. It is entire industries built on this idea of keeping women small and hungry, so they know their place that is so, so, sooooo wrong.
It’s not you, and it never was. As hard as it seems sometimes, you have to dust yourself off and stand tall. Feel sorry for those sad ass ladies and gents that think that there is only one way to have a body. I do that on a regular basis, after all how brainwashed do you have to be to shame and attack another person for their body? The answer, in case you are wondering, is VERY.
Educate them if you can.
But only if you feel like you have space to be able to do that. Show them that their way of looking at things isn’t the only one. Remind them that actually, they have no right to discuss your body, it’s not theirs, it doesn’t impact them! Unless you’re sitting on them, then probably wait until you’re done with that before you bring that up. Haha. Each conversation that you have like that shifts something and piece by piece you become your ally.
You have to be on your side. That’s the long and the short of it. Stand by the body that supports you, literally sustains you, in the face of whatever may come your way. Be able to tell those with unwelcome chatter about your body to get lost, even if it’s just in your mind, for now. Be on YOUR side. Fight for yourself and for what you’re trying to achieve regarding body love. Forget them.
The sooner, the better, trust me on that.
How do you deal with body shaming? Take to the comments and share a story or experience with us. Let’s stand together and say this rubbish isn’t okay.
Join the Confident You Body Confidence challenge starting December 1st, for more information or to sign up head to the announcement post.
Chief Blogger at Suger Coat It; An Australian lifestyle blog for women who work for themselves. Melissa is a social media consultant & lover of stripes. Most weekends you’ll find her at the beach or home on the veranda kicking back. Around here, they call her Suger. Feel free to do the same.