This is a piece of creative fiction.
The sun rose in the morning as I awoke, realizing I had to face another day of torture about the shape of my body. What will I do? I want to go unnoticed. These thoughts ran through my head as I wished I could look like the model on the cover of Vogue magazine.
While in high school, my classmates would laugh at me and say mean things about the way I looked. Although I partly agreed that I was overweight with stretch marks on the back of my legs and stomach, I always wondered if I would ever get their approval. I wasn’t always this way, I used to be skinny just like them.
Every time I went to school, the first person I saw was the same bully who laughed at my body. “What happened to you?” Diana asked. “You look so fat. I guess all the boys don't run after you like before. Hmm, such a shame,” she said. “Just so you know, you can’t sit with us at lunch.” She didn’t hang out with girls that didn’t look like her.
My heart broke. Diana used be my friend in middle school. We did everything together. I felt so ashamed of my body.
I used to be so insecure of my body that even when I was invited to pool parties, I didn't go because my stomach would look so big in a bathing suit and people would stare. As each day passed, I felt the judgement from everyone around me in the school hallways, during lunch, and even at home from my family.
Before I knew it, I began to sink into a depression. I began to starve myself. Food felt like the devil’s bait. I believed not eating would make me skinnier. I would eat and throw up in the bathroom. I didn't want anyone to know of my struggle because I wanted that size zero dress to fit, because I wanted to look like an Instagram model.
Most of the time, I would go to a private place and cry. When I was done, I would put on a happy face. Gradually, my grades began to drop because I didn’t pay attention in class. I was a stranger to myself.
Looking back, I would have told my old self not to listen to Diana, the girl who judged me based on looks. I would have told myself to love my body the way it was, it was perfect and still is. I did not need to change myself, the world needs to change. I should have been confident, happy and stood up to those who made me hate myself. We are all beautiful and no one should make us feel different. Our flaws are what make us unique.
Q&A on Body Shaming with Brianna Moody
Body shaming has become a normal part of American culture. While we all have become used to it, it still highly affects the victims. They say when you judge a girl by her appearance, it doesn’t define her, it defines you. As a society, we should stop labeling girls bodies.
Brianna Moody works as the Girls’ Health Coordinator at the YWCA in Boston. Here is what she has to say about this rising issue.
Q: What is body shaming?
A. Body shaming can mean a lot. It can mean causing harm to others or yourself. It is the discrimination [on the basis of] body weight, texture of hair, and also physical abilities.
Q. What are the effects on those who are body shamed?
A. People who are body shamed are oppressed. They go into depression. They could have eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. They sometimes harm themselves and most of the time feel discouraged. They sometimes go through job discrimination where a certain job criteria for a girl or a boy is to not be too fat or too skinny.
Q. What are examples of body shaming?
A.There are so many examples of body shaming such as one commenting on the food someone is eating because of the way they look. This could hurt the person. Another example is stores changing the size of their clothes or restricting the sizes which they sell.
Q. What ways can we change society’s views on body shaming?
A. I would say, people should stop judging people on the way they look. Policies in the workplace restricting the way people look like should be stopped. The media should sample people of all sizes and not just one variety of models with the same standards of beauty. It should be more diverse, all sizes should be accepted. The telling of stories and experience should be shared.