Lawson: Shutting down the shamers

Angelica Lawson

Loving yourself has to be a priority for a healthy and balanced life. Giving your best in every way is hard enough, but when you have to deal with unrealistic expectations and the unwavering judgments of society for every decision you make, it gets harder to love you and the life you are living. Body shaming is not a new phenomenon in 2017, but it is one that I hope men and women will take strides against this year and many to follow.

Body shaming is when a person attacks the physical appearance of another person based upon personal beliefs of what is an appropriate weight or build for that person. Recently, one reality star has found new fame in “shutting down her shamers.” Khloe Kardashian is hosting a new reality TV show called “Revenge Body.” The show finds people who want to get “revenge” on others who have made them feel inadequate, due to their body sizes or other personal issues.

This idea that people have to be skinny to be healthy, or skinny to be beautiful or whatever the issue may be, should no longer be accepted by our society. According to a study in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, the average size of a woman in the United States is a 16. A size 16 is considered a “plus” or “extended” size by most retailers. So by conventional beauty standards we are telling the average woman in our country that she should be focused on changing her bodies, and ashamed of the body she has, and that she should idolize the women that do not actually represent themselves.

This is not even to mention that as the years have gone by, the sizing of women’s clothes have changed. The clothes have gotten smaller through the years. There is no universal sizing for women; it really depends on the designer. Not only is it practically impossible to find your true size to dress your body properly, but that size varies store to store. It wasn’t always like that; there use to be standard sizing.

So, how do we shut down the shamers? Khloe Kardashian fell into fitness-fueled love and got the body she always wanted. She set out with E! at her side and found others who wanted to make a physical change and helped them achieve and start their paths to their fitness goals, to show their personal shamers that they were more than their weight. Kardashian also launched her denim line “Good American” last year, that features jeans in all styles for women sizes 0-24.

Plus-size super model, Ashley Graham, shut down her body shamers by becoming a plus-sized super model. She started her own bathing suit line that featured swimsuits for plus sized women that were on trend, cute and fit their bodies. She decided to lead with her curves and push past those her in way.

The first step to shutting down your shamers is to either accept the body that you have right now and embrace it wholeheartedly, or commit to a change; a change for yourself and no one else. This is your skin and the only person who needs to be happy with it is you. This is probably one of the hardest parts of shutting down the shamers, because those negative comments are hard to take. But if you are happy, then you’ve got to let these negative-nancies pass you by while you work on that shine.

The second thing is to focus on being healthy–physically and mentally. This goes hand in hand with loving yourself. If you and your doctor have talked it out and you both are comfortable with your health stats, then the pressures to be the “ideal” size or shape should roll away, because being the healthiest version of yourself is what’s most important.

The third thing is to surround yourself with good people. It takes a lot personality to open and directly confront someone about their body, so you have to be stronger than those words and stronger than the negativity you might have received from people.

Let’s make 2017 the year that we shut down the shamers, and started praising and being kind to each other.