• Kristina Cherep

Stop Body Shaming

Yeah, I'm skinny. No, I'm not anorexic. Or bulimic. Yes, I eat every day. Please don't ask these types of questions to skinny people unless you are actually concerned about their health. Actually, how about lets not ask these types of questions at all. Find kinder words to use. Why do people think it's okay to ask these types of questions? Any type of body shaming shouldn't be a thing. I don't think you should skinny shame, fat shame, or any kind of body shame.

I have always been skinny. Not by choice; that's just how my body is. I have a fast metabolism and I played sports since I was 4. Speaking of sports, I chose a sport who favored 'thicker girls'. It's an advantage to have more weight on your bones when you play softball. It gives you more power and endurance. I had coaches telling me every practice that I needed to gain more weight to be better. Luckily, I didn't take it too personally. I knew they meant 'to be better at softball'. What if I didn't take it that way? What if I thought they meant, 'to be a better person'? That could have been mentally, emotionally, or possibly physically dangerous.

I was the same weight from 8th grade to freshman year of college. During these years I was actively trying to gain weight. I spent weeks where I would eat 3,000 calories a day, but not gain a single pound! Now that was frustrating. It took until college for me to gain the weight! I gained 25 pounds in a total of four years of college. This was from a mixture of playing Division I softball and gaining muscle, but also probably the free ice cream in the dining halls.

I was never uncomfortable with my weight or how I looked before college, but once I gained the weight in college I loved my body even more. I felt more stable and secure especially on those windy Chicago days! Although in the past I never really avoided looking at my body in the mirror; after gaining the weight I actually wanted to look at my body in the mirror. I had no shame looking at myself because I knew that my body looks the way it does because of healthy actions. I gained 25 pounds naturally. Without being on a 3,000 calories a day diet!

I am lucky that I never took the 'anorexic' comments or questions seriously because that could have caused a different mental illness. However, it doesn't mean those comments and questions were okay for people to say to me. I had my closest friends growing up call me 'Fatty'. However, I knew that nickname was coming from a place of love. That nickname, to me, was completely fine. I'm not sure why, but it honestly was! So, if you called me that don't worry this post is not about you.

The comments I look back on are from the people who would jokingly ask or call me anorexic. These same people would point out that I had a thigh gap and would say that 'only anorexic people have thigh gaps.' First off, where is your proof for that? Secondly, why would you accuse someone of being anorexic because they have a thigh gap? Why would you accuse someone of being anorexic in general? Also, maybe try kinder words to use if you are really that concerned! Some of my 'friends' would even be the ones to say these things. Those comments only upset me because I knew those comments weren't coming from a place of love. Those comments were either coming from a place of jealousy, insecurity or hate.

It's time to stop body shaming anyone for whatever type of body they have. That's who they are and sometimes they can't change that no matter how hard they try. Worry about your own body! You should only say something to a person if you are truly concerned about their health and want to emotionally, mentally, or physically help/support them. And if you do feel this way be careful with your words. Use words you would want your kids or future kids to use to their friends.

I wrote this post about a month ago. I am adding this extra paragraph in because I am disgusted with what I have been seeing people say about Lady Gaga's "flabby belly". Seriously? I have seen a lot of people on my news feed respond in different ways to this. One way in particular, that I do not necessarily agree with, is when people bash someone else's appearance because that person body shamed someone else. That doesn't make sense to me. I'm glad that you are calling these people out for body shaming, but you do not need to call them out by body shaming those people. Nobody deserves to be body shamed.

If you know someone who is suffering from anorexia or any other body disorder; compliment them, support them, love them. Help them realize that they are beautiful!