As a teenager, showering after gym class terrified me. We were forced to shower together and as an overweight teen with stretch marks, I was the class bullies’ number-one target. I pleaded with my gym teacher to let me shower alone but that was “against school policy.” Fast-forward to today and seeing others get bullied and body-shamed is incredibly painful. Lady Gaga’s recent Super Bowl performance is one example.
Flawless and captivating are some of the adjectives I’d use to describe her performance and yet, there were a number of comments in the press and online that focused completely on her physique.
Not surprisingly, Lady Gaga via her Instagram account took the high road, responding positively saying “I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I'm proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don't need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That's the stuff of champions. Thank you so much everyone for supporting me. I love you guys. Xoxo, gaga.”
While this appears to be strong and positive public statement by Gaga, we really don’t know how these comments have made her feel about herself. Nor do we know the negative impact they’ve had on impressionable young people.
Unfortunately, as I can attest, it’s not that easy to brush off hurtful comments and we never know how commenting on a person’s appearance can really affect them.
Why does this continue to happen?
It’s very clear to see that there’s a huge problem in today’s society with people of all ages striving for the “perfect” body and social media often doesn't help. Take a look at the most popular Instagram accounts and you will immediately see people flaunting their bodies. Since when has standing before a mirror, barely dressed, with your hand like a claw holding your phone, pouting at yourself become so attractive?
The truth is that body image has always and will always be a big element in our lives and now reigns supreme on social media. From the Photoshop apps, countless filters, to the advertising of the latest “quick fix” products, there’s no shortage of ways to make us look “perfect.”
I’m all for taking and sharing a strong photo that captures your true essence. However, striving for the perfect body because of what you see online is self-defeating. It’s a fact that we’re all unique. Our bodies are built differently and as long as we’re healthy and looking after ourselves, what does it matter?
Enough is enough
Everybody would agree that body shaming is just plain WRONG. However, there are trolls online who feel comfortable writing anonymously to make cruel critiques. Well, that is unacceptable in 2017. From stars like Lady Gaga to each and everyone of us, it’s important to love yourself and to respect those around you.