Body Shaming

OK people, we need to talk.

First up, when did we start believing that having bones, muscles, skin, ligaments, vital organs and fat deposits warranted shaming?

A lot of people would say that religion is at the root of all this trouble, but I’m pretty sure religion is just a symptom rather than a cause of the disease. After all, religions would never have made much traction without some pervasive shame in the hearts of the people to latch onto.

As a species, human beings are hung up on the idea of perfection. We’re always in search of symmetry and geometry in everything from buildings and furniture to faces and bodies, but the world we live in isn’t like that. This is a messy place with messy beings and tonnes of anomalies. Just look at all the scientists trying to make sense of the universe and you have some idea of the insurmountable odds stacked against us achieving perfection any time soon.

What is perfection anyway? It varies depending on the person you’re asking so the idea of a universal perfect world is bull-shit and deep down we all know it.

Body-shaming, like all the other issues we have as a species such as addiction and senseless violence, is a symptom of shame. Where did the shame come from? Who told us that we needed to be more than what we already are in order to be worthy? Why did we believe them?

If you think about the human body in terms of what its function is, the shame doesn’t make any sense. The purpose of our physical bodies is to keep us alive in spite of insurmountable odds such as starvation, temperature fluctuations, wild beasts trying to kill us and ourselves making bad choices. Why would we punish it for doing it’s job?

Lets say someone eats so much food that they become morbidly obese and then they turn around and blame their body for making them do it. That’s not fair, what was it supposed to do? Throw up after everything it was forced to eat? Not metabolize excess sugar into fats stores in order to prevent damaging blood vessels? That wouldn’t make any sense.

What about a man telling a woman she should be ashamed of her breasts because they make men sexually aroused? Short of not having a torso, how is this within the realm of her control? If a man does not exercise self-control it wouldn’t matter if she wore a tent for the rest of her life. Notice how I said “does not” instead of “cannot” in term of self-control?

When did we stop being accountable for how we treat our own bodies and how we treat other people’s bodies?

If you believe in a God, then you must acknowledge that the physical body is a divine gift given to us for the sole purpose of experiencing a long and happy life. Treating it poorly is disrespecting the gift we have been given. Shaming it for doing it’s job is a dick-move. Murdering it, either slowly or quickly, is no better than kicking a dog or slapping a small child for being hungry.

As individuals and also as a collective we need to start exercising self-care or we will ultimately destroy ourselves. Self-care starts with returning to your own body a truth that it is as it is supposed to be, no less and no more. After that you can choose to do things which will benefit it such as feeding it the nutrients it needs, getting it some fresh air and gentle exercise, absorbing sunlight, reducing the exposure to chemicals and having enough sleep.

Punishing yourself does not lead to “perfection” any more than hitting your car with a tyre iron will make the engine run. It’s counter-productive and destructive.

All the best. Peace /|\

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