Health, self-esteem

Body Shaming in Today’s Society

fat shamingBefore I begin, I want EVERYONE to know, this may be a sensitive story for some. I do NOT approve of body shaming of ANY type. I don’t even LIKE the word ‘fat’ unless it’s directed towards healthy fats. I’m not the tiniest woman in the world, whereas my mother and three younger sisters are on the heavier side. In this article, I’ll be exploring the world of body shaming in it’s entirety. What I’m going to do is post a picture and give a generalized background and how it affects women. Why, you ask? Because I am a woman and this is geared towards women. So, without further adieu, let us begin.

Our society views heavy people as ‘unhealthy’ and ‘lazy’. While this MAY be true for ‘some’, it isn’t the case for ALL. Mental illness, lack of resources, medication, environment, genetics, etc play a role in this. For this case, I am going to pull in the experiences my younger sister had growing up.

She had bad anxiety as a kid. She was put on Ritalin. Her mental health slid BADLY and a few issues with depression landed her in the hospital. She moved to Lawrence to get away and things got worse from there. I hadn’t seen her for awhile; so when she came to visit, I didn’t recognize her. All I saw was this heavy-set woman sitting in the living room. It took me a few minutes to realize she was my sister. She’d gotten so big and puffy that I didn’t recognize her. It turned out the Ritalin had screwed up her metabolism so badly that EVERYTHING was out of whack. Once she moved back, she began to eat healthier. The alcohol was replaced with actual FOOD. She’s lost a few pounds since coming back, but she still gets shamed. It’s sickening to know that people look and my sister, and other women in her position, and automatically judge. It goes without saying that individuals who shame large people have issues themselves. If you think shaming someone will make them change their lifestyle, think again. If they’re already depressed, it just makes them feel worse. If they don’t care, then other opinions won’t matter.

I remember when I worked at Walmart several years ago. I was a fitting-room attendant. A middle-aged woman came out of a room wearing a shirt that was a size too small. She asked me if she looked fat. Those were HER words, not mine. I told her it looked a little snug and may want to consider going up a size. Her sigh of relief told me she’d been called ‘fat’ when asking that question. I was the first to word it differently. It sickens me to know that society thinks this is acceptable.

 

skinny shaming

Believe it or not, skinny shaming exists as well. From what I can tell, the shaming comes from people who could be jealous. This situation stems from the same area as ‘fat’-shaming. I have a friend who has a thyroid problem. She’s been a size-zero ALL her life, even after having four kids. She’s VERY hyperactive and was diagnosed with ADHD early in life. Some people work hard to be skinny, or as I refer to it as ‘thin’ or ‘fit’. I experienced this several years ago. I went to Lane Bryant with my sister so she could find bras. I saw a pair of earrings there that I liked. When I went in the next day, the saleslady gave me a look of ‘what are YOU doing here?’ She didn’t say it, I could SEE it. I bought the earrings and left. Later, I told my sister of the experience, and she said ‘welcome to my world’. That was when it hit me.

But in this case, maybe the jealousy comes from people who, for whatever reason, WANT to be thin but CAN’T. Again, medication and environment play a role. If you’re suffering from undiagnosed depression, life is going to suck. I had undiagnosed depression AND anxiety for over 20 years. As a result, when I got anxious, I’d throw up to relive the anxiety. My appetite was VERY come and go until about four years ago. As a result of this, I AM thin….but at a price. My metabolism is screwed and I have difficulty eating. I’m so used to NOT eating, that it’s out of habit. A habit that is VERY difficult to change.

Certain illness: such as thyroid issues, PCOS and depression can make you either pack on the pounds or lose weight to the point that other medication or a special diet is needed. Hormonal imbalances ALSO play a role. If things aren’t going well on the INSIDE, then things aren’t going to be going very well on the OUTSIDE.

excuse

Remember this? I can’t remember where I first saw it, but it pissed me off. I’m not a mother but this was, and still is, inappropriate. At least to me. In this picture, a mother with a fit body and three kids is basically telling other mothers ‘being a mother isn’t an excuse to be fat’. This caused a GIANT uproar. My mom is on the heavy side. She’s lost a few pounds over the years because my dad’s health is messed up and she’s eating the same food as he does. She’s adopted, so there’s no telling what her biological family is like or her genetics. My mom had four kids, between 1982 and 1990. This was the era of ‘Weight Watchers.’ The budding diet food industry, if I remember correctly. My mother performed as she saw fit for a housewife; taking care of the kids, house and husband. Though I’m betting having 1950s influences, in addition to being raised in a southern household added to it.

Not all mom’s see being fit as a requirement or a necessity. Society tells mother’s ‘your family comes first’. But in an era where some gyms offer daycare, getting fit is attainable, only if you want to. But I’m not a mother and my knowledge is limited, so I’m going to give my two cents worth and back away.

equal beautyWhat it comes down to is this: Love yourself and everything will fall into place. Nobody should tell you what to think of yourself. In an age where social media is the norm and we’re bombarded with scantily-clad women, it’s very difficult to find peace within ourselves. I read that depression is on the rise since the advent of Instagram and Facebook. Not just with looks, but lifestyles. What needs to be remembered though, is it’s usually ALL for show. Unless the person is a celebrity of some type, rest assured that the individuals’ life is most likely the same as yours and they’re just making it seem more interesting.

The bottom line? If you like how you look and feel, NOTHING can change that. If you want to improve, then DO it. I used to have low self-esteem. I’ve changed that by doing the following: have a team. I’ve developed my team by following women who have the physique I desire. I want to be a fitness model. So I follow the likes of Jennifer Nicole Lee(who is the poster child for weight-loss motivation). Why? Because her story starts out as an overweight housewife who is disgusted by a picture of herself and decides to do something about it. She’s used this experience to motivate other mothers to become healthier. Her motto is, more or less, ‘just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy.’ Much more uplifting than the mom of ‘what’s your excuse’. I recommend looking Jennifer up online when you get the opportunity. She’s turned her name into a health and fitness sensation. JNL Worldwide.

Have an excellent day!

-Ellie V.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

The World of Fashion!

fashion
The World of Fashion allows for individual expression.

Hi everyone! I’m Ellie and I will be giving you a tour, to the best of my abilities, in the wide world of fashion and everything that goes with it! This means makeup, hair, shoes, jewelry, and accessories.

Now, fashion IS NOT ‘just’ for the elite, despite what major media will tell you. Whether we like it or not, the media DOES influence our fashion choices to some degree.  All top fashionistas and socialites follow the likes of a Kardashian. But for people like me, we mostly follow those who we identify with. I do not identify with any Kardashian. I, personally, identify with certain models. Miranda Kerr, Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima, and Jennifer Nicole Lee to name a few. I don’t identify with them in body type, but by their backgrounds. I’m German, so that’s my link to Miranda(Australian), Alessandra(Brazilian), Adriana(Brazilian) Jennifer Nicole Lee(Italian). I’m striving to become a fitness model, and if you’re familiar with Jennifer Nicole Lee’s background, then you know she didn’t always look the way she does. That and she’s super-cool about adding people to her LinkedIn profile. I follow her on all media and have a few of her books.

It goes without saying that how we feel is reflected in how we look, and vice versa. If you feel absolutely INCREDIBLE, you’ll be done up to the nines, making your confidence SOAR! You’ll probably wear something form-fitting, but not ridiculously tight. Cute shoes, minimal makeup, and an incredible hairstyle. Conversely, if you’re having a bad day it’s still going to reflect. You’re probably going to pull on your jeans and an over-sized shirt. Barefaced and a messy bun or ponytail. Keep in mind, this is how I personally see it. You, the reader, will have a different view. But if you suffer from depression or other mental illness and having a bad day, then I’m probably not far off the mark.

Let me tell you about myself. I’m in my late 30s with an artistic flair for art and jewelry. My interest in fashion didn’t bloom until fairly recently. I’m the oldest of four. As a kid, we lived in(what used to be)middle lower class. This was the early nineties. We had enough for basics. That was it. Our clothing came from hand-me-downs from other families and garage sales. Our grandma was a garage sale fanatic and most of our clothing came from her. As a child and early teens, I remember looking in my laundry basket, wondering where the hell half the stuff came from. My parents spent money if they needed to. A large young family on a budget, it needed to be done. Otherwise, we wore it until it could be worn no more. Usually this occurred when it became too small for my youngest sister.

I had just turned 16 when I got my first job. I worked at a local grocery store. It was my first uniform. Khakis and a white button-down. Tie or pin. This was also the late nineties, early 2000s, when all the fashion info you got was from a magazine. Facebook wouldn’t be around until 2000 and the internet was in it’s infancy. We didn’t get a computer until around 1997 when I was in 8th grade. Everyone in their thirties and over will remember there wasn’t high-speed internet and you had to wait the longest five minutes EVER for connection. Routers weren’t available, so the phone had to be unhooked. If you tried o call, you got a busy signal until the person was offline. Online shopping wasn’t available until only very recently.

Kindergarten to 6th grade are the years where outfits were approved by parents. You were still a kid, but slowly becoming independent. I wore whatever I had. In second grade(and in early summer no less) I wore a cold-weather outfit. It was a black and red matching two-piece with red leggings and a red and black striped top. I was absolutely DYING. In 5th grade, I wore overall shorts with a tee, and a windbreaker. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, except I live in Kansas where the weather is bipolar. The weather didn’t warm up as I thought.  The windbreaker. It was mainly red with black and blue block design on the jacket. I wore it to school and a classmate said out loud ‘she finally matches!’ It was out of malice, not friendly. Looking back, I realize this was when my ‘rebellion’ began. I certainly wasn’t going with the crowd, so I was to be ridiculed.

My budding fashion sense began in middle school. Got my first tank top as a freshman. This was also in the budding Britney Spears/ Christina Aguilera era where midsections were all over the place, along with the annoying low-rise jeans. Our school had a dress code though. Nothing obscene, no booty shorts and no bra straps. I don’t recall any double standards at my school. I remember a boy wore a shirt that said something obscene with a phallic image on it. He was told to turn it inside out. And he did.

I had modesty. And I still do. I knew a skirt was too short if I had to squat to bend over. It was my first mini-broom skirt. Not long after I got it, I learned it was flammable. I wore it to church and was an acolyte, so I was around live fire. I got rid of it. This was around the time I decided to no longer wear skirts or dresses and wear pants instead. I felt self-conscious and I never knew why. I wasn’t worried about anyone being gross. Our church was highly -respected and very family-oriented. Everyone knew everyone else and our grandparents were part of the congregation. My mom was head of Sunday School and my dad was in the choir. All I’d have to do was say ‘I’m Bill/Sally’s daughter’ or ‘Frank/Daisy’s’ granddaughter and they’d automatically know who I was. That and my last name is hard to miss.

In 8th grade, the depression hit. This was my baggy era. Nothing fit. It was deliberate. Even my bras were sports. I didn’t know my actual cup-size until my early 20s. I just didn’t care. It carried into high school. Looking back, this was also when the mental disorders were at their peak. I didn’t go with the crowd because I didn’t see the point. I follow the trends I want, and even THEN it isn’t 100%. Bits and pieces along the way.

Now that I’m an adult, things have changed. The illnesses are quelled(for the most part)and I’m learning more and more about my suppressed style. Not only that, but online shopping is available from pretty much everywhere and everyone. Gone are the days when you had to physically visit a store to make a purchase.

I hope you liked this post and I hope to see you for the next one!

-Ellie V