Musings

‘No aunty ji, no one wants to know what you think of Person X’s recent weight gain’

For a while now, something has been on my mind and I have wanted to address it, but never really sussed out how. I have tweeted it about it a few times, so maybe that’s the best way to start:

weight tweetTweet weight

Body image. What is it?

According to Mental Health:

Body image’ is a term that can be used to describe how we think and feel about our bodies”

I’m sure many of you have thought about the negative effects of an ‘appearance-focused’ society. But do we really understand just how toxic and damaging our behaviour is and can be. Body size, shape, colour, texture is an everyday topic – it’s become so normal for people to comment on someone’s weight, length of fingers, lightness of the skin or size of their nose as if it’s nothing? More and more people admit to feeling alien in their own body and desperately wish to be something else.

How is that ok? Why has it become the norm to hear people say ‘er I hate that picture, I look horrible!’ rather than ‘damn I look hella fine’ – who let this get out of hand?

We did.

We did when we commented on that random girl’s lovely body shape; when we couldn’t help point out that guy’s well-sculpted jaw; when we shared a post offering ‘5 quick tips to get yourself that summer-ready flat tum.’

You may have noticed, none of the above is obviously negative? It’s all somehow positive right? We’re not saying anything bad about that individual, we’re just pointing out something great about how they look – innocent?

Not entirely.

More and more people admit to feeling alien in their own body and desperately wish to be something else

We have become so focused on making it all about the way someone looks – conversations around Instagram models or personal struggles with being ‘too thin’ or ‘too large’ – that it has caused our inner self to shrink into the shadows, scared that we don’t match up to the ‘ideal look’ we hear about in every day (not necessarily negative) conversations. It’s wrong.

Conversations about the way someone looks, their body or face (whatever it is), need to stop. There are 100,000 possible topics, pick one and see where it goes. By diverting our attention and everyday dialogue from visual appearances, we train ourselves to see beyond the surface and stop making it all about looks – which admittedly, we are all guilty of.

By stopping ‘body image’ becoming a go-to convo topic, we automatically find ourselves steering away from NEEDING to comment on someone’s appearance when speaking to them – whether it’s positive or negative. Of course, like everything there is a middle ground, and if you’re at a cute party and all your girls are dressed up looking like queens, then telling them that is nice… but turning casual chats into a discussion about visual appearances – that’s where we are going wrong.

It has caused our inner self to shrink into the shadows, scared that we don’t match up to the ‘ideal look’ we hear about in every day (not necessarily negative) conversations

Research shows that a growing number of individuals in our community are ashamed of their own body – they feel conscious, like they HAVE to change the way they are for aesthetic purposes to fit in with OTHERS’ perception of perfection.

It’s different for everyone. Our experiences and environment affect our body image in one way or another – however, research suggests that body image can be influenced by:

  • our relationships with our family and friends
  • how our family and peers feel and speak about bodies and appearance
  • exposure to images of idealised or unrealistic bodies through media or social media
  • pressure to look a certain way or to match an ‘ideal’ body type.

There are other issues relevant to body image and mental health that are specific to certain factors and experiences:

  • long-term health conditions
  • cultural differences around body ideals
  • gender and sexuality

Source: Mental Health

Eh, who am I to be making this conclusion? I’m just someone who has had her appearance commented on multiple times – whether it’s my height, size, hair style or shape of my eyebrows  – negative or positive – I find that unnecessary comments are enough to make me doubt myself.

I’m not saying I don’t like a compliment, but sitting there with friends/family members/co-workers and hearing their comments on your looks, how someone else looks or talking about how much they hate the way they themselves look… in majority of conversations? How is that healthy for anyone! It’s not.

It fills your mind with thoughts, without even consciously trying!

‘Wow, they’re all talking about that girl’s perfectly flat stomach’ *thinks about own* ‘mine is nowhere near flat’ *suddenly becomes conscious about stomach* –  it happens – or am I wrong?

Like I said, there is always a middle ground and sometimes the ‘body’ topic needs talking about when it concerns someone’s HEALTH – if someone’s lifestyle choices are impacting their health (unhealthy eating/lack of eating or exercise) then that’s a genuine reason to address it with them. However, being mindful when it comes to talking about this topic –  REALLY thinking about whether what we’re about to say is relevant or necessary – wouldn’t hurt.

Make a change. 

There are SO MANY WAYS we as individuals, businesses and groups can make a difference to how body image is viewed – but I’m here talking as a lone soldier and I’m going to share what resonated with me from Mentalhealth.org:

  • At home, parents and carers can lead by example, by modelling positive behaviour around body image, eating healthily and staying active
  • In our daily lives, we can all be more aware of the ways in which we speak about our own and other people’s bodies in casual conversations with friends and family
  • Find the best way that works for you to stay active.

Source: Mental Health

The way I see it, one day I’m going to have children of my own and I would feel heartbroken if my son or daughter stood in front of the mirror feeling deflated, ashamed and just sad about their body because the media suggested there is only ONE kind of beautiful, because their friends can’t stop talking about the perfect body weight/size/face shape, because family members just don’t know when to keep a thought to themselves.

“No aunty ji/uncle ji (or anyone else for that matter), no one wants to know what you think of Person X’s recent shocking weight gain.”  

Let’s teach our children and our siblings to be healthy, whilst truly emphasizing the importance of ‘genuinely’ loving oneself.

2 thoughts on “‘No aunty ji, no one wants to know what you think of Person X’s recent weight gain’

  1. Absolutely love this blog post. As someone who is constantly being told that I’m toooo skinny (whereas, when I was younger I was told the complete opposite) this is a huge issue that can only be addressed by our own behaviour. I’m guilty of being very self conscious, because it’s ingrained in me that I don’t look good enough because of my weight. My first step is going to be to try to be positive about myself and to make a conscious effort to talk about looks less. Change must come from within.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trust me – I completely understand where you’re coming from as I’ve experienced somewhat the same. Ive always been asked questions like ‘do you not eat’ ‘are you ill’ just because I’m ‘skinny’ – overtime it really does have a negative impact. Definitely – love yourself – you’re amazing just the way you are (did I just quote Bruno Mars?! ❤️

      Like

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