Body shaming is rampant in today’s world. Primarily, it comes in the form of fat shaming, which is defined as overt criticism of bodies perceived to be larger than the cultural ideal. Singer and new mother Kelly Clarkson has received her fair share of criticism as has singer Pink. On May 12, Pink verbally shut down her critics while on the red carpet at the 2015 BMI Pop Awards where she received the President’s Award.
Recognizing that our culture rarely lets anyone off the hook, body criticism now includes skinny shaming. Last month, news personality Giuliana Rancic appeared on a morning show. In addition to discussing other issues, she addressed the recent widespread criticism of her increasingly thin body. She explained that her recent weight loss was due, not to an eating disorder, but is a side effect from a breast cancer treatment medication she is taking. So this is a woman who not only has to deal with a life-threatening illness, but must simultaneously defend her appearance.
Body shaming has recently been brought to our awareness to a greater degree through celebrities; the criticism launched at them, whether fat or skinny, makes headlines. Often they fight back, and legions of fans and other famous people support their efforts to thwart the critics. But, what we see in the world of celebrity is simply a tiny glimpse into the harsh reality of body shaming.
From Hollywood to our very own communities, body shaming is all too common. Judgments are used to compare one person to another, sometimes intentionally, other times not. The practice of shaming others places negative judgments and critical views on others; essentially, it serves as a platform to persecute. Shaming someone for their size basically says that they are inadequate, not good enough, and unworthy to be viewed as a whole person.
Shaming of any kind, whether it is fat shaming or skinny shaming is not acceptable anywhere, not in a social gathering, not on the movie screen or the living room. The old saying “Never judge a book by its cover,” is more than applicable. This type of criticism takes nothing into account: a person’s past, current circumstances, any aspect of their journey through life. On every level, it is wrong.