The Fat and Skinny on Body Shaming (By Alicia Taylor and Nikki Aguilar)

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Special thanks to fellow blogger, Nicole Aguilar (NikkiNurtures.com) for her collaboration on this article about body shaming.

Lady Gaga the target of body shaming after her 2017 Superbowl Halftime Performance
Lady Gaga the target of body shaming after her 2017 Superbowl Halftime Performance

One of my long-time Facebook friends posted a status update that blew me out of the water.  Apparently, people on Twitter were body shaming Lady Gaga after her Super Bowl performance.  Because some of her exposed belly skin didn’t lay perfectly flat during her high-flying, energetic performance, twits labeled her fat.

I’m not a Gaga fan.  I’m so out of touch with her music that, when my husband, son, and I caught part of her half-time show, I honestly thought it was Madonna.  My son stifled his giggle and said: “That’s Lady Gaga.”  However, I do know a little about who she is.

I do not agree with (most of) her politics, but I know that she lends a voice to those that frequently have none.  For that, I admire her.  She also battled eating disorders (Anorexia/Bulimia) most of her life.  She’s an outspoken advocate for eating disorder awareness. So, I found it ironic that she was the body shaming target.

Almost as disturbing as the tweets, were the comments in reactions to some of the “news” posts addressing it.  For instance, some responded, saying they agreed with the twits.  People instantly responded “That’s just because you are fat yourself!” as if body shaming that person suddenly became acceptable.  Or it degraded into political bickering with some suggesting all the insult-slinging came from supporters representing one political party or the other.  What’s the matter with you people?  Didn’t your mommy teach you that two wrongs don’t make a right?

Body Shaming creates shame in it's victims
Body Shaming creates shame in its victims

Before I go further, let me define body shaming, so we are both using the same definition for this discussion.  Google says:

the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.

So, body shaming isn’t relegated to the dark depths of teasing someone that’s overweight.  It includes bullying someone because they are short.  It can include embarrassing someone because they are underweight.  Or making fun of Lady Gaga because she has a woman’s body.  Shaming someone because their body doesn’t meet your expectations is destructive and harmful.  Just because they are famous – or a person you don’t know – doesn’t mean that words lose their sting.

Alicia’s Experiences with Body Shaming

I’m 4’10.  In high school, I weighed 98 pounds.  When I dressed out in gym class, the “popular” girls would tease me and call me fat – as if being almost nude in front of your peers wasn’t humiliating enough.  Looking back, I realize that I was actually at my an ideal weight and in good shape for my height.  However, their words still hurt.  I tried to dress out in the bathroom stalls or would wrap myself in a towel to hide as I changed into regular clothes.

More recently, on the same workout video I made, one person said that I was “too fat to talk about fitness.”  Another said I was a “twig” who had no understanding of what it takes to lose weight.  I haven’t made another fitness video since then.  The comments didn’t devastate me, but I needed to take a step back for analysis.  My doctor says my weight is fine.  So does my insurance company – for the first time in almost 20 years, I’m at a healthy weight.  I lost 60 pounds, so I DO know what it takes.

Alicia’s TakeAways

  1. Body shaming comes in many forms.  It’s not just aimed at people who are overweight.  It is JUST as inappropriate to make fun of thin people.
  2. If you are on the receiving end, try not to take the comments to heart.  I know this isn’t always possible, especially if the comments come from someone close to you.  If it’s someone you don’t know (such as online), look at it for what it is – a mean-spirited troll.  IF it IS someone close to you, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship.
  3. Words hurt.  Just because you don’t know the person, doesn’t mean it won’t impact them.  Why would you waste the energy typing something that you would never say in person?  If you are the type to say it in person, you are a jerk and need to reevaluate your own self-worth.  I’m guessing it’s around your ankles.
  4. Body size has nothing to do with who you are.  It is not your identity.  We all have beauty.  There are a lot of things worse that you could be besides the owner of an imperfect body.  For example, you could be culturally irrelevant and not recognize Lady Gaga!

Nikki’s Thoughts

Nicole Aguilar
Nikki Aguilar of NikkiNurtures.com

If Lady Gaga is fat, then the rest of us are whales… No seriously, I would like to ask… what should women look like? People that hide behind their computer screens seem to think that everyone should look a certain way or there is some set in stone definition of beauty. No, wait. Women like Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, and Ashely Graham are curvy and fabulous, but Lady Gaga is fat. I’m sorry, what?! I think my brain just exploded. How do we celebrate the curves of one woman and shun the curves of

How do we celebrate the curves of one woman and shun the curves of another? How do we celebrate the slender, athletic physique of a woman and then reject it on another?!  First off, let’s stop taking it upon ourselves to comment on someone’s body. Secondly, I’m sure the many keyboard warriors tweeting and blogging about women’s bodies have perfect bodies themselves. I’m sure you all just embody perfection in every way… Puh-lease. Sit down.

I’m not sure how tall Lady Gaga is, but she looks like she weighs about 115lbs soaking wet.  Personally, I believe the number on the scale means NOTHING. But let’s talk about her body for a moment, shall we? She has toned arms, beautiful legs, tight external and internal obliques and a trim waist. Maybe you missed it, but she also has visible rectus abdominous muscles. Maybe they’re not shredded, bro, but they’re there and it’s probably more than you have, Twitter Crusader. Lady Gaga has a little feminine softness to her stomach as well; why are we going crazy over this?  At my thinnest, I wasn’t as tight as her, nor did I have the confidence to wear a bare midriff. Also, have we forgotten that this woman has struggled with an eating disorder in her past? All the haters should be ashamed of themselves.

Nikki’s Experience with Body shaming

If you haven’t picked it up by my tone yet, this is a hot button issue for me because I’ve struggled with an eating disorder and poor body image. I know what the opinions of strangers can do to your self-confidence and self-esteem.  It’s not just the people that are close to you that hurt and influence you, society hurts too.  Allow me to get personal in hopes of getting some of you to shift your mindset and really think about the insults you throw under the guise of it being your “opinion”.

I grew up with a sister that was slender no matter what she ate. She was athletic too. I hit puberty at 11. I got boobs, hips and curves early… I also started struggling with weight early on. My family would make little comments that I didn’t know stayed with me until I was in my 20’s.  I always wanted to change, but because of stress, it was hard to lose weight. It wasn’t until I moved to California that I really made a change to my lifestyle and the weight started melting off. All of the “you look awesome” and “keep going” comments tipped me over the edge at one point.

I started working out 2-3 times a day and eating 1000 calories or less. I focused on the scale. I dropped from 175lbs to 108lbs. How I got there, was not healthy. Looking back, I see how dangerous it was and I fully acknowledge that I gave myself an eating disorder over something that doesn’t even matter… WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.

Nikki’s Takeaways

I wound up gaining some weight back after my career took off because I didn’t have time to spend my life in the gym.  Honestly, I’m grateful for that.  Sure, at first, it threw me into a depression, but then I realized… I can do it RIGHT this time. I can work through the love of my body, not hate. I can be the healthiest version of myself. I can’t change my frame; I need to embrace my Latin booty and big boobs. I no longer use others as my #bodygoals; I use myself.

As someone who has hated themselves and knows the impact of what the beauty industry can do to a girl when I see people body shaming women, I really lose my mind. No one IS fat. Some people have more fat than others but it doesn’t define them. We’re not all built the same. We don’t all have the same goals and there is definitely not one standard of beauty OR the perfect body.  This is all a state of mind.

So, I ask the people that may body shame from time to time or maybe all the time… ARE YOU PERFECT? If not, I suggest taking a seat. And, even if your body is “perfect”, you may also take a seat. No one asked you. No one has to conform to your ideals. Don’t be the reason someone develops an eating disorder. Choose your words wisely. Be kind. And never forget what you learned in Pre-School… “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Learn more about Nikki:

www.nikkinurtures.com • www.facebook.com/nikkinurtures • www.twitter.com/nikkinurtures • www.instagram.com/nikkinurtures • www.pinterest.com/nikkinurtures • www.youtube.com/nicoleleefitness

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Happily married to the love of my life. It's just us, our 5 cats, and our beautiful woods. I'm loving living back in the Florida panhandle being close to family. I love cooking, living a healthy lifestyle, taking care of our cozy home, and trying new things.

We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.


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Alicia Taylor

Happily married to the love of my life. It’s just us, our 5 cats, and our beautiful woods. I’m loving living back in the Florida panhandle being close to family. I love cooking, living a healthy lifestyle, taking care of our cozy home, and trying new things.

We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.

19 Comments

  • Shauna (@purplegyrl31)

    February 9, 2017 - 4:19 pm

    I don’t get it. Lady Gaga has a darn good body. Body shamers are trolls.

  • Emily, Our house now a home

    February 9, 2017 - 10:17 am

    Ugh, the fact that people feel it is their right to comment on someone else’s body is insane. This whole Lady Gaga controversy shocked me, she looked great. But again, even if she did not it does not affect anyone. It is great more people are speaking out about issues like this.

  • Carol Bryant

    February 8, 2017 - 6:59 pm

    I love Lady Gaga so much. Body shamers are pitiful. I do not understand why people have become so mean – what is wrong. Ugh. I am glad you shone the spotlight on this.

  • Cristine

    February 8, 2017 - 6:50 pm

    I can’t stand all the judgment of others. No one is perfect unless a surgery made it that way. Be yourself and don’t comment on others

  • Liz Mays

    February 8, 2017 - 5:29 pm

    I was definitely aware that body shaming was prevalent, especially online. It’s a strange phenomenon that people like to pressure others to conform to their idea of what a person should look like.

  • Nancy L.

    February 8, 2017 - 3:18 pm

    I thought Lady Gaga put on a great show and was out there to perform instead of seeking shock value like many stars today. I was surprised she was being body shamed, too. It amazes me how people can hide behind their computer screens and say such ugly things on social media. I always tell my children that what they say and do is a reflection of me and what I’ve taught them. (That’s what my mom used to tell me and my sisters).

    • Alicia Taylor

      February 8, 2017 - 4:03 pm

      Sounds like you have a very wise mom. In other news, I taught my kids the same thing 😀

  • Nolie

    February 8, 2017 - 2:20 pm

    I want to know how people were paying that close attention. I loved her performance. Keyboard warriors are the worse. No one should be body shamed.

    • Alicia Taylor

      February 8, 2017 - 4:04 pm

      Yeah – she was moving around so much – and so fast – who could tell!

  • reesann723

    February 8, 2017 - 1:12 pm

    I was appalled when I came online and saw all of the bashing for lady gaga. How dare people! Honestly, I can relate to her so much more.

  • Heather Lawrence

    February 8, 2017 - 12:36 pm

    I have been body shamed lots… when I was underweight (yet healthy) people made comments that I should go eat a dozen big macs. When I had a little more junk in my truck people made comments that I should eat more carrots and drink more water.
    Honestly if you have enough time to make comments and body shame you don’t have enough to do in your own life. Makes me sick.

    • Alicia Taylor

      February 8, 2017 - 1:03 pm

      Words hurt. I wish more people would stick to the adage “If you can’t say something nice, then shut up!”

  • Barbara McNeil Molchanoff

    February 8, 2017 - 8:50 am

    I couldn’t agree more with what both of you have said. I was absolutely dumbfounded when I first saw the headline about Lady Gaga being body shamed. I just didn’t get it, I still don’t! People can be so cruel. I for one was very impressed with her performance. I am not a huge fan, and quite honestly didn’t even watch her performance until the next morning. I watched and was wowed. How anyone can have anything negative to say about her body still blows my mind! I appreciate you both putting your stories out there. I have, myself, never had much self- confidence and that comes from words said to/about me in my younger years. Even when I was super thin, I still SAW myself as being overweight. I applaud both of you for a job well done. Thank you!

    • Alicia Taylor

      February 8, 2017 - 11:20 am

      I have an impossible time with confidence, myself. Being human is hard enough because we are hard enough on ourselves. We don’t need the added stress of other people.

  • Angela

    February 7, 2017 - 9:24 pm

    Great points!!! She couldn’t win for loosing. Everyone was on go to get her case for one thing or another. Wish I hadn’t have missed it. Glad she didn’t loose her cloths in a “wardrobe malfunction” or make the whole thing about her own political view.

    • Alicia Taylor

      February 7, 2017 - 11:03 pm

      I was surprised (pleasantly) that she didn’t get political. I’m about to choke on politics lately. But you are right, the only spectacle she made was sheer talent.

  • David T.

    February 7, 2017 - 8:41 pm

    Courage. That’s what it takes to write an article like this…. and that is so different than the bullying mentality that picks on others, regardless of the reason. A great article, ladies.

    • Angela

      February 7, 2017 - 9:25 pm

      Amen david! So true! Kudos to y’all!

    • Alicia Taylor

      February 7, 2017 - 11:04 pm

      Thank you. David and Angela!

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