Monday, May 1, 2017

Rebuttal to the body shamers

This morning during a HIIT class at the gym, the instructor mentioned how it was now shorts season, then made some unkind remarks about a random stranger she had seen who was wearing very short shorts, had "dimpled skin" and was "too young to not be toned." It had nothing to do with the workout and made me not want to go to this particular class again. Early morning runs/workouts are my favorite way to start the day. Listening to disparaging remarks about strangers is not. I know judgments are more about the judger's own insecurities than anything to do with the judged. Happy, self-actualized people don't feel the need to denigrate others to feel better about themselves. Yet I still felt saddened and disappointed by her words. Society inundates us with so many judgmental and body-shaming messages as it is and to see women doing this to other women is disheartening. The instructor wasn't talking about me but she might as well have been. I wear short shorts when I run or work out. I don't have a perfectly toned butt or thighs. I have cellulite, bruises, scars. But I don't think this makes me any less of a runner/woman/person. My self worth isn't defined by the way I look. I care far more about the size of my heart than I do about the size of my ass. I didn't take her comments personally, but they still bothered me because that body shaming mentality is so pervasive in our culture. And I felt compelled to spread a counter-message of love and acceptance and awesomeness. So this is my rebuttal.

I often Instagram pictures of me practicing chin-ups on my home chin-up bar. Not because I'm good at chin-ups. I'm actually terrible at chin-ups. But I'm good at effort and persistence. I'm an ordinary person attempting extraordinary things, again and again, and becoming stronger in the process. So this is a picture from the other side. These are my not-toned legs. They are strong and have run thousands and thousands of miles. These are my shortest and most toucan filled shorts. They are ridiculous and I love them. These are my not-toned arms. They work hard to pull me up (since I haven't yet figured out how to levitate). This is me, perpetually trying to be a stronger, kinder, better person. This is my wall, which reminds me "You must not be afraid to dream a little bigger my dear." This is me telling you that you are beautiful and amazing and capable of epic things. In fact, you're a rare, limited edition, one-of-a-kind masterpiece of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. And so is everybody else. So let's use our words and actions to build others up instead of tearing them down. Let's be excellent to ourselves. Let's be excellent to each other. And let's work hard and party hard for as long as we're lucky enough to be alive.

Lyric of the moment: "All of your flaws and all of my flaws. When they have been exhumed, we'll see that we need them to be who we are. Without them we'd be doomed..." ~Bastille "Flaws"


  1. Can not agree with this more.

    I dealt with more than a decade of body shaming in school. That was more than 2 decades ago but it just seems to be permanently engrained.
    I still spend way too much of my time worrying about whether I dare wear certain race shirts because they cling more than others and always worried about how horrible everyone thinks I look.

  2. It really sucks that you had to go through that. It does seem like body shaming is everywhere. But life is too short to worry about that shit. It's mostly just companies trying to exacerbate our insecurities so they can profit off of them. Wear what you want and rock on!