I didn't witness body shaming in its height until I moved to Boulder, Colorado.
Boulder, per se, takes the title of one of the 'Fittest' Places in the World.
This is certainly part of Boulder's culture. People come to Boulder to train at high altitudes, extreme ski in the Rockies, hike 14'ers, and bike to Estes Park and back all in a mellow afternoon.
As someone who views each system as a whole, I'm more concerned that the word fit equate to the mind and sprit along with the body. So while yes, there are more people with less body fat here than...maybe anywhere, it doesn't necessarily mean that the whole being is fit nor does it mean that this person is healthy or thriving.
What I do know is this: there is a lack of inclusivity around body image, and we are not living in a world where all forms have equity.
Shame is an emotion that arises in response to having done something wrong. The act of shaming, consequently, arises when someone makes someone else feel badly about something. You know that picture of the finger wagging person, 'tisk, tisk, tisk'? That provides a visual of shaming.
Body shaming is a form of oppression.
Let's get clear that it is a privilege to eat fresh, healthy and clean foods. Obesity rates are higher amongst those who are living on food stamps, out of food pantries and in under developed areas.
When we engage in body shaming it means that we believe that someone is wrong or lesser somehow by having the body they have.
I often wonder why we are obsessed as a culture with trimming something down if it's healthy, We have, sadly, been trained to believe that someone's status is relevant to their body weight. Amongst many many other things, and yes, there is overlap.
I don't know the etymology of the stories of our bodies, but what I do know is that somewhere along the way we decided thin is better. When I look at pictures of archetypes or god and goddesses, older periods of art and current cultural standards, it has become clear that thin is in and we have epitomized the human body to be that in our perception of its highest form.
Here's a list of words I've heard used to body shame: unmotivated, undisciplined, un-embodied and ugly. There's also inspiring, courageous, and bold - did you see the Mindy Kaling clip on Jimmy Fallon talking about this. Check it out if you haven't: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9nAJ1xNLms. The latter implies that the person should be feeling something other than self-worth. Sneaky shaming. Other examples are the group fitness class where the instructor says, "cellulite is gross", and the person who body shames themselves by putting themselves down, which is pervasive and very much accepted (I'd even go as far as to say encouraged) in our culture.
I've witnessed body shaming more times in the last eight years living in Boulder than I can wrap my head and heart around, and I remain hopeful that someday we may be able to let go of this story and understand that healthy does not need to be trimmed down. In the meantime, I plan to celebrate my curvaceous womanly beautiful body. I hope you will celebrate your own form because,
Healthy is diverse.
Let's stop torturing ourselves and each other for the sake of impermanence.
PSSST...the body is only temporary.