respect

The Opposite of Funny: Enough with the Body-Shaming “Jokes”

7c9187e61f2c00fd5c3778b79949e139I’m fed up this morning and I’ll tell you why.

I have cringed over many a meme that shames a woman for her fat that is exposed. A woman who is oversized by our culture’s standards has no business showing off her body, as we know. If she does, she shall be subject to our modern day hounds of hell in the form of cruel viral memes, vicious comments and ugly body-shaming messages. Perhaps even thousands of them. Hundreds of thousands.

It’s not just women who fall victim to public ridicule. Men are often the subject of these “humorous” pictures that circulate the internet and show up on my Facebook newsfeed. Pictures of women, men, with their butt cracks, or bellies exposed, most certainly unaware that photos are being taken of them and shared on the internet.

Imagine finding that a picture of you, that you didn’t even know was being taken, had gone viral and someone had made memes making fun of you and the social media world was making fun of your body or the way you dressed or the way you looked.

Can you imagine how painful that would be?

We seem to forget one important fact.

These are PEOPLE we are making fun of. There is a person whose image that belongs to, who lives with her self, her body, her curves, her “unacceptable” shape every single day. She has a soul. She has a heart. Feelings, emotions, the ability to hurt, to cry. Just like you.

Turning someone’s body into a JOKE? That is not funny. That’s the opposite of funny.

Can’t we all just wear want we want and be who we are without the wrath of a million judges laughing and making fun of us?

It’s like a giant schoolyard bully session. Having been made fun of most of my childhood, and the ‘star attraction’ of plenty of schoolyard bullying-sessions, I know it hurts. We are grown now. Shouldn’t we be evolved, compassionate adults by now? Why are we still acting like schoolyard bullies?

Let’s stop perpetuating cruelty. What do you say?

When I was a kid, being made fun of or picked on, once in a while a loving, aware grown-up would intervene on my behalf. She would step in and stop the bullying, stand up for me, protect me, and get me out of an awful situation. She would shut it down.

Now we have grown up and become a giant schoolyard of grown-up bullies. Where’s the loving aware grown-ups to step in and intervene? Who’s going to shut it down?

Let’s do it.

Will you perpetuate meanness by sharing body-shaming memes or even “liking” them? Or will you join me to intervene on behalf of the people whose images are being riduculed.

It’s time for the loving, aware grown-ups to step in and intervene.

I’m tired of being quiet about it so as not to offend, as I continue to be offended.

I’m tired of my own complacency.

I fight the fight every day to love and accept myself, and have built my life around helping others love and accept themselves. Yet, we still struggle. And it’s no surprise. A social current that ridicules, degrades and shames in the name of humor is hard to swim against. But we can do it, if we swim together.

I dare you to stand up for the anonymous victim of the next body-shaming meme you see.

I dare you to delete people from your friends list who perpetuate this type of riducle.

I dare you to voice your offense when offended, instead of staying quiet, as to not offend.

I dare you to take a stand against this bullshit.

Excuse my French, but I’m fed up. Our schoolyard bully days are over. It’s time to evolve, to grow up. Enough, already.

 

*********************

Originally published July, 2014

Fashion Rules, Pumpkin Spice, Leggings, Shaming and a Better Way

mean-girls

A couple years ago, I decided to cut my hair because I’d been hearing and reading that women over 40 should not have long hair. I did it. I hated it. I could not grow my long hair back quickly enough.

I decided then to have long hair forever and ever amen, or at least as long as I wanted to.

Call it a perk of being in my 40s, but something new is emerging in me, and I’m embracing and welcoming an absolute resolve to wear what I want, be who I want, ignore “fashion rules” when I want. I’m getting better at loving myself, and one way I show love to me is by dressing and adorning myself in ways that please me. About me. For me. Screw the “rules”.

Let’s stop telling each other how to dress, what clothes or hair or shoes or whatnot is age appropriate, size appropriate, life appropriate.

If you like it, it’s appropriate.

And can we quit with this “basic” thing, please? It’s become a running quip that liking Uggs and pumpkin spice and yoga pants makes you “basic.” I am not defending Uggs specifically, because I personally don’t like them, but I promise not to judge you or your worth or your depth by the boots you choose to wear, even if I think they’re Uggly.  And somehow pumpkin spice and yoga pants have worked their way into the “basic” qualifying checklist, among other preferences and likes. Can we all come to terms with how dumb that is?

Like what you like. Let me like what I like.

Here’s the thing. We are all basic. And none of us are.

It is not your business what I wear and or how I like my lattes.

We joke “Haha, I’m so basic!” as a way of diffusing this, I suppose. It helps. Offsetting, detracting, self-deprecating silliness, sure.

But this woman-on-woman ridiculing– we cannot afford it. It is a waste of time and energy and eats away at any sort of progress we are making together as women. Subtle, like termites, but damaging nonetheless.

A quick Google search of “fashion rules” brought up 146,000,000 hits. Apparently there are a lot of people with a lot to say about how I should or shouldn’t dress.

The infamous “People of Wal-Mart” has over 1.3 million followers on Facebook alone, mostly by posting ridiculing pictures of people, mostly women, and their outfits, without their even knowing they are being photographed.

The shaming has got to stop.

If we’re going to band together to save the world like the superheroes we are, like a world in crisis needs us to, we have got to stop with the subtle and not-so-subtle ridiculing and shaming, and turn our judgment inward, as an opportunity to reflect on the question “Who the hell do I think I am?”

It’s a humbling question. And it’s the curiously contrary flipside to the paradox that we are eternal, ethereal, divine and powerful. But at the same time, who the hell do we think we are when we pass judgment, in jest or in seriousness, on the way another woman is expressing herself, dressing or not dressing, adorning herself, taking her coffee, wearing leggings as pants, long hair over 40, white after labor day, shaving or not shaving?

It is not our place. It does not matter.

What matters more is showing up in the world expressively reflecting the beauty and radiance that exists within you. Looking to the woman we’re inclined to judge and noticing and drawing attention to the beauty and radiance that exists within her.

What matters more is having the freedom to be exactly who you are, and honoring and respecting my freedom to be exactly who I am.

What matters more is that we stand up for each other, with each other, that we set down our protective mechanisms of judgment, snark, sarcasm and ridicule, and embrace a braver, more vulnerable, more accepting, more compassionate and more loving way of being a woman.

Imagine, just imagine, how beautiful we’d all be, if we lived like this every day. If we showed up for one another like this every day. Or even every other day. Imagine what we could accomplish together.

Trust me, I’m not claiming to be perfect. I am not claiming to be immune or righteous or some magnanimous being, floating around, sending love 24/7.  Of course I sometimes slip into this cheap and easy way of sorting and classifying and organizing the world. I’m tempted and sometimes succumb in conversations, before I realize it, mindlessly munching on this low-hanging fruit of female bonding. But I’m getting better at noticing it, and at choosing differently.

So if we’re hanging out, and you catch me in this sort of conversation, call me out, stop me. Remind me there’s a better way.

There’s a higher fruit, up there, in the top branches. It’s juicy, full of nourishment and love and respect and support. And it’s delicious. Wanna bite? There’s plenty for everyone, just requires a little more reach and a little more stretch.

 

Body-Shaming is the Opposite of Funny. Enough, already.

7c9187e61f2c00fd5c3778b79949e139
Gorgeous! More body-positive memes like this, please!

I’m fed up this morning and I’ll tell you why.

I have cringed over many of a meme that shames a woman for her fat that is exposed. A woman who is oversized by our culture’s standards has no business showing off her body, as we know. If she does, she shall be subject to our modern day hounds of hell in the form of cruel viral memes, vicious comments and ugly body-shaming messages. Perhaps even thousands of them. Hundreds of thousands.

It’s not just women who fall victim to public ridicule. Men are often the subject of these “humorous” pictures that circulate the internet and show up on my Facebook newsfeed. Pictures of women, men, with their butt cracks, or bellies exposed, most certainly unaware that photos are being taken of them and shared on the internet.

Imagine finding that a picture of you, that you didn’t even know was being taken, had gone viral and someone had made memes making fun of you and the social media world was making fun of your body or the way you dressed or the way you looked.

Can you imagine how painful that would be?

We seem to forget one important fact.

These are PEOPLE we are making fun of. There is a person whose image that belongs to, who lives with her self, her body, her curves, her “unacceptable” shape every single day. She has a soul. She has a heart. Feelings, emotions, the ability to hurt, to cry. Just like you.

Turning someone’s body into a JOKE? That is not funny. That’s the opposite of funny.

Can’t we all just wear want we want and be who we are without the wrath of a million judges laughing and making fun of us?

It’s like a giant schoolyard bully session. Having been made fun of most of my childhood, and the ‘star attraction’ of plenty of schoolyard bullying-sessions, I know it hurts. We are grown now. Shouldn’t we be evolved, compassionate adults by now? Why are we still acting like schoolyard bullies?

Let’s stop perpetuating meanness. What do you say?

When I was a kid, being made fun of or picked on, once in a while a loving, aware grown-up would intervene on my behalf. She would step in and stop the bullying, stand up for me, protect me, and get me out of an awful situation. She would shut it down.

Now we have grown up and become a giant schoolyard of grown-up bullies. Where’s the loving aware grown-ups to step in and intervene? Who’s going to shut it down?

Let’s do it.

Will you perpetuate meanness by sharing body-shaming memes or even “liking” them? Or will you join me to intervene on behalf of the people whose images are being riduculed.

It’s time for the loving, aware grown-ups to step in and intervene.

I’m tired of being quiet about it so as not to offend, as I continue to be offended.

I’m tired of my own complacency.

I fight the fight every day to love and accept myself, and have built my life around helping others love and accept themselves. Yet, we still struggle. And it’s no surprise. A social current that ridicules, degrades and shames in the name of humor is hard to swim against. But we can do it, if we swim together.

I dare you to stand up for the anonymous victim of the next body-shaming meme you see.

I dare you to delete people from your friends list who perpetuate this type of riducle.

I dare you to voice your offense when offended, instead of staying quiet, as to not offend.

I dare you to take a stand against this bullshit.

Excuse my French, but I’m fed up. Our schoolyard bully days are over. It’s time to evolve, to grow up. Enough, already.