When we talk about bodies, the conversations we have rarely revolve around the things that we like about them, more so, the things we’d like to change about them. Many of us strive to include body positive or self-confidence boosting language in much of what we do, but every now and again, we may unintentionally use body shaming language in our discussions that may influence those surrounding us, as well as our own mindsets. Here are 5 Ways You Might Be Using Body Shaming Language (& How to Be More Mindful of It).
DON’T BUY IN TO DIET & FITNESS TALK
It is so easy to slip into diet and fitness talk when it is used so extensively within our culture. Magazines with ‘belly-busting’ diets and exercise fads; TV adverts surrounding healthy eating plans; social media accounts that encourage ‘clean eating’ and frown upon anything but wash-board stomachs. It’s no surprise, really, that our language can sometimes be centered around this kind of speak – but you know, you don’t have to buy into it. I know that it’s difficult when anyone who’s anyone is discussing their decreasing waistline, or the latest diet product on the shelves, but you don’t have to join in with the discussions surrounding this. Being more mindful with your language surrounding diet and fitness talk will aid you massively. Not only will you reap the benefits yourself (as you WON’T feel pressured to join in with such toxic behaviour), but you might also impact someone else’s life in a positive way by not allowing such discussions to take place around you.
TRY TO BE MORE POSITIVE ABOUT YOUR BODY
Such is the precedent of female spaces, we are ‘encouraged’ to talk negatively about our bodies. How many times have you heard women – and men – exclaim that they ‘MUST lose weight before the wedding’ or that ‘they can’t stand being in a bikini on the beach’ or that they ‘need to get down the gym’? Countless times, surely. But all of this is body shaming language, and guys its got to stop. It might be considered that this kind of language is acceptable, but that’s only because we hear it so often – and it’s kinda sad if you ask me. We need to stop putting ourselves down, we need to pay ourselves compliments, we need to stop comparing ourselves to other and we need to learn to love the way that we look.
LEARN TO GENTLY ENCOURAGE & EDUCATE
The society in which we live is so accustomed to discussing ‘acceptable’ body shapes and sizes, that sometimes we can be condoning these conversations without even realising it. By partaking in negative discussions about body image, we are further perpetuating the idea that there is one acceptable type of body, and that anything outside of these realms is worthless. If you’ve found your way to this blog post – congratulations, this means that you are open to adjusting the way that you use language so that you can engage in less body shaming conversations. But if you do one thing when you leave this page – make sure that you learn to gently encourage and educate those around you on why their language could be harmful to themselves and others – you’d be surprised at the number of people who have no idea about the effect their words can have.
IF A BODY ISN’T YOURS, IT’S NOT YOUR CONCERN
I shouldn’t have to say this – but if a body doesn’t belong to you it is not your responsibility to comment on it. This means that you don’t get to talk about: what someone should be wearing, how they should behave in their own skin, how they should feel about their body, how they should relate to their shape and size, how they should treat their body, how much exercise they should or shouldn’t do, how bad you think they look, how good you think they look, how they should lose or gain weight, how often they should or shouldn’t be eating, how much love they should have for themselves or how low or high their feeling of worth is. If it is not your body, then shut the hell up.
REFUSE TO TAKE PART IN BODY SHAMING CONVERSATIONS
Lastly, but by no means least – you can be more mindful by simply not taking part in body shaming conversations. The material surrounding body image is vast and rich, if you want to open your mind to the things that could be causing you or others to have low self-esteem, low feelings of worth and self-hate, then please, educate yourself. By not taking part in body shaming conversations, you can improve your mindset tenfold and there’s no shame in standing up for what you believe in – right?