Recently James Corden went on his show and addressed fat shaming. It hit really close to home. Here, take a gander at his monologue.
There is not a time in my life I can remember not being conditioned to be ashamed of any excess weight or pooch or thighs or myself. Many times, I truly believe that it was never with ill-intention. We are taught not only to be ashamed of our own body, but to also make sure no one else has our insecurities by shaming them into being better than us. If you’re lost by the previous statement, it’s because our convoluted thought that if we point out our own and others’ fat, the fat will somehow disappear is convoluted and rubbish. It’s also my only assumption for why normally kind people think it’s okay to comment on how I look in any form.
For as long as I can remember, I have been comparing myself to the girl next to me. I also remember breaking up with more than one boyfriend because I thought he deserved someone hotter than me. I faked this sense of body confidence while hiding out eating anything that would fit in my mouth. I searched for joy, fulfillment, and more not just in a bag of candy, a honey bun, and fountain coke, but at any dinner table that would have me, which in Louisiana is all of them. The truth is there is so much happiness that can be found at a dinner table because every social event of friends, family, and fun is accompanied with food. So much delightful food. The false sense of joy was fleeting, and happiness turned to the sobering reality of emptiness. I just kept chasing that feeling of happiness of a dinner table and instead of waiting for my internal signal of hunger to kick in, I went right back to food, sooner and sooner, more and more.
You see I don’t need the shaming from the outside world; I have been trained by media, friends, family, and society to shame myself because of what I look like. Because let’s face it, what I look like must be an indication of my overall health, and you are obviously shaming me out of concern. If you didn’t read that last statement with sarcasm, please, put on your inner sarcasm voice and reread.
I threw a lot at you, and got a bit sassy there towards the end, so I want to offer two simple things you can do instead of commenting or complimenting on someone’s body with your fat, skinny, average, apple shape, pear shape, feather shaped, human shaped friends and family.
Instead of complimenting their body, compliment they latest good news! Example: “I love following you on social media! Congrats on the new niece. Are you loving being an aunt/uncle?”
Instead of commenting on their body, comment on their latest adventure. Example: “Tell me about your trip to Disney, what park was your favorite?”
With all this said, I get it. We are never going to say the right thing all the time. The right thing for one may be gut wrenching to another. A little mindfulness goes a long way in this world. To quote James, “Instead of worrying what’s going in my mouth, worry about what is coming out of yours.”
PS … To the person looking at pictures thinking you look terrible. To the person that keeps calling themselves fat. To the mom just trying to deal with her own insecurities without passing them on to their kids. I see you. You are not fat. You are not what you look like.