For Shame!

Hello dear reader(s)!

As you may or may not know (or care) I live in the not-so-United States of America.  Here in the US, there is an obesity epidemic.  Sedentary lifestyles, fast-food, stress, and the corn industry have all contributed to making us Americans fatter and fatter.  For some people, they have conditions that make them fat, and you never know the cause.  For some, they just can’t afford the good, healthy food that bodies need.  For some, they have eating disorders or psychological issues surrounding food or activity.  But overall, it is our lack of exercise, bad eating habits, and poor willpower that has caused the averages to go up so much.  Is that something that people should shame people over though?

I don’t believe so.  It doesn’t help an overweight person lose weight.  They can only decide for themselves if that’s what they want to do.  (If they can.)  A general critique of the culture that has led to this issue is appropriate, and may help motivate people, but when you directly point your finger at someone because they don’t fit your idea of what a body should look like, you are not doing anything but hurting that person’s feelings.  You don’t know the reason they are overweight, you don’t know if they are otherwise healthy, and quite frankly, it is none of your business.

And so as a result of the fat-shaming that has stemmed from our obesity epidemic, there has been a growing backlash.  A “Fat Acceptance Movement”.  Generally, I support that.

However…

(You knew that was coming, didn’t you?)

As with any movement, there are radicals that have pushed the dialogue from “Shaming people for being overweight is wrong.” to “REAL women have curves.” and “Only Dogs like Bones.”

Are you fucking serious?  You, the very people who have been shamed for being fat now feel the need to attack women who are thinner than you?  What the fuck is wrong with you?

Do I sound angry?  Yeah, I’m fucking pissed.  Why?  Because it is affecting my beautiful, healthy wife.

So gather ’round once again children, because it’s story time.

My wife has never been fat, but there have been periods in her life where she carried more weight than she currently is.  If you believe the Body Mass Index calculations, then she was likely at the very upper end of healthy weight, perhaps into the overweight category but not by much.  At all points, she has been damned attractive.

She eats small frequent meals, just as nutritionists recommend.  (With the occasional unhealthy meal…but we’re all human, even if I tend to elevate her beyond that status occasionally.)  She doesn’t do it because nutritionists recommend it, but because that is how she likes to eat.  She played softball in high school & college (pitcher), and has a stronger throwing arm then just about anyone I know.  She is almost the exact same height as I am, roughly 5′ 9″.

When I got cancer, and became near totally incapacitated, she worked her ass off (literally) to take care of me, the house, the cooking, the cleaning, walking blocks to catch the bus to and from the hospital and the store, scrubbing the hell out of everything to prevent the preventable infections, and on, and on…

And as a result?

Yes, she lost fucking weight.  Big shocker!

You mean healthy, home-cooked eating and exercise in a healthy person might cause them to lose weight?  Get right out of town!

And so what happens when people women who haven’t seen her in a while see her now?

“You’re too skinny.”  “You need to gain weight.”  “You look frail.”

Bullshit!

My wife does not have ribs sticking out, I know, because unlike these insecure women, I see her with her clothes off.  (Thank you.)

She does not have the collar-bone protruding like the actresses that walk the red carpet all these women wish they could be.

She does have thin legs, but that runs in her family and she has always had them even when she was heavier.  In fact, her friends have always called her ankles “Bankles” which is baby ankles the way that “Cankles” are calf ankles.  Even at her heaviest.

And, for the record, I calculated her BMI today, and it is right in the healthy range.  She is nowhere near underweight.  Do you understand?  Healthy.

My wife has always been a confident person, but getting this load of crap left and right has started to get to her.  She has had enough stress in her life and she doesn’t need this.  It is actually getting to her.  The mental toll that I suffered from my illness didn’t just affect me.  Before all this, maybe she could have brushed it off, but now, it isn’t that easy for her.

So I’m about to make a statement that many women will find offensive, but I’m sorry, I truly believe it.

Women will never be able to rise to the level where they are respected, until they start respecting each other.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I believe that the majority of women tear each other down.  Is it from media conditioning?  Maybe.  But shouldn’t you be able to rise above it?  You are strong, wonderful human beings.  Act like it.  You want to advance in society?  Build each other up.  Do not tear each other down.

Do I sound sexist?  Well, I’m sorry if that is the case.  I don’t necessarily believe it is an inherent trait within women, and I know that it happens with men too, but I would definitely argue that it is more common with women doing it to each other.  It sucks.  It is mean, it is ugly, and it shouldn’t be something that strong, beautiful people do to each other.

If you really want to rise above society’s body-image issues, then quit participating in them.

Be you, and let others be them.

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

19 thoughts on “For Shame!”

  1. It is dreadful that your wife is getting grief just for being healthy. I do not understand why we feel the need to foist our opinions on others, especially if they are hurtful. Thank goodness your wife has you to re-assure her that she is perfect as she is, but it should mot have had to come to that!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Agree whole-heartedly. When did it become acceptable to comment about people’s bodies, fashion, hair nilly-willy? I don’t get it. I think as long as you are healthy, then you should be whatever size your body wants to be. Poop on everyone that doesn’t agree.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I really agree with you for the most part. I think not enough attention is spent on the reverse with regards to weight. People get so caught up in “fat shaming” that we ignore the reverse of thin shaming. But at the end I feel I must disagree slightly in that I don’t think it’s as easy to rise above weight issues as you might assume. Conditioning in the media is a much more subtle thing than you might imagine. As for the tearing people down I agree that we should instead build people up. But I feel like thats a topic that is equally as hard to approach and fix.

    Overall really great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, Dom, I know it isn’t easy. Not at all, and I really don’t envy women for being put in that situation or the men who are beginning to find themselves in it either. But, sometimes we must do the hard things to do the right things.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I couldn’t agree more. I know women have to a certain extent always been this way, but it seems to have gotten so much worse in recent years. I’m not entirely sure why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe interwebs culture? Maybe just an increase in tabloid style journalism and celebrity worship? Maybe the pink toys for girls, blue for boys things? I don’t know, and I don’t envy women put in the situation, I just want them to break free of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve always been thick, and with the hormonal imbalances that come with PTSD I cary a lot of my extra weight around my middle. The first thing people always say when trying to insult me is weight related. It used to bother me before I understood why my body clings to fat for dear life, but I never understood how out of everything else, weight was the first thing people could think of to insult me with. Especially other women. I’m like really?? Although I do have to admit, if I ever get into a sparring match with another women I tend to pull the weight card too. Maybe it is just the most prominent insecurity in American culture and the easiest hit below the belt?

        Like

  5. Thank you for this. To be honest, I am experiencing the same thing and it is awful. It is hard to stay positive. I am learning to filter people out of my life especially those who only know how to bring negativity with them. Again, thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You make a good point here that applies to so many other areas of social shaming as well! People so often resort to belittling that which they don’t epitomize in order to feel that their own stance is defended, but it is crucial for people to recognise that two wrongs don’t make a right!
    As a bigger person I don’t love my weight but I know that, as you’ve suggested, my ill mental heath and poor financial status have acted as major roadblocks to a healthy lifestyle. The judgement I receive from others is really painful and only makes it harder for me to feel able to lose weight and get healthier.
    I try to reserve my comments about other peoples appearances other than to say that I think they’re beautiful the way they are, but I’ve known larger women who are very confident about their sizes and can agree that sometimes there’s a tendency for them to shame or mock ‘skinny’ women for their sizes too.
    I think sometimes a comment like ‘you’re too skinny’ or ‘you need to eat more’ can be a poorly poised attempt at a compliment, but there’s also that side of things that can be quite bitter and rude; I can tell that this is often part envy and part anger – after so much judgement I think larger people can tend to see all slim people as the enemy which is not true or fair.
    Either way I think judgement and unhelpful expression about anyone’s body size or type ties back to the age old bully theories which remind us that picking on someone else for ANY reason shows insecurity and pettiness, not confidence.
    As a culture we all need to stop tearing other people down to boost ourselves up. It only creates a society of pain and isolation. If we can live accepting that others are what they are (and that doesn’t mean endorsing or agreeing with what they are) then we will all go a lot farther in life!
    A good read! 🙂 Thanks!
    Aimee xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Found you via Anxious Mom, who reposted this post.

    Awesome. Not your cancer (I’m sorry for that and sincerely hope you are getting better), but your flat out honest support of your wife. That’s what is important. Amen to what you said about weight, and women (I am a woman and agree with you) bashing each other about everything not just weight. The pettiness is ridiculous and harmful. It needs to stop. I am repeating what you said so I will stop, but hats off to you for supporting your wife.

    Fondly and respectfully,
    Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thin shaming?? I thought the media says u can never be too thin!
    My 2 cents: if u listen to mainstream media, then u have much bigger problem than weight! Empowering each other is really the way to go!

    Like

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