Self-Inflicted Body Shaming

I was perusing the news around the internet this morning and came across an article that seems innocent enough.  Published on The Guardian, it is in their section of stories about ‘a moment that changed me’ – along with a large variety of other personal stories about pivotal moments in the lives of different people.

The article in question is written by a woman who used to weight 365 pounds and lost a significant amount of weight.  She claims in her article that she was ignored and basically viewed as a non-entity until her weight dropped to society’s version of ‘appealing’ or ‘normal.’

According to this woman’s article, men did not open doors for her, help her pick up dropped items, or do other ‘common courtesy’ gestures when she was obese.  When she lost a significant amount of weight, according to her, men started doing those things.  Also according to her, this change of attention was a direct result of her impression that she had now become a woman of appealing body size, rather than the fat and unattractive self she’d been before.

I have personally witnessed a great many men open doors for women of all sizes, ages, races, and appearances.  I’ve seen them let those same women take their spot in a checkout line.  I have seen them help those women pick up items dropped in a store or parking lot.  I have also seen them smile pleasantly when doing so and politely say ‘you’re welcome’ when the woman says ‘thank you.’

The only type of people I have seen intentionally disregard other people – men and women included – are those who appear to be under the age of 25 to 28.  The younger they get, the more disregard they have for others.  This is a tragic reflection of a parental disconnect in our society today, and mirrors back to us the deplorable condition of the society in which we live.

I don’t know where this article writer has been that she’s been so horribly and intentionally disregarded by other people (allegedly), but based on my experience, her experience is not the ‘norm.’  I am also aware that where you live does make a difference in the way you are treated by others.

Typically, in the southern parts of the United States and in many locations in the central and western parts of the country, people are much more easy-going, laid back, and respectful toward others.  Not so much in the northeastern part of the country – but New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians have a bad reputation as being aggressive, impatient, hateful jerks anyway.

Perhaps this woman’s experiences are a reflection of how she expects to be treated.  You expect kindness and exude it yourself, you will often get it back in return.  If you walk around with an obvious unhappy chip on your shoulder, other people will have a tendency to reflect your ‘attitude’ back toward you unconsciously.  Perhaps her ‘body shaming’ encounters are more of an outward result of her inner dialogue.

You reap what you sow, whether you are planting seeds of positive well-being or negative self-destruction.

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