Casual Body Shaming Shame
Properly for not the first in my adult life, I got body shamed. This was today, before breakfast, before I could even reboot my office computer, before a sip of coffee to make the blow go down easy. Even more devastatingly, this was from an older black woman who is certainly no supermodel, not that there is anything wrong with being a regular woman. For Pete’s sake, I am a regular woman with cellulite, stretch marks, umkhaba and weigh more than I should, but damn, if I must be body shamed before 9 am in the morning you better be Naomi Campbell with thick edges. In a crude and oh so casual way, I just body shamed Ms Campbell, more correctly, I hair shamed her and yes, that is a real thing too. The truth of the matter is we all do, I am no better that the lady who pitied that my beautiful legs were being marred by the beginnings of stretch marks and you are no better than me.
As I sip my coffee while nursing my injured pride, I started thinking just how much body shaming remarks we spew and deal with daily. We casually instigate feelings of body shame without a thought or any conscious effort. Being mean has really become the norm, which does not make it right, in the same context that –
You are pretty for a dark skin girl;
Wow, you have lost weight, I can no longer see your double chin;
You look pretty today;
Calling anybody’s hair steel wool or Kaffir hare;
You have such lovely curly Afro, you must be mixed; and
That to protest half-naked you must have a firm tennis ball like boobs with blemishes free skin should not be acceptable.
I don’t care what your BEE credentials are like and how much body hate you direct at yourself, have a care when discussing someone else’s body, which on the real is none of my business or yours. Let’s let that sink in while I try not to be la mXhosa or that rude Coloured girl.